A Creative Take on Dostoevsky: "Crime and Punishment" at the Old Globe

 The Comedic Piece Feels Rushed but is Funny and Fun.

A Blog View by Alejandra Enciso-Dardashti

(L) Orville Mendoza with Stephanie Gibson, Nik Walker, Juliet Brett, and Vincent Randazzo in The Old Globe’s production of Crime and Punishment, A Comedy. Photo by Jim Cox.

Commissioning a comedy about a Russian psychological drama is a creative choice in 2023. Strongly believe too that introducing the classics to new audiences, regardless of twists, and imaginative licenses, brings different results as well as reaches. The world premiere of "Crime and Punishment: A Comedy" at the Old Globe was fun. Skillfully crafted by Gordon Greenberg and Steve Rosen, -who also co-wrote Ebenezer Scrooge’s BIG San Diego Christmas Show, playing each Christmas season at the globe-, 'Crime, takes Dostoevsky's turn-of-the-century masterpiece and transforms it into a 90-minute whirlwind of laughter, morality, and zany characters. One ride, no stops, or well, one act, no intermission.

The satirical take on the famous novel, as well as Russian literature as a whole, was a refreshing and clever approach. The adaptation managed to capture the essence of Dostoevsky's work while infusing it with a modern comedic twist along with a playful balance between reverence and irreverence, that even though the writing felt a little rushed, it resulted in a unique theater experience. Granted, re-writing Dostoevsky with a comedic flare, is no easy task. Directed by Gordon Greenberg himself, the show features a small but versatile cast of five talented actors who skillfully bring to life over 50 characters. From start to finish, their energy and comedic timing provided non-stop entertainment. Audiences around me could not stop laughing.

Juliet Brett with Nik Walker, Vincent Randazzo, Orville Mendoza, and
Stephanie Gibson. Photo by Jim Cox.

Juliet Brett's performance was sweet and hilarious, capturing the essence of her characters with delightful charm. Stephanie Gibson's talent blazed through, showcasing both her comedic ability and genuine talent. The chemistry between the actors was palpable, and their seamless transitions between multiple roles kept the audience engaged and entertained throughout. Orville Mendoza, Vincent Randazzo, and Nik Walker rounded out the comedic ensemble, delivering hilarious performances that added depth and variety to the production. Their commitment to each character brought an extra layer of hilarity to the already exciting comedy.

I love me a good period piece in great part because of the costume design. Alejo Vietti's design as well as looking fab, worked because the piece has various high-paced moving parts so Vietti made it look good and be functional as well. Wilson Chin's set design was simple yet effective, allowing the actors' performances to take center stage. Amanda Zieve's lighting and Lindsay Jones's original music and sound design enhanced the comedic moments, adding another layer of humor to the script.

"Crime and Punishment: A Comedy" is a good recommendation for theater enthusiasts and fans of Dostoevsky alike as hopefully the latter will take it with good humor and enjoy a couple of laughs. It's a fast-paced, side-splitting hop that creatively reimagines a literary classic. With its talented cast, witty script, and fun direction, this production will bring an evening of laughter and amusement. And for those who are unfamiliar, well as Greenberg shares in an interview in the show program, a test in Russian literature will not be passed by watching this show but, it will be an entertaining joyride through it.

Currently playing until August 20th. For dates and showtimes please click here

Orville Mendoza with Stephanie Gibson, Nik Walker, Juliet Brett, and Vincent Randazzo.
Photo by Jim Cox.

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