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CANDIDA OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS
Opening Night: March 8, 2010
NEW YORK CALLING THEATER
Synopsis: George Bernard Shaw’s classic play tells the story of Candida, a beautiful vivacious woman forced to make a choice between the two men in her life. Candida is comfortably married to the popular charismatic pastor, the Reverend James Morell, when Marchbanks, a young poet enters their home and a passionate romantic triangle unfolds. In this exuberant romantic comedy, (Shaw’s own favorite) questions of love, loyalty, and what constitutes a conventional marriage are explored in a brilliant fusion of words, laughter, and tears.
NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW:
"Melissa Errico’s formidable beauty is probably the most persuasive element in the Irish Repertory Theater’s revival of George Bernard Shaw’s breakthrough comedy “Candida.” It does not require the suspension of any disbelief whatsoever to imagine that Ms. Errico’s naturally Victorian gorgeousness — pure white skin, rosebud lips, luxurious tresses, nipped waist and shapely curves — would inspire adoration in men of any number of ages and philosophies. Unfortunately little else in this alternately sluggish and overwrought revival is equally convincing."
"After its stunning presentation of The Emperor Jones, followed by a charming revival of Ernest in Love, The Irish Rep's lavish and loving presentation of George Bernard Shaw's Candida makes this one of the company's most winning seasons in a very long time. "
"The Irish Rep's revival of Shaw's "Candida" is best when it's least serious. When Ciaran O'Reilly's fire-and-brimstone preacher is arguing with Sam Underwood's impassioned poet, the play feels dated and ham-handed. But in the show's supporting roles, thesps Josh Grisetti, Xanthe Elbrick and Brian Murray bring their meager sections of the script to warm, funny life until the play's central storyline extinguishes them. Less general direction from helmer Tony Walton might have helped, but against recent revivals like the Pearl's "Misalliance," "Candida" feels like a minor curiosity."
"Of all of George Bernard Shaw's many witty and wonderful plays, "Candida" (1898) is revived the least often these days, perhaps because it's best known as a star vehicle for the sort of glamorous dramatic diva that no longer exists. Katharine Cornell—considered, along with Helen Hayes, as one of the first ladies of the American theater in the 1930s and '40s—headlined five Broadway productions of the play, one of which featured the young Marlon Brando as the sensitive poet Marchbanks, before he tackled his polar opposite, the brutish Stanley Kowalski in "A Streetcar Named Desire." Joanne Woodward and Mary Steenburgen starred in revivals for Circle in the Square in 1981 and Roundabout in 1993, respectively. It's a shame we haven't seen this scintillating comedy in New York in more than 15 years. It displays a gentler side of Shaw's razor-sharp mind, as he pits the robust moralistic minister Morrell against the passionate milksop Marchbanks in a battle for the affections of the title character, Morrell's wife. Shaw takes the romantic-triangle plot—the basis for hundreds of hackneyed melodramas—and uses it to consider the true nature of marriage: what women really want from men and vice versa."
"As usual, George Bernard Shaw was ahead of his time with his sharp observations in “Candida,” set in 1894 suburban London, about the strength of women in marriage despite the illusion of men that they are protectors calling all the shots. As dramatized by Shaw, Candida, with her beauty and clarity really has been presiding over her needy husband who thinks he has been the one in control. All of this plays out beautifully in the second act of the revival offered by the Irish Repertory Theatre under the direction of Tony Walton, who also cleverly designed the solid-looking home setting with maximum use of the theater’s tiny stage. "
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