Broadway Features and Reviews
Mary Stuart Conquers Broadway Critics
By Broadway Magazine Staff
The highly anticipated Broadway revival of Mary Stuart opened officially last night at the Broadhurst Theatre, starring Janet McTeer and Harriet Walter. Now, Broadway critics have voiced their opinion on the revival and declared the show one of the most successful productions of the season.
Praise has gone specifically to the powerful performances of McTeer and Walter. Costumes, direction, and the adaptation itself were also aspects of the production that earned high praise. The historical drama may have been written in 1800, but numerous critics commented on the relevance of the play to modern times, and all agree that the story itself is quite an engaging one. This production will likely figure strongly come Tony Award Season this Spring.
The acting, however, is properly timeless. McTeer is a thoroughly believable Mary: handsome, beautifully spoken, and almost acrobatically agile. Walter's Elizabeth shuttles provocatively between starchiness and giddiness, grandeur and ultimate forlornness. - John Simon, Bloomberg.
And, ah, the ultimate rub: They are "female kings," as Peter Oswald's juicy new adaptation of Schiller's German text has it, in a land where men are used to being governed only by men. - Ben Brantley, New York Times.
One of the master strokes of Lloyd's austere presentation is to costume rival monarchs Elizabeth (Harriet Walter) and Mary Stuart (Janet McTeer) in period dress, surrounded by men in contemporary suits. Their ranks may be elevated by bloodline and their current stations at opposite extremes, but these women are equally isolated and undermined in a world of scheming male bureaucrats. - David Rooney, Variety.
All the men wear contemporary suits and this year's striped regimental ties to brand them as timeless bureaucrats, whereas inspired set-and-costume-designer Anthony Ward keeps the three women -- including Mary's loyal nurse, Hanna Kennedy (Maria Tucci) -- in period clothes. - David Finkle, Theatermania.
The suspense is palpable despite the fact we know how the play will end. Credit director Phyllida Lloyd and adapter Peter Oswald, who have created a taut tale of political intrigue, a bruising contest in which the prize is England itself. - Michael Kuchwara, AP.
As adapted by Peter Oswald and directed with a contemporary angle by Phyllida Lloyd, this 18th-century chestnut set in the 16th century has the look and feel of the 21st. - David Sheward, Backstage.
This production was obviously shipped to New York following its London premiere to showcase the subtle, layered performances of its leading actresses. But whether audiences will also appreciate the rest of the play is questionable. - Matt Windman, am New York.
The talky first act is a long runup to a fictitious meeting between the queens, which comes after intermission and finally gets this potboiler bubbling. - Joe Dziemianowicz, New York Daily News.
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