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Nut Case

Sanity goes on trial in Nuts at Actors Theatre

As it happens, Topor's most intriguing character, and the evening's most riveting portrayal, is provided by veteran Jim Jeter's version of stepfather Arthur Kirk. Kirk's Act Two dissolution on the stand is a small masterpiece of braggadocio, bluster, condescension, cornpone nonsense and accumulating hysteria, and after he staggers away from his revelatory testimony the whole play seems to be a rising to and falling away from Jeter's performance.

That performance is certainly a good reason to catch this production, which is marked by a high stage shine and a host of small, sly touches such as the Joni Mitchell ("My Analyst Told Me") and Maria Muldaur ("Don't You Feel My Leg") songs that provide a soundtrack during courtroom recesses. Nuts is not a great piece of playwriting, but it's a very good one, and its considerable virtues are precisely realized in this animated and intelligent production, a smart addition to the company's repertoire.

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