Time Out New York
August 10, 2005

In seven short years, Axis Company has become one of the brightest stars in the Off-Off Broadway firmament, its productions so consistently solid and interesting (albeit bizarre) that you almost feel confident recommending them sight unseen. The group's perennial summer offering, Hospital, is no exception.

Though dubbed a serial, apart from doctors, patients and needles, this Hospital has nothing in common with those on daytime soaps. It is written, acted and directed in Axis's house style, a rambling, psychotic aesthetic that recalls a Poe short story. The tall tale takes place in a dying man's brain during his last few minutes of life - a Beckettian conceit, filtered through the nightmarish lens of surrealism. In this year's series, the dying man (Brian Barnhart) is stricken with avian flu, so sinister bird symbols emerge at intervals as reminders that our protagonist's minutes are numbered. An introductory film of surprising slickness kicks off each episode, leaving you wondering how the producers of a 99-seat venue got their hands on a jumbo jetliner.

Potential viewers should know that Hospital is a serial in name only. This summer's four parts are neither consecutive nor chronological. More like pieces in a four-part painting, each can be viewed separately or contemplated in relation to the whole. Which is to say that missing some installments won't hamper your enjoyment of the equally weird episodes that remain.
—Trav S.D.

photo: Dixie Sheridan