Bartholomew Fair, NJ
nytheatre.com review by David Gordon
July 18, 2009
Bartholomew Fair, NJ is a five-act comedy in verse in 90 minutes, written and directed by Billy Mitchell and based on Ben Jonson's Bartholomew Fayre: A Comedye, first staged in 1614.
The summary of Jonson's play can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bartholomew_Fair_(play). Mitchell's piece is a loose adaptation of Jonson's work, set in 1985 New Jersey. I'd go more into detail, but, given that five actors are playing 19 characters, I was more confused than anything else about what was going on.
Still, there are moments that are entertaining. Whether or not you'll be howling with laughter depends on your appetite for slapstick, puppetry, Springsteen, Bon Jovi, and other stereotypical New Jersey humor.
The actors give it their all and are visibly enjoying themselves. They (Phil Corsco, Leticia Diaz, Mark Dunn, Benjamin Holmes, and Courtney Kochuba) are all strong, though Corsco, in roles that include an old smoking woman, a naked messenger, and both the man and woman in a couple, was my favorite.
The script goes on for ten minutes past its welcome, closing with a sock puppet show, brilliantly delivered by the multi-voiced Holmes. But it just added more overwhelm to an already overwhelming piece.