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Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014

Woody Allen’s Crazy Comic Energy

Soulstice Theatre delivers the director’s funny take on art and reality

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Woody Allen’s God is a weird, existential farce that playfully examines the nature of theater at its essence. Soulstice Theatre continues a well-selected season with a staging of the show that captures some of the wild and irreverent energy of Allen’s script.

Joe Dolan and Tim Kietzman play ancient Greeks arguing over the best way to tell a story for the stage. The fourth wall is quickly broken and things get a little crazy in an example of Allen questioning the nature of reality early in his career. Director Stephanie Graham handles the script’s feverish energy well enough to bring it across, which is not always an easy task. Some of the finer moments of humor are lost to the production, but there’s more than enough here to keep things entertaining.

Dolan is given dual roles of Greek actor and the messenger he’s playing in the play-within-the-play for which the writer has been trying to find a decent ending. Dolan’s got a solid handle on Allen’s sense of humor and comic timing, so he’s fun to watch. Others in the cast playing smaller ensemble roles do really well along the margins of the action. Danielle Levings has a smart comic presence in the role of a woman doomed to be the victim of perpetual stabbing with the same dagger. Katie Thompson is similarly witty in the role of a royal guard who also serves as a waitress. There are a few others inhabiting the occasional bit of comedy on the corners of the action, including Niko King as a comically sultry Blanche DuBois on brief vacation from A Streetcar Named Desire.

Soulstice Theatre’s production of God runs through Feb. 8, at the Keith Tamsett Theater, 3770 South Pennsylvania Ave. For tickets, call 414-481-2800 or visit soulsticetheatre.org.

 

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