In theory, Donogoo sounds like just the kind of show I’d love. A forgotten 1920s French hit? Yes please! The storyline sounds great, too: a few unsavory businessmen in Paris decide to invent a city in Brazil as a moneymaking scheme. (Sort of a Fordlandia meets The Lost City of Z meets The Way We Live Now.)
But I found it deeply boring. That’s not the entirely the fault of the production: the actors were mostly capable, and I loved the clever use of animated projections (in lieu of physical sets). The problem lies with playwright Jules Romains, whose work has simply not aged well, and director/translator Gus Kaikkonen, whose pacing in this production is what I’d call “glacial.” Every scene takes ages to get to the point. Every idea is discussed far more than it needs to be.
The Mint, for those of you not familiar with it, is dedicated to bringing worthy but neglected plays back to life. I absolutely loved their production of London Wall earlier this spring. Even when the Mint Theatre fails, I tend to think of it as a worthy enterprise. How fascinating to see what kind of play was a big hit in 1920s France! How grateful I feel that not every show is so boring!
My Grade: C-
Running time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Ticket price: $4.50
Worth it: No
Standing Ovation Watch: No