New Plays: Paranoid as Pope

"It's marvelous to hear an audience listening," says Alec McCowen. He heard that rapt and magic silence for seven months in the triumphant London production of Hadrian VII (TIME, May 31, 1968). Now he is hearing it again in Manhattan, where Hadrian opened last week to critical bravos that echoed those back home. Reviewers on both sides of the Atlantic have called McCowen's performance one of the major theatrical events of the decade.

The play itself provides a perfect vehicle for his skills. Hadrian is a deft dramatization by Peter Luke of...

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