Theater: Cave of Terrified Mutants

Cremation is not confined to the dead. There are families in which people burn each other to a crisp daily and dance with desolate glee in the ashes. Despite its title, which suggests arch avant-garde whimsy, The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds is a lacerating account of just such a household.

The mother (Sada Thompson) is a widow from whom all love of life has departed. She hates the world, she hates her lot, and she vents her arid spleen in sardonic wisecracks that are meant to —and do—raise welts on the minds and hearts of her two vulnerable young...

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