The Death of Griffin Hunter
The Brick. By Kirk Wood Bromley. Dir. Howard Thoresen. With Chris Thorn, Catherine McNelis, Alan Benditt.
Thu Jan 25 2007
Photograph: Jane Stein
Time Out Ratings :<strong>Rating: </strong>0/5
Inverse Theater’s revival of The Death of Griffin Hunter shows that this gaudy political thriller—written in verse—is one of neo-Elizabethan wordsmith Kirk Wood Bromley’s more solid undertakings. Intricately sturdy plotting, rather than rampant whimsy, takes the front seat in this tale of an international politico (Thorn) whose efforts to bring about a worldwide peace accord are undermined by his divided heart and shady past—not to mention the machinations of Semion Rockwell (Benditt), an arms trader determined to snuff Hunter and bag his beautiful French actress wife (McNelis).
Director Howard Thoresen’s production is an improvement in many ways over the play’s overly slick and perverse 1998 premiere production. The action is played out fairly naturally (as naturally as Bromley can be, anyway); character development and relationships are given as much attention as the flashy verbiage. With a running time of over three hours, it’s still a good deal too long, but remains absorbing and amusing thanks to the well-cast leads. Thorn, diplomat-stiff but with a Robert Mitchum glint of heavy-lidded danger in his eyes, telegraphs Hunter’s magnetism, credibility and fallibility. McNelis delivers a full portrait of his loving, disillusioned wife. As a corrupt, gentlemanly investigator, David Lamb’s very lilt is lurid. And Timothy McCown Reynolds, as the soulful underworld fall guy for both Hunter and Rockwell, deftly guides us through a moral bankrupt’s mazelike mind games. — Robert Simonson