“Red Herring”

Take THAT, ‘Red Herring,’ and some of THAT, too

Artists Rep goes Noir for the comedy

Joshua Weinstein, Val Landrum and Leif Norby in "Red Herring"/Owen Carey

Joshua Weinstein, Val Landrum and Leif Norby in “Red Herring”/Owen Carey

Sometimes, theater is just for fun, isn’t it? Michael Hollinger’s “Red Herring” seems to be a case in point, a sharp-witted and quick-paced little noir send-up, in which your laughter at one bit of wordplay may well make it impossible to hear the next even funnier bit.

But isn’t it really about prosecutorial overreach and the Red Scare? You could make the case, I suppose, Sister, but then I’d have to give you a ticket for Excessive Seriousness in a Comedy Zone. Still, fans of Sen. Ted Cruz, the Texas Tea Party darling who has claimed that several members of the faculty at Harvard Law School when he was a student there¬†were card-carrying Communists ¬†(without offering one iota of proof, I must point out in the interest of fairness), might not think it’s all that funny, that it’s part of a liberal media plot to… oh, I don’t know what, exactly. Listen, Buster, if you’re going to the theater to find support for Joseph McCarthy, you’re a bigger sap than I am.

Where was I? Oh yeah, Artists Repertory Theatre, of course, for its production of “Red Herring.” Some Evil Force (I’m not accusing Sen. Cruz, seriously I’m not) had contrived to injure one of the actors on opening weekend, just to close it down (OK, I made that part up), and though Artists Rep tried to keep me from knowing who had been knocked around, hey, I’m a trained investigative journalist! And I have Facebook! So I know exactly who it was and the icing and elevating he’d needed to do to get back on the stage this week. Take that, Artists Rep! And that! I’m a very bad man.


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