Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.’s second novel, “The Sirens of Titan,” has intermittent moments of brilliance, but like much of Vonnegut’s early work, it’s of interest primarily for its portent of the great novels to come: “Cat’s Cradle,” “Slaughterhouse Five,” “Breakfast of Champions.” Lifeline Theatre’s production of John Hildreth’s adaptation of the novel inherits the book’s major defects: the characters are little more than cartoons and the episodic, pulp-inspired plot has long stretches of tedium, punctuated by plot twists visible a few light years away. The play’s satirical treatment of religion could be charitably called broad: maybe in 1959 television evangelists were a bold new target, but even Saturday Night Live seems to have given up on the topic these days. Lifeline’s production does succeed in breathing some life into “Titan.” Dave Skvarla plays Winston Niles Rumfoord with a high-handed melancholy (and he resembles, intriguingly, Vonnegut’s fellow SF-writer turned religion-founder L. Ron Hubbard), while David Blixt tracks the many personae of Malachi Constant without losing touch of the character’s essential decency. And Kevin Theis’s direction manages to make the complexities of life within a chrono-synclastic infundulum clear. But this workmanlike adaptation never succeeds in moving beyond the limitations of its source. (John Beer)
This production is now closed.