BLOODY MARY, an epic account of Mary Tudor's rise to power in sixteenth-century England, features disembowelment, fornication, and a corseted cast of twenty throwing themselves with abandon at Rachel Shukert's uneven script. The first act works itself into a frenzy proving its ability to shock and scandalize (the Catholic school master wears S&M under his tunic! Jimi Hendrix is young Mary's spiritual guide! sex on stage!), but falls somewhere short of the easy, engaging absurdity achieved in the second. An hour in, the show gets where it needs to be, thanks in large part to James Ryan Caldwell's virtuosic and silly performance as Elizabeth, Mary's busty, beloved half-sister. The second act is clever and quick and ridiculous, grounded always by Audrey Lynn Weston's grave Mary, and pausing only to take a few well-aimed shots at the current administration.
BLOODY MARY is a big funny tangle of a play, inspired and frustrating in equal parts. When all is said and done, though, hooray for Third man Productions, a young company not afraid of huge casts and racks of well-made costumes and unnecessary set pieces, and hooray for big risks like this one.
BLOODY MARY: A Comedy of Tragic Proportions runs through Saturday, May 16th. Clemente Soto Velez Ctr (CSV)
107 Suffolk Street
New York, NY 10002
According to Lincoln Center's new LCT3 project at its slogan, it takes "New Audiences for New Artists." It also takes new critics, hence the establishment of Theater Talk's New Theater Corps in 2005, a way for up-and-coming theater writers and eager new theatergoers to get exposure to the ever-growing theater scene in New York City. Writers for the New Theater Corps are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the off-off and off-Broadway theater scene, learning and giving back high-quality reviews at the same time. Driven by a passion and love of the arts, the New Theater Corps aims to identify, support, and grow the arts community, one show and one person at a time.