It was the best of times and the worst of times for theatre beyond Broadway this past week, with three wildly divergent shows (two way out in Brooklyn) coming out on top, each with an A-: Geoffrey Rush's bravura turn in the title role of Gogol's Diary of Madman at BAM; Half-Straddle's endearing gridiron goof In the Pony Palace/Football at the Bushwick Starr; and LAByrinth's production of Melissa Ross's gritty family comedy Thinner Than Water. Also getting mostly raves, for a B+, is Jeff Cohen's brief speculative diversion, The Man Who Ate Michael Rockefeller.
The dropoff from there is precipitous, with one of the week's most anticipated shows, Rinne Groff's Compulsion at the Public Theater, garnering deeply ambivalent reviews for its stylized approach to the tangled Anne Frank/Meyer Levin story, and for the divisive performance of Mandy Patinkin, resulting in a C+. My Scandalous Life at Irish Rep tells another history of an unbeloved hanger-on to a large literary reputation--in this case, Alfred Lord Douglas and Oscar Wilde--to a disappointed reception of C-.
Faring worst is David Hay's dinner-party-from-hell play A Perfect Future at the Cherry Lane, which critics gave an F+. If it's any consolation, that's also Spider-man's critics' grade (Spidey's community grade, on the other hand, has swung up to C-.)