Set in the projects just days before Hurricane Katrina strikes, Marcus; or The Secret of Sweet is the warm and resonant tale of a young black man exploring his identity in a world of family intrigue, Louisiana myth, and sexual awakening. Third in The Brother/Sister Plays trilogy - the first two were presented at Magic Theatre and Marin Theatre Company in this groundbreaking, three-theater partnership - Marcus is the largest in scope and beautifully produced on ACT's stage.
Gems that they are, movies from the golden age of black and white cinema are not timeless. The obsolete manners and super-sized emotions of classic romances and melodramas can be so hokey as to be downright distracting.
Which is exactly what Kneehigh theater knows and capitalizes on in their marvelous production of Noel Coward’s “Brief Encounter.” Having wowed London, the production is seeing its US premiere at ACT.
Rather than laughing at the goofy and the overwrought, the audience of “Brief Encounter” is laughing with the production. Kneehigh is in on the joke.
The problem with “zany” and “kooky” is that sometimes you get “Dr. Strangelove” and sometimes you get dumb-goofy and annoyingly silly. There are a few moments in ACT’s new revival of John Guare’s“Rich and Famous” that approach Peter Sellers-esque kookiness, wackiness in the best sense of the word. And then there’s the rest of the play.