GOD OF CARNAGE

To see James Gandolfini, Hope Davis, Jeff Daniel, and Marcia Gay
Harden perform live together is treat enough. But what about the play?
This corrosive comedy seems to do for “the human condition” what Who's
Afraid of Virginia Woolf did for marriage: peel away the veneer of
“civilization” to reveal the cauldron of aggression and nastiness
beneath. Here, the unravelling seems slapdash (and in a few
unfortunate cases, slapSTICK). The play begins right in the thick of
it; there's no set-up. The first cracks in the politesse come very
soon after and seem unearned, and after that the play just rambles.
There are moments when the four cast members strike postures and stare
out at the audience like O'Neill characters, moments that tiptoe up to
Pretentious. Or is the playwright just making fun of his characters'
pretensions. I don't know! The first half is funnier, and throughout
Gandolfini is first among equals,. But there's way too much shouting,
and even though it's only an hour and a half, I was getting squirmy.
— Jeff Schultz

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