The Frogs

Woodside's Theatre in the Woods — it's not kidding; just follow that winding one-lane road for a long while into what feels like the absolute middle of nowhere — is an inspired venue for all sorts of shows (A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Woods among them, natch). But it is especially so for director Stuart Bousel's cleverly outgoing adaptation of the Aristophanes classic The Frogs. In this enduring, metalyrical mash-up of low comedy and lit crit, a dandyish Dionysus (Nathan Tucker), with both the audience and his snippety servant Xanthias (B. Warden Lawlor) in tow, takes a light hike down to Hades, where he winds up judging a highfalutin sort of poetry slam between Aeschylus (Carl Lucania) and Euripides (Ben Fisher). Top prize for the tragedian deemed superior: free passage back to the living world. Also, there are singing frogs. A few of the supporting players seem a little lost in the forest at times, and Bousel's festive layer of literal Englishness (think Monty Python) takes to some more than others. But Lucania and Fisher work comedic wonders with their rhetorical battle, and Tucker, to whom divine theatrical revelry comes quite naturally, couldn't be more right for his part. This fun production reminds us that even after 2,400 years, The Frogs has a long way to go before it croaks.

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