With a whole host of traditional plays and musicals available to choose from, it is sometimes refreshing when theater artists in New York City experiment with form. Creator and producer Brett Epstein’s Rule of 7x7 is just that: an experiment in playwriting wherein seven playwrights each declare a “rule” that must be incorporated into each play. These rules range from a word, a line, or a specific stage direction. To intensify the process, the artists involved have just one month to mount these short plays from conception to performance.
The arrival of Shear Madness in New York comes 36 years after the runaway hit opened in Boston. Since then, other editions have taken up residence in other cities, and inevitably the suspicion arises that the lengthy delay bodes a show that might not meet New York’s high standards. Happily, the lunatic confection at New World Stages indicates the opposite: all those years have helped create an indestructible engine for laughter that should keep its cast bankrolled for quite some time.