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

Barrie’s Women

If only there were ten more theaters like the Pearl, New York would be in great shape.  Their most recent production, This Side of Neverland, combines two J.M. Barrie one-acts, “Rosalind” and “The Twelve Pound Look.”  Barrie was one of those authors, like Maurice Sendak, who understood that childhood is far more complicated and melancholy […]

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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

Speak the Speech, I Pray You

James DeVita is a smart, amiable, blue-collar guy from Long Island.  He was not a great high school student, and after graduation he decided to work on a boat—the sum total of his ambition up until that point.  But after three years, and after a particularly memorable night watching Ian McKellen in Acting Shakespeare, Mr. […]

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Reviews

A Laugh Riot at the Pearl

It is said that Pierre Beaumarchais’ The Marriage of Figaro foreshadowed the French Revolution—though Figaro (Sean McNall) is based on Brighella, a stock Commedia character, a servant who often outwits his master, Beaumarchais’ text is far more political and is packed with polemical monologues against social inequity.  “How came you to be rich and mighty, […]

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Reviews

More Melancholy Than Ten Hamlets is Pretty Damn Melancholy

Early in A Moon for the Misbegotten, Josie Hogan (Kim Marten-Cotten) describes the love of her life, Jim Tyrone (Andrew May), as “like a dead man walking slow behind his own coffin.”  This march towards the inevitable seems to make up the entire play, which follows characters who are obsessed with helping each other and […]

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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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