Hate Your Chromosomes

Mirren, Strathairn, and McKellen in Dance of Death: wedded non-bliss
photo: Joan Marcus
Mirren, Strathairn, and McKellen in Dance of Death: wedded non-bliss

Details

Dance of Death
By August Strindberg
Broadhurst Theatre
235 West 44th Street
212-239-6200

The Shape of Things
By Neil LaBute
Promenade Theatre
2162 Broadway
212-239-6200

LaBute's plot points are as phony as they are manipulative. Every detail—from the superficial aspects of campus life to Adam's inexplicably afforded nose job—requires an excuse pass from the author. Worse, his characters don't so much transform as grow louder. As Adam's romantically linked friends, Gretchen Mol and Frederick Weller are convincing enough, though the more they're sucked into the machinery of LaBute's parable, the less recognizable they become. The Shape of Things strives for profundity, though its biblical proclamations about art and love are inadequately earned. Ideas funneled into a story in the final act may provoke discussion, but they'll never have the power of truth wrought from genuine struggle.

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