Let's Talk Off Broadway

Yvonne Korshak reviews Off-Broadway, Broadway, Film and Art

Tag: Mint Theater Company

A. A. Milne and Christopher Robin Milne. Photo Howard Coster, half-plate film negative, 1926. rightsandimages@npg.org.uk

Review | The Lucky One | By A. A. Milne | Mint Theater Company | Directed by Jesse Marchese

… not so lucky … 

Set in a well-to-do English environment of the early twentieth century, The Lucky One is a story of two brothers:  Gerald (Robert David Grant), the younger, the parents’ favorite, is blithely successful at everything, from sports, to girl friends, to his big job in the foreign office.  Bob (Ari Brand), farmed out to a barrister’s office where he never should have been (but then, where should he be?), seethes with jealousy and bitterness.

And now the primal insult: Gerald has stolen Bob’s girl, Pamela (Paton Ashbrook).

Read More

Review | Fashions for Men by Ferenc Molnar | Directed by Davis McCallum | Mint Theater Company

 … back to Budapest with you! … 

I had the good luck to see Molnar’s Liliom recently off- off Broadway and it’s a marvelous play:  in its way as good as the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, Carousel, based on it.  So (though I admit the title struck me as a little silly) I was really keen to see another Molnar play. Molnar, a Hungarian, was after all among the most popular playwrights in Europe and America for much of the first half of the 20th century.

Read More

Review | London Wall by John Van Druten | Directed by Davis McCallum | Mint Theater Company

… from palace to office  …

In James Barrie’s  comedy The Twelve Pound Look of 1920, seen recently, a woman who boldly divorced her wealthy, aristocratic husband finds independence and contentment as a typist … but the entire play is set in the husband’s palatial home.  John Van Druten, eleven years later, thrusts us directly into the woman’s workplace:  we’re in the office in London Wall — with a great set by Marion Williams — and the play’s about the women and men who work there.  Amidst the file cabinets, desks and typewriters, we’re drawn into the lives of typists and clerks in a London barrister’s office, and what they face in finding love, off-hours entertainment, spiritual satisfaction and enough money to pay the rent.  What a difference in eleven years! 

Miss Pat Milligan is the newest and youngest of the typists who's set upon by the in-house skirt chaser, Mr. Brewer, the firm’s handsome, young lawyer.  The older and experienced Miss Janus warms Pat about him, but how can a pretty nineteen year-old girl, alone in the world and with a miniscule salary, resist the attentions of a charming professional man who wines and dines her?  Best of all — and what really gets her heart racing — Brewer takes her to the theater!

Through the lives in this busy, working office, Van Druten lets us see love in all its parts:  innocent, worldly, youthful, mature, young naïve, old naïve, heartbreaking and rewarding.  A strength of this play is its unobtrusive exploration of the several ages of women, but men, too are given their due, with the young clerk Birkenshaw and the elderly head of the firm, Mr. Wagner, rounding things out in terms of gender.

Two in this fine cast particularly capture the rapid-fire humor, and tossed-off ironies of 1930’s comedies, Stephen Plunkett as Mr. Brewer and Julia Coffey as the knowing but vulnerable Miss Janus.  Laurie Kennedy is amusing as the vague — but she knows perfectly well what she’s doing — elderly patron of the firm.

Jonathan Hogan is the firm's authoritative head, Mr. Walker, who has one foot in the old ways and the other stretching to take the big step forward, an early — and I'd bet influential — version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's King of Siam.  Old school while open to new realities, Walker struggles to cope fairly with that current huge challenge:  women in the office! 

One can see why the lusty Brewer sets his sights on the pretty Miss Pat Milligan:  Elise Kibler plays the part with charming sass but often speaks in a casually conversational tone, just above a whisper, without projecting her voice — a try at some some kind of naturalism but the upshot is you can't hear her.   

John Van Druten went on to write some of the finest, longest running, and most popular plays, in London and on Broadway, including  I Remember Mama, The Voice Of The Turtle, Bell, Book and Candle, and I Am A Camera;  and he also directed, and wrote for the movies.  He was a real theater man — no wonder Mr. Brewer is able to turn Miss Milligan's head by giving her the best kind of evening there is — by taking her to a play, probably one by John Van Druten.  Thanks to the Mint Theater for giving us the chance to see this enjoyable play — the best kind of evening there is!

London Wall plays at The Mint Theater, mid-town West in Manhattan, through April 14, 2014.  For information and tickets, click on live link of title.

Yvonne Korshak

Comments are very welcome.  Scroll down, click on "comments," write in comment box and click on "post."   Emails are private and never appear with comments.    

Review | A Little Journey by Rachel Crothers | Directed by Jackson Gay | Mint Theater Company

… All aboard …

A Little Journey is about what happens to a group of strangers back when travel across our broad United States meant a four-day train trip.  Who’d be sharing your Pullman “sleeper car”?  You never knew but by the end of the trip you were liable to know everyone really well.

Read More

Scott Barrow as a farmer in the neighborhood gets the treatment from Dr. Knock while Chris Nixon as his  friend looks on.  Photo: Richard Termine 

Review | Doctor Knock, Or the Triumph of Medicine by Jules Romains | Directed by Gus Kaikkonen | Mint Theater Company

… the best medicine …

Dr. Knock (the first K is pronounced as in Evel Knievel) probably doesn’t have a degree in medicine but that doesn’t stop him from practicing it.  This play is about a quack doctor but — most of all — it’s the study of a really terrific con man on the job.

As the play opens, Dr. Knock is taking over from Dr. Parpalaid whose provincial practice he’s purchased on an installment plan.  At first, the older Parpalaid seems to be taking advantage of this nice, new young man Knock by working out the payment schedule to his own advantage — a beautiful red herring since it’s nothing compared to the way Dr. Knock is going to con the world, or for starters the 2,000 souls in and around St. Maurice, France.

Read More

Review | The Widowing of Mrs. Holroyd by D. H. Lawrence | Directed by Stuart Howard | Mint Theater Company

The Widowing of Mrs. Holroyd is a three-act play by D. H. Lawrence about family and class tensions, and to my knowledge there’s not a more compelling production currently running in New York City.

Read More

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén