Haunted Haunts 59E59
Bizarre love triangle is an understatement.
Edna OBriens subject in Haunted: quaint, sherry-tippling English matrimonial misery. Mr. Berry (Niall Buggy) is a randy old codger with itchy feet and a tendency to wax nostalgic. Mrs. Berry (Brenda Blethyn), a long-suffering harridan, toils thanklessly in a doll factory. If you somehow miss the significance of this occupation to the childless couple, director Braham Murray helpfully places a spotlit poppet upstage.
Enter Hazel (Beth Cooke), a pert waif with immaculate ingenue credentials (impoverished, do-gooder, asexual). Shes heard that Mrs. Berry is selling vintage clothes. Mr. Berry, beguiled, gives her a fancy sweater of his wifesthe first of many surreptitious presents. Soon, the mismatched couple is hanging out on the DL, disastrously depleting Mrs. Bs wardrobe.
By Edna O�Brien
59 East 59th Street
If this sounds like fusty farce, it is, mostly, complete with subterfuge and door slamming. But the bipolar play also has high-tragic aspirations. OBriens characters compulsively quote Shakespeare (among other canonical gents) as if suffering from some rarefied version of Tourettes. Like a drunk at a church bazaar, Haunteds tone careens wildly from Masterpiece Theatre stuffiness to knockabout antics.
To wrap up, we get wailing, screams, a cancer deatheven a mad scene (poor Hazel pulls an Ophelia). Was it love or punishment, Mr. Berry muses, contemplating his capsized marriage. For us, its certainly the latter.
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