After some plays, you leave the theater filled with lofty questions: “What’s the fundamental meaning of life?” “What is freedom?” “Can anyone know true love?” And then other plays raise other, less sublime issues: “She was dead, right?” “Whose baby was that, anyway?” “What was the deal with the zombie musicians?” Strawdog Theatre’s new “The True Ballad of Fall’s Blessings,” which comes with the baleful warning, “created in conjunction with the ensemble,” raises a lot of the latter kind of questions. “Fall’s Blessings” has a few moments of genuine inspiration. In particular, the “Hamlet” act-off, for which we are repeatedly prepared, turns out to be pretty funny, and is followed up by a clever take on the death of Polonius. And the music’s not bad. But for the most part, the show comes across as an improv exercise run amok, played with all the earnestly historical hokum of Disney’s Frontierland. The piece spins out a dizzying multitude of stories and then tries to wrap them up in a frantic final half hour, with actors narrowly missing one another as they rush to the end of their respective narrative lines. Strawdog would need to offer a lot more raw spectacle to get away with a story this silly and incoherent. (John Beer)
This production is now closed.