"The Marin Shakespeare Company’s outdoor revival of this dense 1974 absurdist play deserves as many stars or plaudits a critic can bestow — and then some. Mounds of praise are especially fitting for the director, Robert Currier, who keeps words, action and laughs in a neck-and-neck-and-neck race, and the set designer, Mark Robinson, whose mobile staircases and bookshelves symbolically depict the turning, churning and re-turning of ideas.
Rubber-faced William Elsman perfectly captures the main character, diplomat Henry Carr, as both young man and old. He uses his entire body to enormous advantage, including a gymnastic tongue that doubles as a polisher of Stoppard’s gems and a prop.
Darren Bridgett, too, becomes a combo verbal and physical acrobat. He portrays Dada poet-founder Tristan Tzara, even managing to deliver more than a few lines while doing flips or balancing on his head....
This presentation — because there’s a tad less emphasis on the cerebral and a touch more on slapstick (particularly a couple of goofy food and seltzer fights) — is more accessible and more fun than the American Conservatory Theater version of four years ago."
-- Woody Weingarten, Marinscope
"The company's production certainly gives Currier (known for his own bad-boy sense of humor) plenty of opportunities to dig deep and pull out all his tricks, and it is a testament to his inventive talents—and those of his first-rate cast—that this production is as entertaining as it is. Stoppard's long, long soliloquies are made less endless by Currier's staging, which occasionally involves staircases spinning across the stage as the actors deliver their detailed
speeches. At least there is something to look at. Currier has also added syncopated library bells, spinning clocks, food fights—and anything else he could think of to make things interesting.
The cast is equally energetic, from the reliably slaptickish Darren Bridgett as the certifiably odd Dadaist artist Tristan Tzara and Stephen Klum (brilliant) as Vladimir Lenin to Lucas McClure's restrained James Joyce and Alexandra Matthew's lit-loving librarian Cecily. As the central character of Henry Carr, the low-level English diplomat around whom the various characters interact, William Elsman is especially outrageous, leaping back in forth in time from his young days serving in Switzerland (when he once played a role in a production of Earnest), to the present, when his slightly senile brain can't quite remember everything exactly the way it happened.
In the end, watching MSC's Travesties is like watching people juggle fire while walking blindfold on a tightrope over a pit of hungry alligators. Whether done skillfully or not, the main entertainment comes from knowing that they are crazy to be doing it in the first place."
-- David Templeton, North Bay Bohemian