Picks and Pans Review: David
Early on in this gritty biblical drama, old King Saul orders his fiercest warrior, David: "Bring me the foreskins of 100 Philistines." Ouch. This production—heavy on impalements and stabbings—isn't circumspect about circumcision. David (Nathaniel Parker) returns triumphant with a bloodstained bag containing, he says, the foreskins of 200 Philistines. Talk about your classic overachiever. No wonder Saul (Evita's Jonathan Pryce) is homicidally jealous of his young protégé, whom the prophet Samuel (a Yoda-like Leonard Nimoy) has already anointed Saul's successor.
As king, David seduces Bathsheba (Twin Peaks' Sheryl Lee), the wife of one of his soldiers, whom he then arranges to have slain in battle. And that's just Part 1. Part 2 has David's son Absalom (Dominic Rowan) mounting a coup against his permissive father. It may sound like Melrose Place on the Jordan, but the performances are subdued, and the literate script by Larry Gross (48 Hrs.) is provocative enough to make you want to go back and read the Book.