November 19, 2015

Ignatius J. Reilly, the blimp-sized, eloquently imperious, gastrically challenged antihero of John Kennedy Toole’s long-celebrated 1980 novel “A Confederacy of Dunces” has at last made it to the stage, in the person of Nick Offerman, of “Parks and Recreation” fame, in an adaptation by Jeffrey Hatcher having its premiere at the Huntington Theater Company here. He is surrounded, as in the book, by the riotous assortment of fools and knaves gabbling, carping, sniping and generally distracting the great Ignatius from his monumental philosophical work, in which he will prove beyond doubt that civilization has been snowballing downhill since the Middle Ages. But perhaps inevitably, in clambering from the pages of Toole’s capacious book onto the Huntington stage, where the rigors of dramatic form can pinch, Ignatius and company seem to have lost some of their seedy, vicious charm, and Ignatius himself some of his unforgettable comic girth.