Donogoo OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Richard Termine
  • Donogoo
  • NY TIMES

  • TM

  • BROADWAY WORLD

  • THEATER PIZZAZZ

  • TALKIN' BWAY

Opening Night:
June 3, 2014
Closing:
July 27, 2014

Theater: Mint Theatre / 311 West 43rd Street, New York, NY, 10036

Synopsis: 

In Donogoo, ambition and imagination collude to create fact out of fraud. Lamendin is a desperate man suffering from an existential crisis. Le Trouhadec is a professor of geography who longs for election to the Academy of Sciences. Together they unwittingly set in motion a stock market swindle of global proportions. Investors, pioneers and prospectors alike are driven to seek their fortune in Donogoo, a place that doesn’t exist—or does it?

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Donogoo

    There May Not Be a There There, or Gold
    ‘Donogoo,’ a 1930 Farce About a Financial Scheme

    Alexis Soloski

    June 24, 2014: Psst! Wanna buy some collateralized debt obligations? How about a nice credit default swap? Wait! I’ve got just the thing: shares in a plan to exploit the gold reserves of Donogoo-Tonka, that lush South American Eden. In Donogoo, a 1930 French farce by Jules Romains, revived by Mint Theater Company, Lamendin (James Riordan), a down-on-his-luck Parisian, concocts a plan to attract investors to those fabled plains. You could call Lamendin’s plot a pyramid scheme, but Donogoo doesn’t boast a single pyramid. As one shrewd adventurer asks, “Does the place exist?” “That depends,” Lamendin replies, “on what you mean by ‘exist.'  " Donogoo, it transpires, is the mistake of a geographer, Le Trouhadec (George Morfogen), a pompous sort who won’t acknowledge the error in his mapmaking. Lamendin has sworn loyalty to Le Trouhadec, so he resolves to make the error right. And to make some money, too. If he can attract enough interest in Donogoo, he believes that he can somehow will the place into existence.

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  • THEATERMANIA REVIEW OF Donogoo

    Donogoo Theatre Review

    Zachary Stewart

    June 23, 2014: Anything is possible with a little bit of magical thinking and a whole lot of cash. French playwright Jules Romains takes this basic truth of Western capitalism to its logical conclusion in his zany comedy Donogoo, which is now receiving a revival at Mint Theater Company. Gus Kaikkonen, who translated and directed Romains' Dr. Knock for Mint in 2010, provides a new translation and direction. Originally produced in 1930, this farce of financial malfeasance and scientific blunder feels shockingly relevant to today's world, in which credit ratings and media hype so often trump solid facts and common sense. Lamendin (James Riordan) is a man at the end of his rope. The play opens with him standing on the Moselle Bridge in Paris, about to jump. By chance, his friend Benin (Mitch Greenberg) walks by and convinces him to step back from the edge and pay a visit to Dr. Miguel Rufisque (George Morfogen), a biometric psychotherapist who has invented a machine that promises to diagnose Lamendin's ennui and prescribe a cure. Sure enough, once he's strapped into the electric chair-like device, it tells him that he will meet a stranger in front of the mosque of Paris who will change his whole life.

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  • BROADWAY WORLD REVIEW OF Donogoo

    BWW Review: The Mint Digs Up 1930 French Farce, DONOGOO

    Michael Dale

    June 25, 2014: It's to the great credit of the spirited company of actors, projection designers Roger Hanna and Price Johnson and French playwright Jules Romains himself, that the Mint Theater Company's new production of Donogoo always feels like something wildly funny is just about to happen. A zany farce from 1930 satirizing European colonialism, Romains' "comedy in 23 tableaux" has all the makings of a vehicle that might have been driven by the brothers Ritz or Marx, but translator/director Gus Kaikkonen's text is sadly void of solid punch lines and his staging is similarly zing-less. Which is a shame, because the juicy plot seems richly ripe for hilarity. James Riordan, the only member of the baker's dozen of player who doesn't play multiple roles, opens the evening as the depressed and suicidal Lamendin, who is interrupted from his attempt to jump from Paris' Moselle Bridge by a chance meeting with old pal Benin (Mitch Greenberg).

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  • THEATER PIZZAZZ REVIEW OF Donogoo

    Donogoo-or The Miracles of Science – Disappointing

    Alix Cohen

    June 23, 2014: Jules Romains’ immensely appealing satire about the craziest of stock market swindles and its outcome was published as a novel in 1920 and presented by its author as a play 9 years later. Le Figaro’s theatrical review referred to “skill and vitality” we observe in about half this overlong, sometimes plodding production. Part of the issue may be translation, part is pace and heavy handed direction, part lays on the shoulders of a mostly lackluster cast helmed by star James Riordan (Lamendin) who is missing the comedy gene. It’s a pity. One can only assume rigorous adherence to authenticity kept the otherwise estimable Mint Theater, of whom I am an enormous fan, from cutting this piece. The rest is inexplicable.

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  • TALKIN' BROADWAY REVIEW OF Donogoo

    Donogoo Theatre Review

    Michael Portantiere

    June 23, 2014: Depending on one’s point of view, it can be either depressing or strangely comforting to realize that human foibles and societal issues we think of as fairly recent are actually not. Plays dating from bygone eras often bring home this point. And when it comes to playwrights whose works remain so relevant that they seem almost shockingly modern, rather than dated in any significant way, Jules Romains (1885-1972) is an excellent example (if not among the most famous). In 2010, the Mint Theater Company gave us an acclaimed production of Romains’ best-known work, Dr. Knock, a darkly comic lampoon of the medical profession. Now the company is presenting Donogoo, a more obscure Romains piece that also makes fun of crazy doctors (in an early scene) but moves on to cut a wide swathe as it satirizes academic fraud, real estate frenzy, the stock market, French imperialism (and imperialism in general), etc., etc.

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