The Theater: Messing with Max

"I remember being really bored by a play on the evening of my tenth birthday," Max Beerbohm once wrote. How sad that he would have been equally bored by The Incomparable Max, the play that owes its title to Bernard Shaw's apt and durable phrase. Playwrights Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee also came to praise Sir Max, but they ended up burying him.

The work is a glue job rather than an organic entity. The authors took two of Beerbohm's stories, Enoch Soames and A.V. Laider, and awkwardly mixed Beerbohm in as a character among his own creations. In passages that...

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