New World Stages, New York
It’s hard to explain what makes this “devil-may-care car crash” of a play so compelling, said Elisabeth Vincentelli in the New York Post. Written by movie star Woody Harrelson and his longtime friend Frankie Hyman, it was inspired by the days when the pair worked Houston construction jobs in the early 1980s. But that’s where any semblance of real life ends. Held together by an “eye-rollingly ridiculous story” about a missing gun that was allegedly used in a Hitler assassination attempt, the play plunges quickly into “cheeseball Tarantino territory,” complete with an amped-up soundtrack of vintage MTV hits. Loaded with cussing, “pot-addled banter,” and thoroughly bizarre characters, Bullet for Adolf rarely seems to know where it’s heading. “But at a time when many plays are well-crafted but personality-free,” the show’s anything-goes spirit is a welcome relief.
Unfortunately, the fuel of the show is its creators’ nostalgia for their youth, said Frank Scheck in The Hollywood Reporter. Audience members who aren’t also in their early 50s have little reason to share that feeling, even after being bombarded with circa-1983 pop-culture references for two and a half hours. Some of the jokes are cute, and the cast—including Harrelson and Hyman stand-ins Brandon Coffey and Tyler Jacob Rollinson—“delivers them with evident relish.” But “there’s more to crafting a farce than simply having eccentric characters yelling often profane, racially charged one-liners at each other.” Harrelson should have known that.