Scott Brown
October 29, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Dirty Tricks

type
Stage
Current Status
In Season
run date
10/20/04-11/07/04
performer
Judith Ivey
author
John Jeter

We gave it a B-

Channeling Watergate whistleblower Martha ”Mouth of the South” Mitchell, stage vet Judith Ivey hams handily, often poignantly, as the boozy spouse of Attorney General John Mitchell — the lady who proved old-fashioned, all-American gossip and eavesdropping could over-match electronic paranoia and Nixonian black-bag bullying. Ivey pinballs Mitchell’s clanging-brass complexities — her prom-queen conservatism versus her ornery, instinctual libertarianism — off every corner of the crumbling bedroom set. Too bad, then, that John Jeter’s script resists pitting Mitchell’s waning illusions against true darkness, taking more interest in the larger-than-life than the lifelike. The resultant cuh-luh-ful quality, against a backdrop of grainy newsreels, makes Dirty Tricks feel a bit like drag night with the Capitol Steps.

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