Interestingly, it’s much more Paglia than Hitch who seems dated: The 2001 play follows a ’90s-heyday love-in between academic theory and pop culture, which produced simple if compelling cultural observations dressed in jargon that promised the sheen of intellectual cool. Similarly here, one idea—that the thrill of watching birds attack Hedren suggests the voyeurism behind all Hitchcock’s persecuted blonds—gets the luster of camp cachet. The idea is interesting enough, but not substantial (or varied) enough to sustain 90 minutes.
Nor is the humor funny enough, often relying on cheap-shot one-liners (if sometimes decent ones: Hedren asks, in reference to the “room for let” sign, if it’s available; the proprietor responds, “It’s the only sign I have”). Despite some inspired staging in the Berger Cultural Center—its walls of windows allowing use of both indoors and outdoors as the bird-puppets attack—Bradley’s direction lacks precision. Like a gymnast’s landing, such comedic pacing really needs to stick; instead, it slips and slides. Yet once again, Ed Jones—the longshoreman-looking actor who plays little-girl Cathy—reveals an uncanny talent.