By Clarissa Cruz
March 12, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST

Ashes to Ashes

C-
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  • Book

Now playing in two theaters, Harold Pinter is hot — which is good news and bad. The Roundabout’s production of the playwright’s latest, Ashes to Ashes, may be only 45 minutes long, but the brief running time is more than welcome. Despite an engaging performance by Lindsay Duncan (Les Liaisons Dangereuses) and an unintentionally amusing delivery from David Strathairn (L.A. Confidential), this infuriatingly cryptic narrative with Holocaustian undertones isn’t worth its dollar-a-minute ticket price. Thankfully, the Atlantic Theater fares much better with Pinter’s 1958 work, The Hothouse. Set in an unnamed bureaucratic organization, the chilling — if slightly overwrought — comedy follows bumbling staff members overseeing inmates known only by ID numbers. With lively performances (particularly Jordan Lage as a painfully stiff yes-man), and comically clipped dialogue, this is Pinter at his most accessible.
Ashes to Ashes: C-
The Hothouse: B

Ashes to Ashes

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