Video Librarian.
Nov-Dec, 1999.
By Randy Pitman.

Three Stars.

Once you get past the rather densely philosophical opening 15 minutes of the play, the Seattle-based Taproot Theatre's version of H.G. Wells' prescient (1896) cautionary tale of science running roughshod over over ethics offers a compelling sci-fi fable that-setting aside its mad scientist on a secluded island setting---seems remarkably timely and morally cutting-edge. For those who somehow missed John Frankenheimer's over the top (though unfairly maligned) 1996 film version with Marlon Brando, the basic plot finds a shipwrecked Prendick washed ashore on an exotic island, where the egomaniacal Dr. Moreau is turning animals into humans. Surrounded by the half-animal/half-human creations (creatively, even occasionally heart-wrenchingly, portrayed by a crack ensemble of actors), Prendick is initially horrified by Moreau's assumption of the Creator's work, yet even Prendick begins to harbor doubts when confronted with the grace, intelligence and beauty of Kate (formally a puma). You'll have to watch the tape yourself to see whether human or beast wins out in this age-old (and new) story of humans desiring "knowledge faster than understanding" and seeking "information over wisdom." Kudos to the Taproot players, Sean Gaffney's penetrating script, and Globalstage for capturing another fine performance on video. Bookended by commentary from Professor Elizabeth McNamer and young Preston Blakeley, this is sure to provoke excellent discussions, and is DEFINITELY RECOMMENDED.