Lisa Schwarzbaum
April 12, 2002 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Dazzle

type
Stage
Current Status
In Season
performer
Peter Frechette, Reg Rogers
director
David Warren
author
Richard Greenberg

We gave it a B+

Inspired by the true tale of the famously reclusive packrat brothers Langley and Homer Collyer, whose bizarre deaths in 1947 amid mountains of stuff captivated popular imagination, playwright Richard Greenberg amasses a stuff-filled, agreeably untidy drama about the decay of genius into insanity. The brothers’ psychological decline, Greenberg posits in a tender thesis, was directly connected to the overwhelming dazzle of the world on their senses; the play’s language, too, is a welter of old-fashioned word-love that teeters but avoids toppling into Oscar Wilde territory. In contrast, David Warren directs economically, on a great, increasingly crammed set, allowing Reg Rogers to blossom into madness as Langley, abetted by Peter Frechette as his hovering, mothering brother, Homer.

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