Major Barbara OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Richard Termine
  • NY TIMES

  • TIME OUT

  • L&S AMERICA

  • S & C

  • FLAVORPILL

Opening Night:
November 4, 2014
Closing:
December 14, 2014

Theater: The Pearl Theater / 555 W 42nd St, New York, NY, 10036

Synopsis: 

When the charming weapons-manufacturer Andrew Undershaft goes toe-to-toe with his passionate daughter Barbara, a Major in the Salvation Army, over his “ill-gotten” fortune, it leads to the wager of the century. She is determined to save his soul—he is determined to open her eyes to a wider world. Their confrontation will knock their entire family’s moral compass up, down, and sideways, never to be the same again.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Major Barbara

    Looking Again at the Sins of the Father

    Alexis Soloski

    November 21, 2014: Inescapably playful and undeniably serious, George Bernard Shaw’s 1905 Major Barbara pits youth against age, poverty against wealth, faith against armored tanks. You might be surprised which side you ultimately take. In this Pearl Theater revival, directed by David Staller, the imperious Lady Britomart (Carol Schultz) decides to reunite her grown children with their estranged father, Andrew Undershaft (Dan Daily). A “manufacturer of mutilation and murder,” who has made millions selling battleships and cannons to anyone who wants to pay for them, he takes a particular shine to his eldest girl, Barbara (Hannah Cabell), a Salvation Army crusader. Their ideals seem at loggerheads, so he proposes a bargain: “If I go to see you tomorrow in your Salvation shelter, will you come the day after to see me in my cannon works?” “Take care,” she says. “It may end in your giving up the cannons for the sake of the Salvation Army.” Undershaft doubts it. Though right would seem to be all on his daughter’s side, Undershaft argues persuasively that instead of saving souls we might better devote ourselves to saving bodies.

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  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF Major Barbara

    Despite its fervent lead, this is minor Barbara

    Helen Shaw

    November 21, 2014: You don’t do Major Barbara until you’ve got your Barbara. Thank heaven and shake the tambourine, then: Hannah Cabell, an electric performer with an open, searching face, enlivens this revival of George Bernard Shaw’s 1905 “discussion in three acts.” She’s needed, too, as she pours evangelical heart into a work that’s been reduced, in the Pearl and Gingold Theatrical Group’s strangely inert co-production, to a dull example of boulevard fare. The show’s a Shaw persuasion-fest: Barbara Undershaft soldiers in the Salvation Army; her wealthy arms-manufacturer father (Dan Daily) dispatches souls the other way. Barbara’s beau, Adolphus (Richard Gallagher), makes a play for the family business, and…everyone talks everyone into everything.

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  • LIGHTING AND SOUND AMERICA REVIEW OF Major Barbara

    Theatre in Review: Major Barbara (The Pearl Theatre Company/Gingold Theatrical Group)

    David Barbour

    November 21, 2014: We live in an era of theatrical provocateurs, yet I submit that the most troubling production in town is the Pearl/Gingold revival of Major Barbara. George Bernard Shaw's parable of religion, poverty, and war challenges the audience with an argument that seems stunningly perverse until you begin to acknowledge that it contains more than a few grains of truth. Written well before World War I, it seems to predict that world-shattering conflict in uncanny fashion. Everywhere you look, the comedy is rich, authentic, and haunted by shadows. The title character is, of course, a young woman of good breeding -- she is the granddaughter of an earl -- who has chosen to join the Salvation Army. Touched by the love of God, Barbara is the ideal recruiter of souls, her face rapt with joy, her words brimming with energy; the way she explains it, Christianity is irresistible, the only sane road to happiness. As played by Hannah Cabell, who combines enormous personal magnetism with a powerful oratorical style, you may be tempted to sign up for the Lord yourself.

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  • STAGE AND CINEMA REVIEW OF Major Barbara

    MAJOR TO MINOR

    Dmitry Zvonkov

    November 21, 2014: The Pearl Theatre Company and Gingold Theatrical Group’s revival of George Bernard Shaw’s 1905 comedy Major Barbara feels like theater for people who go to shows for the same reasons many of us watch television programs—not because they’re great but because they’re good enough, occasionally entertaining, and it’s something to do. Not to trivialize—clearly a lot of effort went into putting this on. The production boasts capable actors, there’s a richness to the set and the costumes, and the source material is certainly first rate. In fact about half of this four scene offering is quite entertaining. The other half, not so much. Overall, the show lacks an essential spark. A major in the Salvation Army, Barbara (Hannah Cabell) is one of three adult children belonging to Lady Britomart (Carol Schultz) and Andrew Undershaft (Dan Daily), a wealthy and influential weapons manufacturer and absentee father who hasn’t seen his offspring in years. When he finally meets them he doesn’t think much of his mama’s-boy son Stephen (Alec Shaw), nor does he take much interest in Sarah (Becky Baumwoll), or her idiot fiancé Charles Lomax (Cary Donaldson). Given Barbara’s burning spirituality and iron character, Andrew likes and admires her instantly. He wants her to be on his side. The problem is her mission is helping the poor and saving their souls, and she finds his occupation and money detestable. She offers to save him from himself, to convert him, inviting him to a meeting at the Army. Andrew goes, but for his own reasons. Whereas Barbara wishes to save his soul, her irresistibly charming father wants to buy hers.

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  • FLAVORPILL REVIEW OF Major Barbara

    Review: Major Barbara

    Nicole Serratore

    November 17, 2014: “Well, my dear, I am a millionaire. That is my religion.” A rags-to-riches father and his riches-to-religion daughter are at odds with each other over their philosophies of the world in George Bernard Shaw’s 1905 play, Major Barbara, which explores questions of poverty, capitalism, religion, morality, and power. This production, directed by David Staller, at times is a thicket of Shaw’s heady ideas (and a bit dreary) but the action picks up in Act Two and feels a lot lighter and clearer. Barbara (Hannah Cabell) finds her calling as a Major in the Salvation Army where she spends her days fighting for the souls of the common man. With Barbara’s engagement to a poor Greek scholar, Adolphus (Richard Gallagher), her mother (Carol Schultz) decides it is high time her long-absent, millionaire father, Andrew Undershaft (Dan Daily), be contacted so he can provide for his children’s future. Andrew made his fortune in munitions and his high-minded children are not pleased to be involved with this “immoral” man. Andrew visits Barbara’s “salvation factory” and she visits his “death and destruction factory” and the beliefs of the entire family are shaken by these encounters.

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