A play with 66 scenes sounds like a marathon, but at the Charlestown Working Theater, Caryl Churchill’s “The After-Dinner Joke” whizzes by in 75 minutes.
Originally a TV drama aired on the BBC in 1978, this black comedy calls for a boatload of characters that include an Arab gardener, a guerrilla, a cowboy, a thief who robs a bank and runs along the roof of a train, a sheikh who buys Marks & Spencer, and a pop star who’s found Jesus but can’t keep 10-year-old girls from finding him. Whistler in the Dark manages with just five actors, though at times the multicasting stretches credibility. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.
Jeffrey Gantz can be reached at email@example.com.