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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Review: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Evil (Fringe)

by Chris Lane
A Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Evil is a story about a graduate school for super-villains, complete with students who fit into a range of super-villain stereotypes. Such an ambitious idea for a play is sure to be a challenge to execute properly, and unfortunately this production doesn’t quite manage to pull it off.
The plot seemed to be that the villains were trying to fight the local superhero while keeping up with their studies, although the superhero story seemed to take a backseat to the complex back-stories for all eight of the characters. The plot was such an afterthought that a few times, when one student reminds the other characters of the threat of the superhero, it seemed like the playwright himself had suddenly remembered what the plot was supposed to be.
In general, the characters were quite cleverly designed - such as the angry environmentalist who wants to free the Earth by killing all humans - and they also included some stock villains such as an impressively creepy Russian villain, a temptress and a mad scientist. One problem with these villains is that they generally didn’t seem quite evil enough, especially the environmentalist who seemed to like people and community far too much for us to believe that she wants everyone dead. While this is a comedy piece and the villains are supposed to be a bit pathetic, it would have worked better if we could at least believe for a little while that they’re genuinely evil.
There are a lot of funny lines in this play, and the audience did keep laughing right till the end. The costumes were great, and the cast was generally good save for a couple of weak links. Overall: relatively enjoyable, but could have been better.

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