And who else but Carlsen to play the pathologically charismatic Mack? His performance is bracingly calibrated; in his default mode, Mack glides about with a smooth, impenetrable smile and dangerous poise — and even a sexlessness, as if ganglord narcissism were like heroin — that occasionally breaks open into a stunning savagery. He is a perfect vision of the psychopath, who does what he does not against human ethics and empathy, but outside of their influence completely.

Lorem Ipsum's Threepenny is simply mandatory viewing for anyone in town who takes theater seriously. Many of Portland's best young artists and musicians are here in full force, and with real life's economy and capitalistic extremes becoming ever more disturbing, the show couldn't remain more relevant: Brecht warns not just of the soulless bastards who rule at the top of the market, but what the trickledown can make of the rest of us.

Megan Grumbling can be reached at mgrumbling@hotmail.com.

THE THREEPENNY OPERA | by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill | Directed by Tess Van Horn and Michael Dix Thomas | Musical Direction by Jimmy Dorrity | Produced by Lorem Ipsum, at the Apohadion, in Portland | through September 24 | 207.660.7642

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