THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
nytheatre.com review by Michael Criscuolo
production of The American Revolution, Kirk Wood Bromley's
excellent play about the birth of our nation, benefits from two (among
many other) things. First is its Shakespearean design. From its overall
scope to its many stock devices—the use of verse, soliloquies and songs,
a group of comic rabble-rousers, a woman disguised as a man for no
apparent reason—the Bard's fingerprints are all over this play. Second
is its sharp sense of focus. Despite having more than twenty characters,
The American Revolution ends up being a story about two men—George
Washington (Alan Benditt) and Benedict Arnold (Joshua Spafford) —and
what the revolution means to them. By making the focus so small, Bromley
is able to make larger statements about freedom, democracy, and man's
sense of duty both to himself and to "the cause" all the more potently.
August 15, 2002
Director Howard Thoresen keeps the action moving at a fluid pace, and the entire cast is terrific. Hank Wagner is perfect as the unofficial leader of the Rebel Mess, an aimless quartet of American soldiers (and the play's comic relief). Benditt is effective and moving as a Washington who shifts constantly between stoicism, melancholy, and indignant rage. And Spafford is superb as Benedict Arnold. The scenes between Arnold and his wife (Billie James, who is also wonderful) mirror and rival those between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, and suggest that those roles should be in Spafford’s and James' futures.
Production of this size and magnitude are not uncommon at FringeNYC. Productions that succeed as well as The American Revolution does are. See it before it's too late.