Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mad man

By Meredith Deliso

Geoffrey Rush has a certain penchant for playing men slightly off their rockers — David Helfgott in “Shine,” the Marquis de Sade in “Quills,” the pirate Barbossa in “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

And now this month, the Aussie actor goes really nuts in a stage adaptation of Gogol’s darkly comic short story, “The Diary of a Madman,” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music starting on Feb. 11.

For Rush, it’s a return to the role of poor Poprishchin, a civil servant in 1830s St. Petersburg who is prone to elaborate delusions as he yearns for a senior official’s daughter, a juicy theatrical treat that he originated in his homeland in 1989.

“It’s a tour-de-force performance by one of the finest contemporary stage and screen actors — and current Academy Award nominee [for “The King’s Speech”] — making his BAM debut,” said Executive Producer Joseph Melillo. “It’s a thoroughly mesmerizing theater experience.”

“The Diary of a Madman” at BAM Harvery [651 Fulton St. at Rockwell Place in Fort Greene, (718) 636- 4100], Feb. 11-March 12. Tickets $20-$95. For info, visit


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