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Britain’s longest-serving theater critic, Michael Billington of The Guardian newspaper, is famous for not lavishing praise on his subjects easily or often.

So when Billington tipped his hat to “Kafka’s Monkey” in a 2009 review — rhetorically asking, “Is there anything Kathryn Hunter can’t play?” — it was a sure sign that one of England’s leading actresses had done something special with her role as ape-man Red Peter in the production by Irish dramatist Colin Teevan.

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