I liked the lead actor in the role of Dali. He was consistently funny, both in his physical comedy and his delivery of dialogue. I wish more of the cast had matched his energy.
What I didn't like
A lot of the issues do seem to go back to the script, which could definitely use some tightening. There’s a fine line between absurd and nonsensical and this show could use a little bit more of the former.
The mix of accents among the cast was distracting, but would have been forgivable if they’d been able to bring their characters more into focus. Many of them were having issues with lines and the pace was too scattershot in what seemed like it should have been a fast-paced comedy.
There were so many elements that felt vestigial, like the young version of Dali that opens the show, but doesn’t seem to have any bearing on the story or our understanding of Dali as a character.
Because so many of the characters are well-known historical figures, the takes on Marilyn Monroe and Andy Warhol were particularly confusing as they bore so little resemblance to the behavior of the real people. It would have been nice to see the writer and cast better channel the essence of these iconic figures.
Lastly, it seemed strange that none of the artwork in the show is actually by Dali. All the images are either inspired by his work or weird Photoshop pop-culture mash-ups that reference things outside the period of the story (like Gremlins and Monsters Inc.). I don’t know if there is a legal reason they couldn’t use Dali’s work, but the paintings they did choose are a distraction.
My overall impression
As a fan of absurdist comedy and Salvador Dali, I really wanted to like this show. “The Trial of Dali” is an ambitious but unfocused dramatization of an ordeal from the life of the famous Spanish surrealist painter that failed to coalesce into the mad cap farce it was meant to be – at least during the performance I saw.