Sab Shimono

'The Orphan of Zhao' a skillful, specialized epic

'The Orphan of Zhao' a skillful, specialized epic

In "The Orphan of Zhao" at the La Jolla Playhouse, an ancient Chinese legend serves as the basis for some impressive stagecraft and conservatory-level performance.

Grounded by a preternaturally sensitive B.D. Wong, this intriguing albeit specialized epic won't be for all tastes.

Dating back to the fourth century BC, "Zhao" is one of the oldest stories still being retold. The basic premise — after a noble clan is slaughtered out of treachery, a humble country doctor is faced with an impossible choice to save the titular heir — has resurfaced in countless sagas, from Herod's massacre of the innocents to more than one daytime...