Strictly Dishonorable OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Leah Caddigan
  • Strictly Dishonorable
  • NY TIMES

  • HUFFPOST

  • TALKIN' BWAY

Opening Night:
July 22, 2014
Closing:
August 10, 2014

Theater: The Flea Theater / 41 White Street, New York, NY, 10013

Synopsis: 

Nearing last call in a Hell’s Kitchen Speakeasy, Gus and Isabelle fall in lust at first sight. Steeped in jazz and bathtub gin, the two cozy up while a cast of misfit barflies sway them away from scandal. In this romantic summer comedy, personalities, pratfalls, and peach schnapps collide, leaving two lovers trying to do the fun thing the honorable way.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Strictly Dishonorable

    Fast Talking and a Toast to Desire ‘Strictly Dishonorable,’ a Sexual Morality Tale

    Alexis Soloski

    July 27, 2014: Strictly Dishonorable, the 1929 Preston Sturges comedy revived by the Attic Theater, is an old-fashioned kind of show. You can tell right from its first scene when the speakeasy proprietor, Tomaso (Christopher Tocco), sprinkles bitters onto a sugar cube before adding whiskey, ice and a cherry. Just try and leave this charmer without a fondness for Sturges and a craving for a strong cocktail. A clever if ultimately conservative comedy of sexual morality, Strictly Dishonorable begins when the vivacious Isabelle (Keilly McQuail) and her stuffed-shirt fiancé, Henry (Thomas Christopher Matthews), venture into Tomaso’s saloon. Isabelle is eager; Henry is grouchy. After downing a few whiskeys, he becomes outright belligerent. Meanwhile, Isabelle has caught the eye of Gus (Michael Labbadia), a romantic tenor who picks up and discards women as though they were so much sheet music. It’s love at first sip. Or more likely just lust. When Henry is ejected from the bar, the virginal Isabelle agrees to shelter for the night in Gus’s apartment. His intentions toward her? Strictly dishonorable. Or so he believes.

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  • HUFFINGTON POST REVIEW OF Strictly Dishonorable

    Theater: Strictly Delightful 'Strictly Dishonorable'

    Michael Giltz

    July 27, 2014: The Attic Theater Company has revived Strictly Dishonorable with panache and it sure makes me hungry to see his other theatrical works too. Honestly, I only showed up out of polite interest as a Sturges fanatic, wondering if glimmers of his genius would be visible. Indeed, his sparkling, distinctive gift for dialogue and whiplash changes in emotion from sincere to silly are on full display. And from what I can tell by clips online, this production looks markedly better than the creaky 1931 film version and much, much better than the godawful 1951 remake starring Ezio Pinza and Janet Leigh. You'd be foolish to miss it. Set in a speak-easy in 1929, it begins with the Italian staff squabbling amongst themselves until their regular customer the Judge (John Robert Tillotson) ambles in for just one drink. Almost by accident, a couple of squares arrive, the prickly Henry Greene (Thomas Christopher Matthews) and his sweet, Southern, slightly put-upon fiancee Isabelle ((Keilly McQuail). He wants to leave immediately but she's eager to sample a speakeasy and surely none too eager to return to his mother-in-law in West Orange, New Jersey. (The play was written almost one hundred years ago and the jokes about Jersey are still getting laughs.)

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  • TALKIN' BROADWAY REVIEW OF Strictly Dishonorable

    Strictly Dishonorable Theatre Review

    Howard Miller

    July 26, 2014: Fans of classic romantic screwball comedy films like Preston Sturges’s The Lady Eve are well advised to make their way to The Flea Theater for the Attic Theater Company’s first-rate revival of Sturges’s Strictly Dishonorable, the 1929 hit play that skyrocketed the career of the soon-to-be Hollywood screenwriter and director. Strictly Dishonorable, with a brisk running time of two hours, could not be in better hands, from Laura Braza’s direction, to Travis Chinick’s period costumes, to the surprisingly (for an Off Off Broadway production) rich scenic design by Liz Sherrier, to the uniformly strong cast. Not to mention the sharp, smart, and well-crafted writing style for which Sturges would become famous.

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