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'A Man's a Man' review: Tedious early Brecht

From left, Stephen Spinella, Justin Vivian Bond, Steven

From left, Stephen Spinella, Justin Vivian Bond, Steven Skybell, Jason Babinsky and Martin Moran in "A Man's a Man" at Classic Stage. (Jan. 9, 2014) Credit: Richard Termine

It feels ungracious to slight the significance of a rare revival of Bertolt Brecht's early "A Man's a Man," first performed in 1926 and considered a portal to the master's developing style and theories. But Brian Kulick and his Classic Stage Company, typically a home for much challenge and pleasure, have mounted a tedious production that annoys in the noisy, look-at-me manner of bad children's theater. Stephen Spinella is wasted as the brutal head of a British Colonial regiment in fantasy-India, where an innocent man is manipulated into becoming a war machine. Sweet/bitter harmonies and oompa rhythms by Duncan Sheik ("Spring Awakening") offer little compensation.

WHAT "A Man's a Man"

WHERE Classic Stage Company, 136 E. 13th St.

INFO $60-$65; 212-352-3101;

BOTTOM LINE Tedious early Brecht.

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