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Miss Saigon
Photograph: Matthew MurphyMiss Saigon

This week’s theater reviews: Miss Saigon on Broadway, WWII whimsy and more

By Time Out New York editors
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Do you love the ’90s? Then maybe you love Miss Saigon, a.k.a. last of the Anglo-French 1980s megamusicals (it opened in London in 1989). This loud and special F/X filled show ran on Broadway from 1991 to 2001, and now it’s back at the same venue, the Broadway Theatre. David Cote may love the ’90s, but he sure didn’t love this show, calling it “a heap of Orientalist clichés filtered through 19th-century European melodrama and presented with all the subtlety of a coked-up, steroidal Michael Bay flick.” Two stars. Read the whole thing here.                  Buy tickets here

St. Ann’s Warehouse has brought back one of its repeat offenders, the British devised-theater troupe Kneehigh. Previous Kneehigh shows to tour here have included an impressively multimedia Brief Encounter and the acrobatic Tristan and Yseult. The new piece has the frisky title of 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips. It’s a crazy-sounding mix of childlike whimsy, metaphysics and World War II adventure. Our reviewer Helen Shaw explains: “A Kneehigh production…is like a merry-go-round. From the outside it seems like the worst ride imaginable; you have to be on it to enjoy it.” Alas, she didn’t enjoy the ride. Two stars. Read it here.

How to Transcend a Happy Marriage is a winking, tongue-in-cheek sort of title. It’s the new play by Sarah Ruhl, a semi-surreal writer who is, frankly, an acquired taste. David Cote reviews this story of two middle-aged, middle-class couples who are shaken up by a polyamorous thruple. He liked the first hour as a self-enclosed piece, but “Unfortunately, Ruhl inserts an intermission [and] spins out 35 more minutes of chatty whimsy …A feathery, frolicsome one-act mutates into a mediocre marriage play.” Three stars. Read the whole thing here. Buy tickets here

Playwright Julia Jarcho is one of the more original benders of forms and blurrers of boundaries around. Her newest piece, The Terrifying, is a fragmentary deconstruction of horror-movie tropes that puts the audience behind a screen—as if they’re the movie. Even though Helen Shaw gave the show three stars, it still sounds fascinating. “Jarcho is a rare bird: In a theater scene generally uninterested in thrillers, she makes avant-garde horror,” Shaw writes. “She is, with her team of crazy Igors, creating something new.” Added value: The cast includes experimental-theater veteran Pete Simpson, who’s been drily brilliant in work by Richard Maxwell and Young Jean Lee. Read it here.

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