The Theater: The Charmer

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The curtain rises, and a hushed Manhattan audience gazes into illusion. The stage is London's Covent Garden Market, gaudy and loud with its night visitors. Out from behind a pillar pops a man—lean, lank, cave-chested, middleaged, his head stooped forward as if he were perpetually peering over invisible glasses. His accent is meticulously English, his habitual mood one of irascible impatience. His face scrooches up into a demoniacal, teeth-baring grimace that makes him look like a dissipated Walt Disney wolf, or falls into sagging folds reminiscent of a despondent bloodhound. He...

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