Profoundly weak on all fronts, this adaptation of the much-loved cartoon and novel by Peter S. Beagle loyally follows the fairy-tale journey of a unicorn in search of her kind, but the show creates no momentum or magic of its own. Everything about the “The Last Unicorn” feels amateurish. Art direction, with an endless falling-flower-petal motif, halfhearted medieval costumes and a harpie in a velvet unitard, is cheap and trite. Acting is wildly uneven, somehow both uncontrolled and stilted (the songs are worse). The pacing, however, is what keeps the story from ever getting off the ground, glacially slow with overwrought, overexplained scenes that destroy any sense of tension and excitement. The play, adapted by Ed Rutherford, aims for playful, with some punning and clever one-liners, but they fall flat under his own direction. One senses an underlying lack of control about the whole production; scenes combine dragging, stilted exchanges with sudden chaotic fights and sprints offstage. And when a troupe of unicorns—signified by actors wearing half-togas over black pants—come leaping out of the ocean (a yard of purple fabric) and pirouette in the air, it’s hard to muster the suspension of disbelief needed to feel any fairy tale magic. (Monica Westin)
At City Lit, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr, (773)305-2897. Through November 14.