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The Great Immensity

  • Theater, Drama
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

The Great Immensity. Public Theater (see Off Broadway). By Steve Cosson. Music and lyrics by Michael Friedman. Directed by Cosson. With ensemble cast. Running time: 2hrs. One intermission.

The Great Immensity: In brief

The Civilians, who have created some of the past decade's smartest theater pieces, return with a (commendably affordable) Public Lab production of their latest full work: writer-director Steve Cosson's thriller about environmental issues, featuring songs by resident troupe songsmith Michael Friedman.

The Great Immensity: Theater review by Adam Feldman

Even the best adventurers can wander off course, and the Civilians do so on a global scale in The Great Immensity. The inventive troupe’s latest effort is all over the map: As navigated by intrepid writer-director Steve Cosson, the action roves from an island in the Panama Canal to a polar-bear outpost in northern Canada, with brief sojourns at various climate summits. A nature videographer (Chris Sullivan) has disappeared after meeting a driven teenage green activist (Erin Wilhelmi); his wife (Rebecca Hart) is on his trail, which leads her into a shadowy world of online surveillance. (There are also songs, mostly in Michael Friedman’s wordy, faux-naïf mode.) The performances are typically fine—Damian Baldet is especially funny as a drawling howler-monkey watcher—but the eco-thriller plot, bizarrely implausible in some regards and trite in others, proves too weak a nail on which to hang the play’s sincere sense of urgency. It’s not easy preaching green.—Theater review by Adam Feldman

THE BOTTOM LINE The elements combine to form an imperfect storm.

Follow Adam Feldman on Twitter: @FeldmanAdam

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