The book's stage version, by Heller, has been revived by American Theater Company, with six actors taking all the roles of the charlatans, schemers and madmen who populated the novel.
Director John Mohrlein has sent these actors hurtling through the story with comic strip energy and nightmarish intensity.
Andrew Micheli, who has had a season of extraordinary growth at ATC, portrays Yossarian, who's dying to get out of the war but is caught in the ultimate Catch 22: If he's truly crazy, he should be sent home; but only a really crazy person is suited for the insanity of war, so. ...
Anthony Wills Jr., Matthew Brumlow, James Leaming, Editha Rosario and Dawn Bach take all the other roles with distinction.
Leaming is especially fine in his brilliantly nutty work as Col. Cathcart, the gravel-voiced caricature who will make any sacrifice (by his men) in order to become a general; Brumlow is amazingly funny and repellent as Minderbinder, the slick mess officer up to his ears in illegal trading; and Wills is equally adept as the gung-ho Capt. Black and as the gentle chaplain who helps narrate the story through his letters home.
Thanks to the rolling stock that designer Mary Griswold has put into her bombed-out setting, the play moves quickly from the base hospital to the Rome whorehouse to the wild blue yonder; and, with instant costume changes, the actors are able to exit as one character and enter a second later as another.
The play might have been better served by being a little shorter and without an intermission.
After the furious pace and philosophical pauses of the first act, some of the momentum bleeds out in the second, which is a case of more of the same thing
On the other hand, and here's the catch, you would miss some good scenes that way.
Take it as it is.