May 22, 2005

Anthony Cairns, left, in "Shockheaded Peter."

Ben Brantley and Charles Isherwood, theater critics for The New York Times, discuss this season's best and most unfortunate onstage moments.

'SHOCKHEADED PETER' Unlike most musicals this season, which have been so silly it's scary, this British-born adaptation of grim, cautionary children's tales from the 19th century is so scary it's silly. This self-defusing fun house of a show, which ends its Off Broadway run at the Little Shubert Theater next Sunday, easily qualifies as best musical. And its original leading man, Julian Bleach as the bumbling M.C., delivered the most electric study in ineptitude of any actor in town. That he did so intentionally set him even further apart.