Review Roundup: PARTNERSHIP at the Mint Theater Company

Partnership runs through November 12th at Theatre Row.

By: Oct. 20, 2023
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Review Roundup: PARTNERSHIP at the Mint Theater Company
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Mint Theater Company just celebrated opening night of the American Premiere of Elizabeth Baker’s PartnershipJackson Grace Gay (Mint’s A Little Journey) directs a cast that features Gina DanielsJoshua EchebiriGene Gillette,  Olivia Gilliatt,  Sara Haider,  Christiane NollTom Patterson, and Madeline Seidman.

Like Baker’s Chains, Partnership is a story of yearning for more, but wrapped in the pink charmeuse of light comedy. Kate Rolling owns a small but very smart shop in Brighton and is eager to grow. When George Pillatt, owner of the biggest shop in Brighton, proposes a merger on favorable terms — including matrimony — Kate sees an irresistible business opportunity. “Oh, don't worry about me,” Kate assures her colleagues, “I never expected anything great in the way of love.” But isn’t romance most likely when it’s least expected?  

Review Roundup: PARTNERSHIP at the Mint Theater Company Charles Isherwood, Wall Street Journal: The contours of Kate’s evolution, as sharp edges are softened by the awakening of feelings new to her, dates back at least to Shakespeare’s Beatrice and Katherina. But Baker renews the theme for the early 20th century with perspicacity and humor. And the cast, under the brisk direction of Jackson Grace Gay, brings lively coloring to all the characters, with the bracingly cynical, or perhaps just realistic, Maisie bringing a crisply funny snap to the play’s nicely turned denouement.

Review Roundup: PARTNERSHIP at the Mint Theater Company Roma Torre, New York Stage Review: The perspectives in this play could only come from a woman. And considering how rare it is to experience dramatic works from female writers during the period, the Mint is giving us quite a treat. Baker’s nuanced characters and prescient themes offer unique insights to the past as well as our present. There’s a line in the play in which a wise woman exclaims “Why aren’t women satisfied to be women!” The sad truth is that in order to succeed, they needed to be more like men. The sadder truth is that after 106 years, we still have to ask that question.

Review Roundup: PARTNERSHIP at the Mint Theater Company Melissa Rose Bernardo, New York Stage Review: Directed by Jackson Grace Gay, this Partnership simply doesn’t meet the Mint’s usual high standards. (And I’m not talking about the blatantly obvious stick-on mustache. Although…) It boils down to a glaring lack of chemistry between Haider and Echebiri. And Echebiri’s Fawcett never seems excited by anything, not even his supposedly prized springtime miles-long walks and hillside excursions. (He’s the only character in the play who believes in work-life balance.) So when Kate starts cutting work, forgetting appointments, and prioritizing pleasure over business—taking a mid-morning boat trip instead of doing a fitting with the uppity but influential Lady Smith-Carr-Smith (Christiane Noll, looking splendid in Kindall Almond’s over-the-top frocks)—we can’t help but wonder why? What does she see in him that makes it worth risking her reputation as a businesswoman? “If I choose to lose my clients that is my affair,” Kate shrugs. Maisie is incredulous, and she’s not the only one. Snap out of it, girl!

Review Roundup: PARTNERSHIP at the Mint Theater Company Bill Canacci, Overall, the audience did not seem overly impressed: There was courtesy clapping at the end of Act I, and the applause only slightly increased in Act II. When it was over, there was sustained appreciation. This kind of period piece just does not warrant a rousing standing ovation.

Average Rating: 67.5%

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