The Milk Can Theatre Company is tackling George Bernard Shaw's multifaceted Arms and the Man, and it's a noble endeavor. Currently being presented in repertory with the world premiere of Anne Phelan's Mushroom in Her Hands, Arms and the Man has the potential to be a sharp, funny satire about love and an important commentary on mankind's obsession with war. However, under ML Kinney's schizophrenic direction, this Arms and the Man sinks under the weight of its underdeveloped concept. Arms and the Man follows the romantic entanglements of Raina Petkoff (Meghan Reilly); her betrothed, Sergius Saranoff (Avery Clark); the heroic soldier Bluntschli (Kirsten Walsh); and Raina's headstrong handmaid, Louka (Sarah Bloom). Misunderstandings and missed connections abound: Raina loves Bluntschli but is engaged to Sergius, who loves Louka. Set against the backdrop of the Bulgarian-Serbian war, Shaw's play has his characters wax philosophical about love, the conventions of war, class struggle, and the responsibilities of man.
It is a difficult play