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Festival Antigonish: Criminal Genius

Based purely on observation, I’d say the audience for Criminal Genius was split four ways. One quarter sat in rigid disapproval, even withholding applause at the end. One quarter laughed uproariously and sprang to their feet for a standing ovation. And half vacillated somewhere between amused and bemused. Why was this tale about a crew of inept criminals so divisive? Well, how much you love this play depends a lot on your tolerance for profanity and whether or not black comedy tickles your funny bone, because these characters make the Trailer Park Boys look like refined academics. That being said, the performances are stellar (I especially liked Ed Thomason as the soft-hearted Rolly and Shelly Thompson as the tough-as-nails Shirley) and the action is beautifully choreographed by director Anthony Black. In short, I agree with the elderly lady who announced on her way out, “That play was fucking great!” —Kate Watson

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