Chilling, dark comedy


This is Sean Graney and the Hypocrites doing what they do best: chilling, dark comedy that establishes an unmatched atmospheric aesthetic. Georg Buchner’s unfinished, somewhat disjointed play about the dehumanizing effects of poverty gets the Graney treatment, with thrilling, if sometimes confusing, expressionistic movement and dialogue. The forces crushing antihero Franz Woyzeck are claustrophobic but Brechtian, with haunting songs and sound design by Mikhail Fiksel; and when Woyzeck finally succumbs to murder, the rampant bloodshed approaches a true theater of cruelty without ever losing a moment of controlled precision. Particular kudos to the exquisite set design, which, with its Damien Hirst-like medicine cabinets, stuffed reindeer, plastic sheeting, and tree stumps, evokes an apocalyptic element that somehow adds even more tension. (Monica Westin)