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Theater Review: "Round and Round the Garden" at A.C.T. 

Wednesday, May 12 2010

The nicest thing you can say about American Conservatory Theater's production of Alan Ayckbourn's Round and Round the Garden is that the set is gorgeous, with green grass and ivy-covered walls, and the actors really try. They commit. The physical comedy is exceptional. But what can you do in a British sex farce without a climax? The plot, loosely speaking, is that there are three couples in a country estate for the weekend. Norman (Manoel Felciano) wants to fuck every woman there; they all secretly want to fuck him, even though they're married, or are his wife's sister, which is inconvenient, but what can you do? If this sounds banal, your hearing is excellent. The characters as written aren't people so much as parodies of British stereotypes, from a comedy of manners written in the 1970s and adapted for the BBC by a very earnest graduate student. There's nothing that comes close to a recognizably human motivation, and the characters behave as they do because that's how characters should, according to "Playwriting 305: Structure of Farce." Just don't blame the set designers or the actors, who are trapped in a bad marriage and giving Round and Round the Garden far more than it deserves.

About The Author

Benjamin Wachs


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