August 4, 2010
By Sam Hurwitt (The Idiolect)
THEATER REVIEW: SAN FRANCISCO
Shakespeare, schmakespeare—and don’t even talk to me about Neil Simon. (Seriously, just don’t.) I think we all know by now that what the Bay Area really needs is more plays about Conan the Barbarian.
Fortunately, San Francisco’s parody-prone Thunderbird Theatre Company is all over that action. Thunderbird’s new comedy Agnes the Barbarian catches up with the sullen, shirtless sword-slinger a couple decades after creator Robert E. Howard was done with him. With his bloody rise from Cimmerian mercenary and thief to king of Aquilonia long behind him, Conan has grown fat and balding and bedeviled by bureaucracy. He’s involved in a foreign war without even knowing why, just signing the scrolls his advisors bring him.
What’s worse, his teenage daughter is driving him nuts. Agnes wears modest clothing and spends her time reading or talking about philosophy with her friends—it’s like her parents’ barbarian values are one big joke to her. The only thing to do, his evil advisors tell him, is to send her unarmed on a quest to slay the fearsome Gargranox so that she can learn what it means to be a barbarian. Read more