Tough neighborhoods

By CAROLYN CLAY  |  April 7, 2009

As for the play's toys in the Attic, the doll contingent constitutes an effective visual metaphor, with the dead of Troy represented by broken moppets dangled from a rod above the skewed wreckage of David Reynoso's brutalist set and the corpse of Hecuba's murdered grandson, Astyanax, stood in for by a shattered figurine not even Lotte can repair. But what has any of this to do with the half-century-old icon of Mattel? Evans might have made more of the parallels between plastic, empty-headed Barbie and Helen, the latter portrayed by Institute student Careena Melia as a Rita Hayworth type trailing classically inspired gowns and old-movie music. But she doesn't. In fact, Evans's Helen is smart enough to use her feminine wiles to score Perrier and aspirin from the troops and can't understand why her fellow captives do not.

Long-time Súgán Theatre Company honcho Carmel O'Reilly is at the helm of the striking production, which serves as a showcase for a talented Institute posse that also includes Nina Kassa as the luridly prescient Cassandra and Skye Nöel as a pearl-clad Mad Men–era Andromache. But Trojan Barbie remains less a fully thought-out cohesion than something you might find in the playwriting aisle of Ploys "R" Us.

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