Paradise Lost

In this crisp production of Clifford Odets’ 1935 play, the home of Leo Gordon (Michael Mantell) and his wife, Clara (Lori Larsen), bears signs of waning prosperity. Outside, the Great Depression rages, threatening Leo's family and business. With 24 characters, the busy set sometimes feels like Grand Central Station, and the plot proliferates like a novel over the course of three acts and years. With 24 characters, the busy set sometimes feels like Grand Central Station, and the plot proliferates like a novel over the course of three acts and years. Mantell’s Leo, the bland foil to Larsen’s colorful Clara through most of the play, finally rises to thrilling oratory late in the story: "Heartbreak and terror are not the heritage of mankind! The world is beautiful. No fruit tree wears a lock and key . . . Ohhh, darling, the world is in its morning . . . and no man fights alone!" If this sounds a little utopian, a little communist, even—well, that's Odets for you. MARGARET FRIEDMAN [See Margaret's full review.]

Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: March 19. Continues through April 25, 2010

 
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