Theater review: ‘Medieval Play’ a history in tedium

Even these guys look a little weary. "Medieval Play" runs through June 24.

With its frat-house humor and a length evoking the Hundred Years’ War in which it’s set, Kenneth Lonergan’s “Medieval Play” at the Pershing Square Signature Theatre proves a rather tedious history lesson. And that’s a shame, since it begins with rapier wit as Sir Ralph (Josh Hamilton) and Sir Alfred (Tate Donovan) provide pithy insights into the geopolitical landscape as they philosophize between bouts of raping and pillaging.

What’s so funny about the knights’ exchange, and what disappears completely 15 minutes later, is the juxtaposition of a modern perspective with a feudal landscape. Their predictions about the demise of agrarian society and the rise of the nation-state are completely anachronistic, and their deadpan delivery of such observations is unexpected and funny.

But by the time Sir Ralph decides to search for an alternative to the meaningless existence of a knight-errant, the play’s humor becomes completely generic. Costumes and plot are still firmly rooted in the Middle Ages, with the Avignon papacy moving back to Rome, followed by the Great Papal Schism and a pope in each of France and Italy. But the ironic, time-twisted viewpoint has been replaced by a second-rate “Animal House” sensibility. Instead of a toga party, it’s armor and mail, but the crude dialogue and broad sight gags would be equally at home (or not) in any era. If hearing a Saint Catherine of Siena (Heather Burns) drop the F-bomb is your idea of witty repartee, go for it. Otherwise, don’t.   

‘Medieval Play’
Through June 24
Pershing Square Signature Center
480 West 42nd Street
$25, all seats
www.signaturetheatre.org



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.