A bit of critical grumbling has been observed following the premiere of John Guare’s dazzling, funny, and intricate new play, Nantucket Sleigh Ride (Lincoln Center Theater at the Mitzi E. Newhouse through May 5). “Hang on,” say some, “I was not informed in advance that I might be expected to think. Where do I apply for my refund?” A noticeable number of theatergoers decamped after the (brief) first act of the performance I attended. Yet Guare is hardly Ionesco or Beckett. As directed by Jerry Zaks, perhaps the theater’s most reliable steward of farce, Sleigh Ride is not just absurd, it’s thoroughly funny, a fast-moving shaggy-dog story, no more difficult to process than an extended episode of a sophisticated sitcom. Yes, its architecture is straight out of Jorge Luis Borges (who appears periodically to lend gnomic...


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