Review: Clinging to ‘Articles of Faith’ After a Raging Fire


Some of the references are easy to spot, as when Ms. Hopkins impersonates Laurie Anderson’s trademark, dryly amused singsong, backed by washes of spacey synthesizer; like Ms. Anderson, she even uses a vocal filter for an occasional growly “voice of authority.”

Ms. Hopkins’s range of inspiration is wide and often unexpected, going from specific works (Geoff Sobelle’s play/installation “The Object Lesson,” Jérôme Bel’s dance piece “Gala”) to general personalities: She’s equally at ease with the educational approach of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Mister Rogers (in a particularly funny section that includes clips from the movies “Legal Eagles” and “Firestarter”), the cerebral quirkiness of David Byrne or Arlo Guthrie’s folksy storytelling. (The production moves smoothly, possibly thanks to Rebecca Wright’s “directorial consultation.”)

Yet we never lose sight of Ms. Hopkins’s own distinct personality, a mixture of winking elfin charm, dry humor and confessional openness, as she guides us through, among many other topics, the physics of fire, why the burned-down apartment was a hellhole and what happened to her cats.

This gives the show, which is dense with text and songs, a narrative backbone and a breezy feel — as does Mr. Sugg’s amicable, silent presence as he operates a computer in the background and occasionally lends a hand during scene changes. (He is never acknowledged as Ms. Hopkins’s husband.)

Part memoir, part tribute, part philosophical essay, “Articles of Faith” also acts as a public service announcement: After hearing what happened to Ms. Hopkins, you’re guaranteed to double-check your surge protectors after getting home.

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