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Adagio Teas
   Features  >  NY Theater Reviews

at the Atlantic Theater Company, New York

By Robert Cashill

  (Pictured L-R) C.J. Wilson, Todd Weeks, Michael Stuhlbarg, Christopher Duva, Judith Roberts, Rachel Black - Photo Monique Carboni, 2006

Greed is good for David Mamet. A dab hand at the con game, the playwright has dusted off Harley Granville Barker's The Voysey Inheritance and polished it to an Enron-era edge, finding instantly relatable themes in its century-old drawing room melodrama.

Bearing the weight of history (a metaphor reinforced by Derek McLane's stunning, portrait-strewn set), the patrician Voysey (Fritz Weaver), caught in a tangle of lies by his upright son Edward (Michael Stuhlbarg), passes on the family legacy in the first scene: a long and inglorious history of client fraud and embezzlement, on which the vast Voysey fortune was made. Edward, who is as small and ineffectual-seeming as his father is made of solid oak, decides to straighten out the accounting, financially and morally-but runs into resistance, from his family and even the defrauded, who have their own say in the matter.

Their arguments have an accumulating impact; whether Edward, splendidly played by Stuhlbarg in another vanishing-act portrayal following The Pillowman and the Public's Measure for Pleasure, will budge provides an undercurrent of suspense. Crisply directed by David Warren, The Voysey Inheritance has passed into our age with its virtues intact.


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