The Killing of Sister George OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Marielle Solan
  • NY TIMES

  • HUFFPOST

  • TIME OUT

  • NY OBSERVER

  • THEATRE IS EASY

Opening Night:
October 7, 2014
Closing:
November 1, 2014

Theater: Beckett Theatre / 410 West 42nd Street, New York, NY, 10036

Synopsis: 

To the world at large and even to herself, June Bunkridge IS Sister George beloved village nurse on "Applehurst", a popular BBC radio soap opera. But when radio executives decide to give ratings a boost by killing off her character, June's already precarious private life threatens to crumble exposing her as the gin swilling, cigar chomping tyrant she really is.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF The Killing of Sister George

    She Only Plays Nice ‘The Killing of Sister George,’ at the Beckett Theater

    Alexis Soloski

    October 7, 2014: Lindsay Lohan? A novice. Mel Gibson? A rank amateur. Charlie Sheen? O.K., he’s pretty expert. But when it comes to stars behaving badly, the award should go to June Buckridge, the antiheroine of Frank Marcus’s coal-black comedy of 1964, The Killing of Sister George, now being patchily revived by The Actors Company Theater. On the BBC’s bucolic radio serial “Applehurst,” June (Caitlin O’Connell) plays Sister George, the local nurse. She delivers the babies and looks after the old folk, always with a kind smile and a hummed hymn. But off the airwaves, in the London apartment that she shares with her childlike lover, Alice (Margot White), June is a cigar-chomping, gin-guzzling, nun-assaulting menace. And that’s on a good day. And those good days are numbered. Her first line: “They are going to murder me.” June herself is in no real danger, but she suspects that the BBC plans to kill off her character. She’s right. The writers have arranged for Sister George’s motorbike to collide with a 10-ton truck.

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  • HUFFINGTON POST REVIEW OF The Killing of Sister George

    First Nighter: Marcus's 'Killing of Sister George'

    David Finkle

    October 6, 2014: Context is everything. At least that's the impression I had on leaving The Actors Company Theatre revival of Frank Marcus's 1965 multiple prize-winning play, The Killing of Sister George, at the Beckett. It's the only explanation I could find for the production's seeming merely bizarre now since it had been so effective when it first played in London and then was transferred to Broadway in 1966 with original cast members, including Beryl Reid and Eileen Atkins. At the time its depiction of lesbian couple June Buckridge (Caitlin O'Connell here) and Alice "Childie" McNaught (Margot White), in a crisis also involving Mrs. Mercy Croft (Cynthia Harris), was groundbreaking, shocking. Yes, Lillian Hellman's The Children's Hour had preceded it, but Hellman had practiced prevalent 1930s discretion on introducing her drama of a closeted couple at a girls school.

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  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF The Killing of Sister George

    TACT/The Actors Company Theatre revives Frank Marcus's caustically sensationalistic 1964 English drama

    Christopher Kompanek

    October 6, 2014: Frank Marcus’s rarely performed, absurd and pitch-black The Killing of Sister George sits in an unsettling space between farce and drama, often compelling but unseasonably dry. The play depicts beloved BBC radio actor June Buckridge (played with steely fortitude by Caitlin O’Connell) in a volatile long-term relationship that vacillates between sadistic power play and downright abuse. Despite answering to her character’s name off-air, “George” is anything but the selfless nun she plays, and as her career becomes threatened by a drunken altercation, she veers even further from piety. Drew Barr’s sharp revival for TACT/The Actors Company Theatre mines the complexity of this schizoid character.

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  • NEW YORK OBSERVER REVIEW OF The Killing of Sister George

    ‘The Killing of Sister George,’ Now Revived Off Broadway, Has a Timeless Appeal

    Rex Reed

    October 7, 2014: If you were never lucky enough to see the late, great Beryl Reid in Frank Marcus’s fabulous play The Killing of Sister George, brandishing her brilliance over stunned audiences in London or on Broadway or in the 1969 movie version directed by Robert Aldrich, you have been a little poorer in life. That’s why very few people have ever attempted to revive it. Without Beryl Reid, so much is impossible to recreate, or literally preserve for posterity. But that doesn’t mean you’ve had your last chance to see this dynamic play in action. Thanks to the new off-Broadway revival by The Actors Company at the Beckett, director Drew Barr has done a credible job of bringing it back to life. Caitlin O’Connell is no Beryl Reid, but she’s a fine actress with a power of her own as the dethroned soap opera queen of the BBC radio.

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  • THEATRE IS EASY REVIEW OF The Killing of Sister George

    While this play is of interest from an LGBT-history perspective, TACT’s production may not satisfy those looking for a thrilling night of theatre

    Dan Dinero

    October 7, 2014: Anyone who has taken a course in the history of LGBT theatre or film has likely come across The Killing of Sister George. The 1968 film is probably the more famous, partly because of the “shocking” sex scene between two women that led to the film’s X-rating (and initial failure at the box office). TACT’s revival offers audiences the rare chance to see how Marcus’s play compares to the film (which has become something of a cult classic in the years since). Sister George is a much-loved character of a British radio show, a sweet-talking nun who dispenses folksy wisdom, whizzes around on her motorbike, and nurses everyone in the fictional village of Applehurst back to health. Yet George is played by the butch June Buckridge, a woman who drinks and talks like a sailor, smokes cigars, and lives with her younger “companion” Alice. As the play begins, George (Buckridge has so lost herself in this role that everyone calls her George) begins to fear that she will be killed off (of the show). While she is initially reassured by Mrs. Mercy Croft, an executive from the station who may have an agenda of her own, George becomes increasingly despondent at the thought of her “demise,” and as the play goes on, we see her relationship with Alice begin to deteriorate.

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