Marriage is a centerpiece of George Bernard Shaw's 'Misalliance'
By Ted Otten | Trenton Times

In "Misalliance," George Bernard Shaw's delightful 1910 comedy now playing at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey through August 30, Shaw has his intriguing array of characters ask, in quite different ways, that question that Shaw's most famous character, linguist Professor Henry Higgins, repeats so often in "Pygmalion." They all want to know, "Why can't the English ...?"

Hypatia Tarleton (played by Katie Fabel), one of the more outspoken of Shaw's lineup of nine characters, complains that all anybody does at her father's grand county home in Hindhead is "talk, talk, talk, talk," but she proposes no solutions to remedy either the standards or the verbosity of her fellows. Click here to read more.

An Old, and Modern, Story: Looking at marriage and gender with Shaw's 'Misalliance'
By Anthony Stoeckert | Princeton Packet

When Ames Adamson got a call from director Stephen Brown-Fried about playing the role of John Tarleton in a production of George Bernard Shaw’s comedy Misalliance for the Shakespeare Theatre Jersey of New Jersey, he immediately said yes.

That quick answer didn’t come because he knew the role. He had worked in some Shaw plays before and had heard of Misalliance but didn’t know the play well. His reason for answering in the affirmative was pretty basic. Click here to read more.


By Ruth Ross | NJ Arts Maven

They may be called the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, but luckily for theatergoers, their dramatic scope extends beyond the Bard. This year, they've given us a comedy by George S. Kauffman and Edna Ferber, a riotous romp by the great Hungarian playwright Ferenc Molnár, and a silly romantic comedy by William Shakespeare—all in the space of just over two months!

As their fourth production of the 2015 season, the professional theater based on the campus of Drew University in Madison presents another comedy (does there seem to be a theme here?), this one by the great Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, Misalliance. In true Shavian fashion, he satirizes parenthood, marriage, the role of women, class, respectability (or the lack thereof), physical fitness and socialism—all to great comedic effect. Clocking in at two and three-quarter hours, the play, subtitled by Shaw A Debate in One Sitting, features sparkling performances, taut direction, witty repartee, lots of talk and bombast in spades. Click here to read more.

REVIEW: Misalliance
Picture Book Reviews

Misalliance takes place in the garden room at the estate of undergarment industry leader, John Tarleton (Ames Adamson) and his wife, Mrs. Tarleton (Erika Rolfsrud). Their daughter, Hypatia (Kate Fabel), is to be married to Bentley Summerhays (Matthew Sherbach), a man of small stature and childish behaviors, simply because there are no better opportunities and she is undeniably bored with life under the watch of her father. Bentley does not get along with Hypatia’s brother, Johnny (Brian Cade), who finds him to be nothing more than a pest. Early on it is revealed that Bentley’s father, Lord Summerhays (Jonathan Gillard Daly) had also proposed to her but he was shunned because he was too old for her taste. She thirsts for adventure and revels in the idea of romance, neither of which were viable options. But when a small plane crashes on the sprawling estate grounds, the pilot, Joey Percival (Robbie Simpson) and co-pilot, Lina Szczepanowska (Carolyn Kozlowski) survive and shake up dull estate living and restructure marital cores. Lina attracts the attention of all the men in the room while Hypatia sinks her mischievous talons into Joey at the witness of a young man, Julius Baker (Matt Kleckner), who exposes them for their misconduct after he attempted to murder John to avenge his dead mother for their previous affair.

An elaborate set depicting the estate consists of a well lit conservatory complete with Edwardian tile, large glass panes and hydrangea trees just outside. A small library on a second level, a writing desk and a wooden bar complete the grande, lavish feel of this turn of the century, aristocratic party. A Turkish wooden bath is used to conceal the gunman who is a spectator as Hypatia hunts down Joey in pursuit of romance. Click here to read more.

A CurtainUp New Jersey Review
By Simon Saltzman | CurtainUp

The capacity opening night audience at the Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey responded with well deserved enthusiasm to George Bernard Shaw's Misalliance.Although my own experience with this brilliantly witty farcical comedy includes a memory of a very fine Roundabout Theater production in the early 1980s, I know that I wasn't quite prepared to laugh so unashamedly aloud as I did watching this first-rate company go through their humorously executed pretentions and paces under the direction of STNJ's Artistic Associate Stephen Brown-Fried. Brown-Fried, who recently earned plaudits as the director of the National Asian American Theatre Company (NAATCO) production of Clifford Odet's Awake and Sing, has both cornered and captured the rascally heart of this irrevocably clever play.

Though not as popular or oft revived as his Pygmalion or Major Barbara , Misalliance , nevertheless, is populated with Shaw's most paradoxical characters. Their ideas about everything under the sun and their motives insure a physical as well as a verbal workout. There are, however, sporadic lags during the course of almost three hours spent in their company. This is especially true when the talky-testy characters appear to be enjoying the sound of their speechifying to the point of losing their point. Click here to read more.

Shaw’s “Misalliance” no misfire at Shakespeare of N J
By Philip Dorian | Scene on Stage

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) was a man of many words. His abundance of letters, critiques and essays on political and artistic issues of his day, as well as more than 60 plays, earned him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925.

With a few exceptions (“Arms and the Man” is one), his plays are not frequently mounted by producing companies, especially American ones. Audiences find many of them overly talky, with verbiage trumping action, even character, and some are heavily messaged, bordering on diatribe. The trick lies in showcasing the humanity and humor while adhering to Shaw’s style and points-of-view. Easier said than done. Click here to read more.

'Misalliance' explores gaps between the generations
By Karen Nowosad | Examiner

“Misalliance” opened on Saturday, Aug. 8, in Madison at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Written by playwright George Bernard Shaw, “Misalliance” explores the issue of the gap between the generations particularly between parents and their children. The play also looks at social issues faced by women and the basic societal roles that people assume in their lives. These are all weighty issues, but the play is a comedy and it makes its points through the clever, witty dialog written by Shaw and some over-the-top characters that he developed. In his Notes, Director Steven Brown-Fried mentioned the following quote that Shaw included in the preface when he wrote “Misalliance” regarding the gap between parents and children. Shaw wrote “on the subject of children, we are very deeply confused…If you must hold yourself up to your children as an object lesson (which is not at all necessary), hold yourself up as a warning and not an example.” George Bernard Shaw was very familiar with the issue of poor parenting. His father had a drinking problem and his mother left the family when he was sixteen to move to London to pursue a life with her singing teacher and lover. During “Misalliance,” the distance between parent and child feels particularly wide when the following is said by John Tarleton, a father of two grown children: “I tell you there’s a wall ten feet thick and ten miles high between parent and child.” Click here to read more.

MISALLIANCE at STNJ is a True Comic Delight for Theatergoers
By Marina Kennedy | Broadway World

Prepare to laugh out loud. A dynamic presentation of George Bernard Shaw's Misalliance is now at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (STNJ) through August 30th. Directed by Stephen Brown-Fried, the staging and tempo of the show is exceptional. The play has not been performed at STNJ for 40 years. Welcome this gem of a show to the Madison stage. Misalliance will top off your summer entertainment.

Misalliance takes place on a Saturday afternoon at home of Patriarch, John Tarleton, an undergarment entrepreneur, who lives with his wife and two adult children in their luxurious country estate. The arrival of unexpected guests makes for raucous scenes as the characters clash about the generational divide, social class and gender roles. Even though the play is set in the early 1900's, the themes continue to resonate today. Click here to read more.

‘Misalliance': A glimpse of the future, from 1910
By Jay Lustig | NJArts.net

George Bernard Shaw’s “Misalliance” is a feat of prophecy as much as it is a feat of playwriting. In this comedy, first performed in 1910, Shaw seems to see whole 20th century stretching out before him, and he’s staring at the 1960s in particular, with old-fashioned propriety tossed aside, formerly respected elders revealed as fools and women taking more control over their lives.

It’s a play about the thrilling chaos that ensues when people stop acting like they really believe the fragile lies they tell each other to keep society together, and start dealing with each other in a more honest way. You could almost use MTV’s slogan for its groundbreaking reality program, “The Real World”: In “Misalliance,” you “find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real.” Click here to read more.

'Misalliance' A Shaw comedy, brilliantly done by the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey
By Bob Brown | Princeton Packet

As summer wends its way slowly toward autumn, the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey presents George Barnard Shaw’s summer-house comedy Misalliance at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theater in Madison through Aug. 30.

This is Shaw at his most experimental, rummaging around in his attic of ideas and crusades, picking a bit of philosophy here, trying on a piece of social commentary there, and wrapping it in a light layer of farce. If you can’t get enough Shaw, this is for you. Be prepared to settle in for a tad under three hours. Click here to read more.

Laugh it up at Shakespeare Theatre
By C.W. Walker | Daily Record

The first sight that greets you at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s production of George Bernard Shaw’s “Misalliance” is a lovely Edwardian conservatory in summer. Brian Clinnin’s set design is simply gorgeous, all dark wicker and pale tile and wide expanses of glass with crepe myrtle blooming in the garden beyond.

This is the estate of John Tarleton in Surrey England, circa 1909. Tarleton made his fortune in underwear — corsets were big business back then — and now he’s entering retirement a wealthy man, although his very proper accent occasionally betrays just a hint of his more humble beginnings. Click here to read more.

A Review of ‘Misalliance’ at the Shakespeare Theater in Madison
By Michael Sommers | NY Times

The setting for “Misalliance,” which depicts an elegant conservatory in a baronial country house in England, may briefly mislead some theatergoers into expecting a genteel comedy. But its ever-devilish author, George Bernard Shaw, packs plenty of craziness into this 1909 play, now receiving a very smart revival by the Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey in Madison.

The play’s title and its opening circumstances suggest that the story will concern whether the pending marriage between a young aristocrat and the daughter of a millionaire manufacturer of underwear will be socially acceptable. Click here to read more.

Shaw’s “Misalliance”
By Sherri Rase | QOnStage

Have you ever gone to one of those weekends at someone’s summer house? You look around and see the same people you see at the club, the hunt, you know … then Something Happens and the entire world is different! Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey has created a beautiful new production of George Bernard Shaw’s “Misalliance” and the timing is as perfect as the ensemble.

The scene opens on the early 1900s version of disaffected twenty-somethings. While there is no tech in sight, there’s still that sense of feigned ennui in the first parries between Johnny Tarleton (Brian Cade), the scion of an undergarment magnate, and the old-money Bentley “Bunny” Summerhays (Matthew Sherbach), his sister’s louche sylph-like fiancé. Bunny is everything that Johnny is not–he’s poetic, and droll, and dancing just on the razor’s edge of foppishness. Johnny is tweedy four-square Englishman with all the self-assurance that youth wear like a mantle–until they see the world. Or the world comes to them. Click here to read more.

Superlative Production of Bernard Shaw's; Delightfully and Brilliantly Witty Misalliance
By Bob Rendell | Talkin Broadway

Hosannas are in order for the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey and its masterful production of Bernard Shaw's treasure trove of erudite delights, Misalliance.

Its setting is the conservatory of the Surrey, England home of the wealthy mercantile class family of John Tarleton on a Saturday afternoon in late May, 1909. The action of the two act play is continuous and in real time. Click here to read more.

‘Misalliance’ Captures Shaw’s Frenetic Take on Generational Clashes
By Liz Keill | Tap Into

MADISON, NJ – George Bernard Shaw’s invigorating and witty “Misalliance” is given a sterling production at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Directed by Stephen Brown-Fried, the cast more than lives up to the subtleties and demands of this outrageous, clever revelation on parental expectations and youthful rebellion. Hypatia Tarleton, in particular, is determined not to be an ordinary, conventional young woman. She teases her fiancé’s father, Lord Summerhays, (Jonathan Gillard Daly). Katie Fabel does a fetching, outspoken turn as the Tarleton daughter who won’t be tied down.

Her father, John Tarleton, a self-made man (who apparently made a fortune producing undergarments) is brilliantly captured by Ames Adamson. He’s gruff and excitable, at his wit’s end over his daughter’s daring do. But not so her mother, played with calm assurance by Erika Rolfsrud. She sees through all the shenanigans and isn’t at all surprised by her daughter’s fluctuating emotions. Click here to read more.

By Gretchen Van Benthuysen | Theatre Cues

You’ll laugh a lot, think a lot (but not too much) because all the wildly modern ideas expressed in George Bernard Shaw’s 1910 comedy “Misalliance” that were new then — equal rights for men and women, outrage over exploitation of the working classes, anger about the gap between rich and poor, exercise and healthy lifestyles — all are well established and accepted in 2015. Right? Click here to read more.

'Misalliance' is filled with wit and wisdom

What greets us when we first enter the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre to see George Bernard Shaw's "Misalliance" is the lovely sun-dappled Victorian conservatory designed by Brian Clinnin. It's a light, airy, charming space that promises to let the characters that the garrulous Irish playwright has created for the occasion, move and breathe.

At the start of the production, however, the play written some 114 years ago shows its age. There's little action and the air is stuffed with lots of talk, talk, talk, mostly of the old-fashioned exposition variety, and the actors play the characters as if they were stand-ins for the author, speaking the speeches he wrote trippingly on the tongue, with phony English accents, admirable vocal energy and no real personal connection to what they are saying. Anyway, that's how this "Misalliance" starts, but things do get better. Much better. Click here to read more.

Shaw’s analytical thinking blazes through “Misalliance”
By Ralph Malachowski | Out In Jersey

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is presenting George Bernard Shaw’s Misalliance. It is beautiful to look at, cast from strength, and awesomely intelligent.

When you Google the word “misalliance,” the definition “an unsuitable, unhappy, or unworkable alliance or marriage” appears. How apt that definition for this play.

Shaw brilliantly illustrates any variety of misalliances from marriage for all the wrong reasons: to social climbing; to the relationship of parents to children; to people who seem to think they are in love; to ageism, sexism, and feminism; to sweeping inconvenient truths under the carpet; even to what is important – or not – in life.Click here to read more.