Best of 2013: Charles McNulty picks ‘American Buffalo,’ ‘Prometheus Bound’


In this time when news is disseminated ever more quickly, we asked our critics to list the best of culture in 2013 in tweet form:

Southern California:

David Mamet’s “American Buffalo” was revived at the Geffen with its concussive verbal force and fierce con games intact.


Christopher Shinn’s “Dying City” delicately explored the slipperiness of traumatic memory in a multilayered production at Rogue Machine.

John Douglas Thompson and Glynn Turman brought anguish and ecstasy to the searing Mark Taper Forum revival of “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone.”

At the Douglas, Jennifer Haley’s “The Nether” plunged us down the cyber hole, asking tough questions about virtual identity and morality.

A giant rotating steel wheel dominated the Getty Villa’s “Prometheus Bound,” but Ron Cephas Jones conveyed the anguish and defiance.

GRAPHIC: Best of 2013 | Entertainment and culture

Nicholas Martin’s jaunty revival of George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion” at the Old Globe danced even without Lerner and Loewe’s score.


Shakespeare’s Richard II was reborn in “R II,” Jessica Kubzansky’s shrewd adaptation at the Theater @ Boston Court.

In “Rodney King” at the Douglas, Roger Guenveur Smith created a spoken-word portrait balancing empathy and truth.

No production was as visually enthralling as “Shun-kin,” an intercultural offering of peculiar mystery and grace presented by CAP UCLA.

A more tender-hearted freak show is hard to imagine than the revival of “Side Show” that Bill Condon directed at La Jolla Playhouse.

At South Coast Rep, Samuel D. Hunter’s “The Whale” acutely exposed the spiritual substitutes with which America fills itself up.

And beyond:

Spilled popcorn and existential poetry at Playwrights Horizons: Annie Baker’s “The Flick” examined ordinary workers at a small-town cinema.

Brecht with wit, imagination, folk music and the virtuosity of Taylor Mac: The Foundry’s “Good Person of Szechwan” was bliss.

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Ian McKellen & Patrick Stewart put on a Pinter master class this summer in a pre-Broadway run at Berkeley Rep now being hailed in New York.

Rory Kinnear’s Iago was simply the best I’ve ever seen, and Adrian Lester was way up there as Othello in the National Theatre’s hit revival.

The Shakespeare’s Globe “Twelfth Night” with Mark Rylance in Elizabethan drag restored the mirth to a comedy I feared had gone stale.

Twitter: @CharlesMcNulty


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