Adaptation

By CAROLYN CLAY  |  September 26, 2007

The fine Trinity Rep ensemble is equally effective as a rallying redneck chorus responding to “Cousin Willie from the country” and as the more patrician characters pushed by Stark and his populism “away from the trough.” Although he has the less flashy role, Mauro Hantman, as quizzical Jack Burden, conveys with folksy eloquence the writerly narration and the dilemma of a man who wants to have both the good results of dirty politicking and clean hands. Fred Sullivan Jr. exudes a warm Southern gentility as Judge Irwin, who’s swept his past sins so far under the Oriental that he doesn’t remember they’re there. Anne Scurria wraps Jack’s much-marrying mother in a complex skein of fatuousness and patrician grace. Andrea Brazil brings a winsome sadness to Anne Stanton, who throws over childhood sweetheart Burden to become Stark’s mistress because “he’s not like anybody else.” And the way Wilson plays Stark, with enough vitality to leak from the stump to the State House to the bedroom, you believe her.

Just one question: Trinity trots out Hall & Richard Cumming’s high-flying adaptation of A Christmas Carol every year. Why has it taken two decades to resurrect the potent ghost of Willie Stark?

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