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The Artificial Jungle

From 15 critic and 113 member reviews
Members say: Funny, Entertaining, Quirky, Clever, Delightful

About the show

Theater Breaking Through Barriers revives Charles Ludlam's comic noir, which pulls from works as diverse as 'Double Indemnity' and 'Therese Raquin' in its tale of love, murder, and piranha fish! More…

Chester Nurdiger lives in the back of his pet shop with his mother and his bored wife, Roxanne. One day, slick drifter Zachary Slade comes along and is hired to work in the shop. After sparks ignite between Roxanne and Zachary, they plot to murder Chester and feed him to the piranhas.



55
Broadway Blog

"Moderately amusing revival…Much of this can be humorous but it no longer packs the comic punch it had in 1986…While the exaggerated acting is more or less in tune with Ludlam's intentions, it can do little with lines that too often thud and situations that are wildly overstated…The show's drollest moments, though, come from those ravenous piranhas, represented by puppets...Their reactions to what's going on offer the show's most hilarious contribution." Full Review


60
Campy, Quirky, Slow

See it if you like over-the-top campy dark comedies with somewhat obvious plots.

Don't see it if you prefer subtle intelligent comedy.

50
Stylized, Tonally confused, Fluffy, Messy, Great puppets

See it if you like campy stylized shows regardless of how well produced they are.

Don't see it if you expect a well-paced, specifically directed show when you see a show that deals with heightened style.

69
During previews
Campy, Entertaining, Funny, Confused

See it if you like a campy mashup of Terese Raquin and Little Shop Of Horrors. Very funny at times.

Don't see it if the tone of the show is uneven. Sometimes very campy and fun and sometimes more serious & slow. Should've gone all campy.

Also Most of the fun (Little Shop) is in the first act. The break into the ... Read more Read less

69
During previews
Admirable, Fluffy, Quirky

See it if you would like to support a theater company dedicated to advancing the work of performers with disabilities, performing admirably.

Don't see it if you expect a polished production of a Theater of the Ridiculous piece.

69
During previews
Quirky, Slow, Funny

See it if you enjoy "comic noir", and slight camp.

Don't see it if you are expecting high camp, or don't have patience for a slow joke.

Also Great set, earnest acting, and a ridiculous/humorous plot. I just want... Read more Read less

68
During previews
Funny, Entertaining, Quirky, Disappointing

See it if You like silly over the top shows. Definitely has some laughs and was entertaining enough.

Don't see it if It's meant to be a campy show but this production restrains from taking the camp all the way. Wish they wouldn't have held back.

Also The show has the potential to be hysterical is the right hands. There ... Read more Read less

68
During previews
Truly mediocre, 2nd act improvements, Artificially ridiculous, 1 artful performance, Fab fish puppetry

See it if you want to support Theatre Breaking Through Barriers, a worthy group with an ethos inconsistently applied here.

Don't see it if you want to see a rarely-produced Ludlam satire/homage done with the bravura finesse of the original.

67
During previews
Ambitious, Clever, Disappointing, Dry, Slow

See it if You want to see what a Charles Ludlam play looks like when you take all the gay out of it. Interesting to see his work but lacks any camp.

Don't see it if You remember how much fun a Charles Ludlam play SHOULD be. Come on...not one drag queen?!?!

66
During previews
Silly, Campy, Quirky, Funny, Cartoonish

See it if you enjoy hokey shows similar to "Little Shop of Horrors' or 'Bat Boy," like the Ludlam/Quinton school of absurd humor; just go laugh

Don't see it if you only go to serious dramas or classics; this one is f-a-r from that...

Also Note this performing troupe includes unconventional, disabled actors; ... Read more Read less

66
During previews
Dated, Disappointing, Amateur

See it if A silly dated comedy is your thing.

Don't see it if You want a good evening out for shows like this don't deliver.

65
During previews
Banal, Entertaining, Funny, Quirky

See it if You like a form of slap stick comedy. Some of the actors were good. The piranhas were entertaining.

Don't see it if you want a thought provoking show.

65
During previews
Disappointing, Slow, Uneven

See it if you're in the mood for a spoof of film noir and/or Zola's "Therese Raquin"

Don't see it if you're expecting a show with a consistent style and pace and that is funny throughout

63
During previews
Confusing, Disappointing, Unimaginative, Too deadpan, Wooden acting

See it if you can look past the flaws and appreciate a play for one terrific scene

Don't see it if You remember the Charles Ludlam production.

Also Ludlam/Quinton were masters of the gender-bending gesture and of exagg... Read more Read less

62
During previews
Great writing, Disappointing, Unidiomatic, Quirky

See it if you are interested in Ludlam's work but have never seen this play and are willing to put up with performances that don't match the material.

Don't see it if you want to experience Ludlam's play in a first-rate production that gets the tone and style just right.

61
During previews
Banal, Dated, A missfire

See it if David Harrell and especially Anita Hollander were very good. Set is fun. Seemed like it was written under a deadline.

Don't see it if This was neither funny nor ridiculous, just sort of stock skit comedy without any real laughs.

Also Why would anyone do a parody of Therese Raquine? Odd choice.

60
During previews
Dated, Disappointing, Insipid, Overrated

See it if you like silly, sophomoric plays that look like they are being done by a bad high school drama class.

Don't see it if you want to see good acting (or any kind of acting at all).

60
During previews
Good performances. silly show.

See it if You like Charles Ludlam humor.

Don't see it if You don't like Ludlam's humor.

60
During previews
Funny, Slow

See it if you are looking for a dark comedy

Don't see it if you hate slow pacing. Took a long time to get up and running, but the second act was better than the first.

55
During previews
Slow, Disappointing, Banal, Earnest, Quirky

See it if you're a Charles Ludlam completest & want to see a rarely revived noir spoof from the Ridiculous Theatre Co. (Tho this is 2nd-rate Ludlam.)

Don't see it if you expect side-splitting comedy. This a slow, awkward, unevenly cast production of a show that likely wasn't that great the 1st time around

Also All of my points are given for the earnestness of the creative team. E... Read more Read less

51
During previews
Ambitious, Dated, Funny, Great staging, Great writing

See it if you enjoy silly comedy. Charles Ludlam reached over the top with his Theater of The Ridiculous. This show barely reaches the top.

Don't see it if you are expecting a great adaptation of a Ludlam work.

50
During previews
Disappointing, Earnest, Flop, Slow, Banal

See it if You don't mind earnest actors shooting for laughs and missing or you are curious about a lesser done Charles Ludlam play.

Don't see it if You are expecting a polished comedy or mind poorly executed gags or a set that works for the production.


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