Theater archives

Staging an ’80s Thriller With Classical Flourishes and a Boiled Bunny Ballet


The 1987 thriller Fatal Attraction served as a glossy parable of Reaganite values: After rocking married Michael Douglas’s world, the single working woman (Glenn Close) had to be revealed as psychotic—and ultimately destroyed—to preserve the über-economy of family, fidelity, and choice real estate. The film has managed to outlive its more dated aspects (e.g., an affordable loft in the meatpacking district) thanks to Close’s extraordinarily committed performance and that infamous sacrificial rabbit.

Well, like Duran Duran and The Dukes of Hazzard, Close and company are back, after a fashion, in Fatal Attraction: A Greek Tragedy, an intermittently amusing stage adaptation of the movie. Authors Alana McNair and Kate Wilkinson (who also play Close and Anne Archer, respectively) follow the basic plot, but tease out some of the story’s more nefarious subtext about gender roles via a four-member Greek chorus that comments on, and aids in, the action.

While I applaud any effort to make fun of the insufferable Douglas, I wish the writing were smarter and funnier. Given the rich source material, there are way too many missed opportunities; no one mentions Douglas’s sex addiction or the fact that Close never got to show so much on-screen boogie again. More sketch comedy than satire, this show would be better off in a late-night cabaret setting, complete with audience participation.

That said, former child actor Corey Feldman (Gremlins, Stand by Me) is often hilarious as Douglas, and there are big laughs courtesy of wry stage effects like the Boiled Bunny Ballet. It’s fun to see Off-Broadway talents such as Rebeca Ramirez (choreography) and Tyler Micoleau (lighting) letting their hair down—or frizzing it, in the case of Wendy Yang’s fabulous wig for McNair. But in the end, Fatal Attraction, like Pop Rocks, promises more fun that it delivers.