Icebound OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Jacob J. Goldberg
  • NY TIMES

  • S & C

  • TALKIN' BWAY

  • CURTAIN UP

Opening Night:
September 19, 2014
Closing:
October 19, 2014

Theater: 37 Arts Theatre / 450 West 37th Street, New York, NY, 10018

Synopsis: 

When the cold matriarch of a rural Maine family dies, she leaves her fortune and estate to a grim step cousin, stranding her three grasping and entitled eldest children. To compound the injury, the new heiress refuses them any assistance, and she takes on as a hand the black sheep of the family: their ne'er-do-well brother on the run from the law. She proves a stern task-master; he a resentful partner, yet they begin to envision a better future in spite of themselves. But nature will out in a play that asks whether our habits and fears will always defy our highest aspirations.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Icebound

    The Weather Is Cold, the Feelings More So Owen Davis’s ‘Icebound’ Evokes All Kinds of Bitterness

    Anita Gates

    September 27, 2014: Families were bigger then, and so were the casts of plays. In Alex Roe’s fine revival of Icebound, the Metropolitan Playhouse’s cozy upstairs theater is crowded with members of the Jordan family: grim grown sons and daughters, a sour daughter-in-law and two annoying grandchildren, all waiting in the parlor for the matriarch to die offstage, and all talking about how they’ll spend her money. Owen Davis wrote Icebound, which won the 1923 Pulitzer Prize for drama, about small-town Maine, where he had grown up. The title refers to human emotions more than to bitter Northeastern winters, although one character does say, “Seems like laughter needs the sun the same way flowers do.” That’s Ben (Quinlan Corbett) speaking, the youngest child and so prodigal a son that he’ll be arrested as soon as law enforcement realizes he’s back in town. The only ray of warmth here is Jane (Olivia Killingsworth), a distant cousin who actually cares for — and about — the dying woman. When the local judge (Rob Skolits) reveals that everything (the house; the farm; the entire, considerable estate) has been bequeathed to Jane, the reactions of these good folk, who are better at Christian stoicism than at Christian love, are exactly what you’d expect.

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  • STAGE AND CINEMA REVIEW OF Icebound

    THE GOOD, THE LOST, AND THE VAIN

    Dmitry Zvonkov

    September 24, 2014: Owen Gould Davis, Sr.’s thoughtful and masterfully crafted 1923 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Icebound, which explores Puritan vanity and its many ironies, gets an admirable staging by Alex Roe and his all-around excellent cast at the Metropolitan Playhouse. Though not particularly startling or revolutionary, the show is good, solid theater—nearly flawless in fact—and deserves to be seen. Descendants of early New England settlers, the Jordan clan—Henry Jordan (Kelly King), his wife Emma (Maria Silverman) and her daughter Nettie (Michelle Geisler), Henry’s sister Sadie Fellows (Alyssa Simon), her son Orin (Connor Barth), the spinster Ella Jordan (Anne Bates), who is Henry and Sadie’s sister, and their young brother Ben (Quinlan Corbett), the black sheep of the family who is now a fugitive from the law—anxiously await the ascendance of their wealthy dying matriarch to the bosom of the Lord. (Additional cast members are Gregory Dann as the sheriff Jim Jay; Victor Barranca as Dr. Curtis; Sidney Fortner as Hannah; and Rob Skolits as the Judge.) Except for Ben and Nettie, all the Jordans are desperate to appear pious and modest and plain, lest the neighbors speak badly of them. In fact they are all greedy, heartless, weak little creatures just waiting for the old woman to croak so they can get all her money.

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  • TALKIN' BROADWAY REVIEW OF Icebound

    Icebound Theatre Review

    Howard Miller

    September 26, 2014: A trio of sour middle-aged siblings gathers in the parlor of the family homestead in northern Maine like “carrion crows around a sick cow in a pasture,” awaiting the death of their equally curmudgeonly mother and dreaming of getting hold of their inheritance, in the Metropolitan Playhouse’s production of Owen Davis’s 1923 Pulitzer Prize-winning play Icebound. Before the old lady breathes her last, the eldest son Henry (Kelly King) is jumping all over Judge Bradford (Rob Skolits), the keeper of the will, to find out who is getting what and to make sure their youngest and ne’er-do-well brother, Ben (Quinlan Corbett), a fugitive from justice, has been cut out so that Henry and his sisters Sadie (Alyssa Simon) and Ella (Anne Bates) won’t have to share a dime with him. The two sisters are also keen on dumping their distant cousin Jane (Olivia Killingsworth), who has been living in the house and serving as Mother’s caregiver for many years. But Mother has the last cackling laugh. She has left everything to Jane, with the proviso that she must commit herself to salvaging Ben, who has been hiding out to evade trial and probable imprisonment on charges of arson. Thereby hangs the tale, and the plot unfolds as Jane strives to fulfill her charge while holding the rest of the family at bay.

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  • CURTAIN UP REVIEW OF Icebound

    A CurtainUp Review Icebound

    Simon Saltzman

    September 26, 2014: A family of selfish, greedy, mean-spirited rural New Englanders are the core of Icebound the play by Owen Gould Davis, Jr. that received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1923. It is a fine, if not extraordinary play, in which dissension is created among the family awaiting the impending death of the matriarch and dealing the unexpected and unwelcome return of the estranged black sheep. This play was another leg up for Davis following his 1921 success on Broadway with Detour which was revived two years ago by the Metropolitan Playhouse).  Davis, who was officially done in 1923 with writing the hundreds of pot-boiling melodramas that had brought him great success and prosperity on the touring circuit, paints an almost Eugene O'Neillianesque portrait of swarming rural New England malcontents. High anxiety rules the roost, as the vultures sit around, gripe at each other and pretend to mourn even as they await hearing the contents of the will to be read by family friend and confidante Judge John Bradford (Rob Skolits).

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