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DIARY OF A MADMAN NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW
Opening Night: February 16, 2011
Did He Like It?
Academy, Emmy, and Tony Award winner Geoffrey Rush (Exit the King, Broadway) comes spectacularly unglued as the lowly civil servant Poprischin, driven mad by bureaucracy in Nikolai Gogol's darkly comic short story The Diary of a Madman, adapted for the stage by the astute director Neil Armfield and Australia's adventurous Belvoir (Cloudstreet, 2001 Next Wave; Exit the King, Sydney's Belvoir St Theatre). A burnt-out paper-pusher who ekes out a meager living in czarist St. Petersburg, Poprischin spends his days doing menial tasks, anxious and teetering on the brink of lunacy. Or is it lucidity? Immobilized by a rigid social hierarchy, Poprischin cuts adrift from reality: hallucinating a canine love affair, imagining himself well above his station, and conjuring entire realms both incredible and terrifying. Deeper and deeper he sinks into delusion, and--thanks to Rush's astonishing performance--we, too, are eventually subsumed by a world in which reality is, at best, relative.
Send in the Russian Clown and His Pain and Alienation, Too
By BEN BRANTLEY
Published: February 17, 2011
"It’s comedy night at the asylum, folks. And have we got some high-voltage vaudeville for you, the kind that curls your hair and turns your knees to rubber. So here he is, all the way from St. Petersburg, Russia, the man who put the madcap in madness. Put your hands together for the stand-up stylings of Aksentii Poprishchin."
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