City Paper is not for tourists
Satirist David Adjmi returns to Woolly Mammoth, where his play Stunning had its world premiere in 2008 before going on to become his professional debut in New York. His account of the life of the Austrian archduchess who became queen of France at 18, was beheaded at 37, and spent the intervening years in a style that seemed ostentatious even for a French monarch, has received a chillier reception: The New York Times’ Charles Isherwood called its 2012 production at Yale Repertory Theatre a “cursory comic strip of a play” that was “generally more rewarding to look at than to listen to.” Its 2013 follow-up at SoHo Rep, again directed by Rebecca Taichman, dialed down the bling, prompting the Times’ unmoved Ben Brantley to quip, “this empress has no clothes in more ways than one.” Both critics compared the play unfavorably to Sophia Coppola’s 2006 film of the same title. But the Woolly version, directed by Yury Urnov, features in the title role Kimberly Gilbert—never boring and newly shaven-headed, the better to accommodate the precarious wig she wears in the play’s poster—along with fellow Woolly regulars Sarah Marshall and Dawn Ursula. That’s a lot of comic energy for one show to contain, and that combination of elements promises a colorful evening, even if the Grey Lady doesn’t much like it. Sept. 15–Oct. 12 at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. $35–$68.