Review Roundup: THE TESTAMENT OF MARY Opens on Broadway - All the Reviews!
Award-winning stage and screen actress Fiona Shaw returns to Broadway tonight, April 22, for the opening of The Testament of Mary, by the acclaimed author Colm Tóibín, directed by Deborah Warner. The production will run for a twelve-week limited engagement through Sunday, June 16, at the Walter Kerr Theatre.
In The The Testament of Mary the mother of Jesus tells her story of her son's Crucifixion. This historic collaboration between actress Fiona Shaw and director Deborah Warner results in the creation, for the first time, of a new work for Broadway, written by acclaimed author Colm Tóibín.
The Testament of Mary has scenery designed by Tom Pye, costume designed by Ann Roth, lighting designed by Jennifer Tipton and original music and sound designed by Mel Mercier.
Let's see what the critics had to say...
Ben Brantley, The New York Times: Long before that moment of confrontational nudity, you will have probably surmised that Ms. Warner is going to err on the side of literal-mindedness...There are moments in "Testament" that demonstrate that Ms. Shaw's abilities to command as an actress have only grown...This Mary is an ordinary woman of her day, forced against her will into a role in history she never sought or wanted. Ms. Shaw gives us that woman, for sure... But if you're going to give us a vision of Mary as we've never seen her, why would you block the view?...I was never happier - or more harrowed - than in those rare quiet, contained moments when this Mary made us feel that we were in a private tête-à-tête with a woman who had an extraordinary story to tell, and needed to keep telling it, forever and ever.
Elysa Gardner, USA Today: Still, for anyone who's curious about its subject -- believers and non-believers alike --Testament offers an intriguing, and deeply compassionate, account.
Terry Teachout, The Wall Street Journal: Ms. Shaw is, of course, a great actor-I have deeply etched memories of the avant-garde "Medea" that she brought to Broadway in 2002-but she mostly settles for generalized mannerism in "The Testament of Mary," though her performance is both specific and memorable whenever she modulates out of the key of outrage and slips into something less obvious. (The quiet awe with which she describes the raising of Lazarus, for instance, is breathtaking.) As for Deborah Warner's portentous staging, it's a visually static catalog of stock postmodern effects that are already looking a bit quaint. If any of them surprise you, then you don't get out enough.
Mark Kennedy, Associated Press: In a gentle Irish accent, Shaw is at turns mournful and at others table-flipping angry. Director Deborah Warner, a frequent Shaw collaborator, puts the actress on the constant move...This Mary is prone to menacing anger and sharp screams, suffering from simmering trauma and guilt...In a season of one-man shows on Broadway...Shaw may have one of the more controversial, rolling her eyes at apostles and dismissing them as if they were weirdoes her son met smoking funny cigarettes at Bonnaroo. She also must reveal a mother's horrific anguish at watching the brutal death of her son. Shaw is up to the task for both, even if the production seems littered with half-baked ideas.
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter: A dense, boldly unorthodox piece for risk-averse Broadway, it has been directed with transfixing focus by Deborah Warner, whose frequent collaborations with Shaw go back 25 years...[Shaw's] Mary is haunted, scornful, a hardened skeptic as uncompromisingly judgmental with herself as she is with others. She also has the manic energy of a woman whose refusal of the comforts of sleep - and more pointedly, the healing balm of dreams - has taken her beyond fatigue...Provocative as much of the content is, Toibin is not doing anything so blunt as a revisionist interpretation of the Scriptures. He is undertaking a nuanced psychological exploration of a figure whose nobility is due in part to her eternal silence, rendering her instead here as a woman who will not be silenced.