The Old Globe’s ‘Crime and Punishment, A Comedy’ is Almost Farcical. Almost

The Old Globe has turned to Gordon Greenberg and Steve Rosen, authors of its holiday hit, Ebenezer Scrooge’s BIG San Diego Christmas show to produce a comedy based on a serious source. Messrs. Greenberg and Rosen decided to tackle Dostoyevsky’s sweeping novel, Crime and Punishment. They made a lot of changes to the story while, according to an interview published in the show’s program, creating a snappy 90-minute comedy and still encouraging audiences to engage with the source’s major themes.

I’d say that it worked, and you can see for yourself by going to the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre between now and August 20.

(from left) Juliet Brett, Orville Mendoza, Nik Walker, Vincent Randazzo, and Stephanie Gibson
Photos by Jim Cox

The authors say that the themes of the play are moral relativity, guilt, and social inequity. The play focuses on a character named Rodya Raskolnikov, who has just finished a course of study to earn a law degree. He is motivated to get a license and begin practice because his father is being held in Siberia and he wants to help free him.

Unfortunately, Rodya is blocked from getting his license because he owes an overdue fine on a library book that he checked out, and the fine exceeds the small amount of money he has to his name. In addition, his landlady is going to kick him out of his apartment unless he can catch up on his rent payments.

Sounds like a realistic enough dilemma to me.

Five actors play all the roles. They are numbered, rather than given character names. Actor 1 is Vincent Randazzo, Actor 2 is Juliet Brett, Actor 3 is Stephanie Gibson, Actor 4 is Orville Mendoza, and Actor 5 is Nik Walker. Collectively, they play more than fifty characters. Mr. Greenberg directed, and he keeps the pace almost farcical. Almost.

(from left) Orville Mendoza (center) with Stephanie Gibson, Nik Walker, Juliet Brett, and Vincent Randazzo

Wilson Chen has designed a handsome and utilitarian set for the in-the-round White theatre. I admired particularly the paintings that line the walls, though I wasn’t always sure about their significance to the plot. Amanda Zieve has lit the space generously, including highlighting the paintings from time to time. The Globe’s costume designs are consistently handsome, and Alejo Vietti’s continue that pattern. Lindsay Jones’ sound design does a good job of picking up individual voices and making the words heard throughout the house, always a concern for an in-the-round venue.

Crime and Punishment is a thinking person’s comedy, but don’t hold that against it.

Performs Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Parking is available throughout Balboa Park, and reserved parking with a shuttle to the theatres may be made when booking tickets. Call (619) 234-5623 for tickets, or send email to [email protected]. You may also book online, at



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The Old Globe
1363 Old Globe Way San Diego CA 92101 USA Work Phone: 619-23-Globe (234-5623) Website: The Old Globe website
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