Ionesco's Exit the King (1962), an existential grandparent to these new plays in which a predictable event slowly takes its course, will outlive them all because it tackles the ultimate event (death), tests it against all possible modes of defiance, and opens it out to reveal all possible ramifications. Thanks to this intellectual sturdiness, the play will even survive the brash, noisy mess that Neil Armfield's production has made of it, abetted by star and co-translator Geoffrey Rush, who's way too busy chewing scenery to give the title role any cohesive life. Everyone else merely shouts, except for Susan Sarandon, woefully miscast and worse misdirected, who seems to be looking for an alternative style, or possibly a different play.

Civility, savagery, nice art books: God of Carnage
Joan Marcus
Civility, savagery, nice art books: God of Carnage


God of Carnage
By Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton
Jacobs Theater
242 West 45th Street, 212-239-6200

By Michael Jacobs
Schoenfeld Theatre
236 West 45th Street, 212-239-6200

Exit the King
By Eugene Ionesco, translated by Geoffrey Rush & Neil Armfield
Barrymore Theatre
243 West 47th Street, 212-239-6200

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