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Monday, February 3, 2014

"The Monster-Builder" @ Artist's Rep.

Adjectives like "reptilian" and "serpentine" are over-used to describe slimy and unpleasant characters. Watch Michael Eilich's otherworldly performance as architect Gregor Zebrowski  in Amy Freed's "The Monster-Builder" and I dare you to tell me any other description would do the character justice. Especially in the scene where he interacts with the eel he's about to dine upon. Elich's all-in performance is worth the price of admission by itself.

There are even more pleasures to be had: the askew set by Tom Buderwitz, the dark and sly humor of the script. I must note that the script sometimes talks past its audience, the rapid-fire name-dropping can pull you out of the action for a bit. (The playbill does contain a glossary, but it's buried on the last page before the Cast List, which undercuts its usefulness.)

I can't shake the feeling that I am short-changing Mr. Erlich's performance, here's one more attempt to capture its brilliance: He is as imposing as the structures he creates.


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