January 16, 2015
Stan’s Cafe tips the Bible over on its side in The Cardinals at the Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival. Three cardinals set up a traveling British group sets up a “punch ‘n Judy” style puppet stage managed by a Muslim woman. A highlights-reel of the Bible ensues, with the four-member team running ragged around the little wood cut-out puppet set. It starts in the Garden of Eden and ends in the current-day Middle East. Not surprisingly, little has changed.
In between the miniature, two dimensional sets by Migheul Angel Bravo, human Cardinal heads pop up assuming the parts of Pharohs, wandering Jews, and Jeus’ clan. They travel from paradise to desserts in pursuit of a bright star, over to palace lands and back to the Middle East. A collaborative project by Gerard Bell, Rochi Rampal, Graeme Rose and Craig Stephens plus Alia Alzoubhbi, the Cardinals is directed by James Yarker. Audience laughter and snickers freckle the evening, but after a while, the jokey pokey view of Christianity according to The Cardinals starts to wear thin.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis