Theater: High Imp Quotient

Beyond the Fringe. There is a kind of gentleman's agreement, valid for many Broadway shows, that brains as well as cigarettes must be extinguished in the outer lobby, but once in a while this agreement is violated. Players and audience offer one another mutual respect, and there is an explosion of literate joy. Beyond the Fringe is precisely that.

It is written and performed by four Oxford-and Cambridge-educated Britons in their 20s, a quartet of high-IQ imps. Physically and intellectually these scholar-clowns could stock an eclectic aviary. Alan Bennett, a blond horn-rimmed owl, lectures on medieval history at Oxford. Jonathan Miller, who...

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