Critics' Voices: Nov. 27, 1989

THEATER

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE. Dustin Hoffman plays Shylock, warts and all, in a shimmering Broadway production transferred intact from a sold-out London run. A tough ticket worth every penny and every minute of the wait.

CLOSER THAN EVER. This musical sampler from lyricist Richard Maltby Jr. and composer David Shire is an off-Broadway charmer deftly performed. Special joys: character songs that actors Brent Barrett and Sally Mayes render as richly nuanced as one-act plays.

MYSTERY OF THE ROSE BOUQUET. Jane Alexander and Anne Bancroft play a nurse and a patient in a taut psychological study by Manuel Puig, author of...

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