Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Muddle of a ‘Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo’

Robin Williams as a big cat and Brad Fleischer and Glenn Davis as marines tasked with guarding him in “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.” Photos by Carol Rosegg.


“BENGAL Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo”
is a lot of nonsense, much of it seriously entertaining. The play purports to be about war and the evils it brings.

Unfortunately Rajiv Joseph’s Broadway debut, running at the Richard Rogers Theatre through 3 July, unveils metaphysics as sloppy as its plotlines. The play centers on the wanderings of a dead Tiger (Robin Williams, also in his Broadway debut) through the streets of Baghdad circa 2003.

When Tom (Glenn Davis), one of the marines guarding the zoo, loses his arm to the bite of the Tiger, fellow marine Kev (Brad Fleischer) kills the Tiger. Kev is then haunted by the Tiger who is searching for meaning. “I’m dead,” he asserts, “why am I still here?”

Robin Williams is uncertain about his state of being in "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.”

As in his recent off-Broadway foray, “Gruesome Playground Injuries” (see review at, RJ seems to want to be outrageous with an emphasis on the extreme and unlikely.

The Tiger, who claims all tigers are atheists, is suddenly wondering about sin and redemption. As “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” unfolds, it is apparent that everyone is lost and beyond redemption.

Perhaps with the exception of RW, whose angry comic timing is low key and superbly barbed, the actors don’t seem to know whether the play is worthy of their efforts. (Hint: not.) They work hard at selling this material as if it were making a salient, coherent point. (See video at http://http//

While modestly entertaining, “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” like the dying topiaries in Musa’s garden, is as senseless as war itself.

Visit to learn more about “Bengal Tiger At the Baghdad Zoo.”

No comments :

Post a Comment

Creative Commons License
VEVLYN'S PEN: The Wright take on life by Vevlyn Wright is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License .
Based on a work at .
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at .