Sure enough, by the time the first act finished, I was much more impressed with the adaptation of Joseph Moncure March's engagingly dark Jazz-Age poem than I'd been the first time around -- a seeming improvement I attributed to several elements.
The ensuing dialogue is like intellectual groping, quintessential LaBute, as the characters Doug and Beth go from philosophizing about their night together to deciding what to do about it in a mere 70 minutes.
This past season has been lackadaisical for new Broadway musicals, with the best of them--arguably After Midnight, Beautiful and A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder, in alphabetical order--falling in the slightly-less-than-exhilarating class.
Madeleine George's play is an intricate puzzle built around the quest to invent machines that bring "better living through technology." There are four Watson characters -- one a robotic machine -- as the play jumps back and forth between 1876, 1891, 1931 and today.
So extraordinarily good was the one-night Encores! Off-Center staged concert reading of the Jeanine Tesori-Brian Crawley Violet, directed by Leigh Silverman, that it calls for some serious transfer-it-somewhere-else-fast thinking.