Reviews

Things Dying and Newborn

When Peter Francis James, who plays Leontes in the Pearl’s current revival of The Winter’s Tale, says the word “issue,” he pronounces it as if the first syllable rhymed with with piss instead of dish.  Or, perhaps more appropriately, as if it rhymed with hiss.  Thus, he virtually spits at Antigonus (Dominic Cuskern) of the child he presumes to be […]

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Reviews

The Days Are Getting Shorter

Fall has come and all of New York’s institutions are waking from their summer slumber, including the Pearl Theatre, the best revival company in the city.  They are opening their 2014-15 season with Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, a chronicle of old, disappointed Russians who have been doing nothing but “talking and talking for the last fifty years.”  The […]

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Reviews

O Brave New Word

To call Terrence McNally’s delightful And Away We Go a love letter to the theater would be to do it a disservice, since that would be to offer a cliché before a work that is anything but ordinary.  Granted, one could easily imagine how this play could go wrong: set backstage, it travels in time […]

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Reviews

C’est la Vie, Say the Old Folks

George Bernard Shaw is at his best when he doesn’t take his social mission too seriously, when he is upending gender and class norms like a merry prankster instead of a dogmatic moralist.  Thus, a line like, “Women have to unlearn the false good manners of their slavery before they acquire the genuine good manners […]

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Reviews

Hey, Ho, the Wind and the Rain

Last season, the Pearl produced an excellent Richard II, and this year they are continuing the Henriad with an admirable Henry IV, Part 1.  Shakespeare’s histories have never interested me as much as his comedies and tragedies, but Henry IV blurs all three genres and, through Falstaff (Dan Daily), becomes a kind of historical tragicomedy, […]

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Reviews

The Pearl Theatre Knows How to Philander

In a 1930 introduction to The Philanderer, George Bernard Shaw writes, “There is a disease to which plays as well as men become liable with advancing years.  In men it is called doting, in plays dating.  The more topical the play the more it dates.  The Philanderer suffers from this complaint.”  Reading it, one might be inclined to […]

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Reviews

Richard II at the Pearl Theatre

Walter Pater once wrote, “Shakespeare’s kings are not, nor are meant to be, great men,” something that is deeply understood by director J.R. Sullivan in his new production of Richard II at the Pearl Theatre.  Sean McNall, playing the title role, presents both a physically and politically diminutive figure: slim, pale, and sickly looking—a kind of deflated […]

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