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The New Morality

Members say: Clever, Delightful, Funny, Great acting, Entertaining
78
Critics
75
26 reviews
Members
82
22 reviews
 

The Mint, producer of "neglected plays," presents a light comedy; a memorable excursion aboard a houseboat on a fashionable reach of the Thames in 1911, the hottest summer on record.

... Read more

Betty Jones has been simmering for weeks, watching her husband make an ass of himself by paying excessive attention to their neighbor, Muriel Wister. Betty finally boils over and tells Muriel exactly what she thinks of her—using bad language. Muriel's husband, Mr. Wister attempts to apologize on behalf of his wife, but Betty absolutely refuses to oblige. The Mint Theatre Company has a mission of discovering forgotten gems, plays that have been rarely or never produced, and creating connections between the past and the present.

 

Cast & Creatives (14)


Reviews (48)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
75
Avg Score

80
BroadwayWorld

"A splendid and gracefully directed production is fully of subtle wit and progressive rumblings to go with its remarkably simple, yet for its time quite intriguing, plot...While the premise may not seem enough to fill out an evening, Chapin writes with extreme economy. The first act takes up hardly a half-hour and the next two are barely longer." Full Review

55
Theatermania

"'The New Morality' is honored with a lavishly crafted production...But the play itself leaves much to be desired...The wafer-thin 'New Morality' can hardly compare with the alternately funny and thought-provoking work of other playwrights from the time, like George Bernard Shaw. Perhaps that explains why it played for less than a month upon its first New York outing, and has remained on the shelves since." Full Review

75
The New York Times

"The writing is charming and finely observed, with only a tinge of must. The direction by Jonathan Bank, is appealing and apposite. The acting is adept...But ultimately the play isn’t especially high-proof, too tidy and conventional. The arguments about men and women and marriage seem intended to surprise; they don’t." Full Review

65
Time Out New York

"Like a flute of champagne left out in the sun, the vintage play 'The New Morality' (1911) starts off scintillating but ultimately falls flat...Even if the play itself has outlived its moment, the actors—including a superfluous solicitor and the requisite servants—are all excellent and very believably cast, as if plucked from an early 20th-century edition of 'The Tatler'...There are more tiresome places to spend a sultry day on the water." Full Review

70
New York Theater

"Unearthed by the indispensable Mint Theater, whose mission is to “excavate buried theatrical treasures, the play is being given the Mint’s usual quality production, with a pleasing set and costumes, and a capable seven-member cast... Still, for all the skill on display under the direction of Jonathan Bank, the Mint persuaded me only that 'The New Morality' is a rediscovered historical and anthropological treasure, not a theatrical one." Full Review

60
Lighting & Sound America

"The program notes for 'The New Morality' call it a 'tempest-in-a-teapot' comedy. I'm afraid that the tempest is barely a squall and the tea is exceptionally weak...Under Jonathan Bank's suave direction, 'The New Morality' has all the polish we've come to expect from Mint productions...But surely the Mint will soon find some light comedies with something more substantial to say." Full Review

65
Theatre's Leiter Side

"Chapin’s play is an Edwardian curiosity, something like a shaved-down Shavian comedy of aphorisms and ideas, their fragility becoming increasingly apparent over the course of three acts (with two intermissions)...The Mint’s discoveries are often worth resuscitating; despite its occasional pleasantries and historical interest, however, they should have let this sleeping play lie...Only a first-rate company could make this frothy material work, and the Mint’s, while competent, falls short." Full Review

70
The Huffington Post

"Truth to tell, were it not that the cast performs so stylishly, 'The New Morality' through the first two acts would seem terribly slight. But as Bank guides them and as Carisa Kelly dresses them, they prove that while gossamer is a fragile material, it can also be alluring." Full Review

95
Times Square Chronicles

"The revival of Harold Chapin’s 1911 play 'The New Morality' at The Mint Theater is a gem of a comedy. Delightful with every aspect, it is a shame the writer died at 29. Along the lines of a Noel Coward or Bernard Shaw, the dialogue is witty and fresh, the material interesting and the acting superb...I look forward to more of the Mint’s stellar performances." Full Review

80
CurtainUp

"While the play does have a Shavian flavor, even an inveterate restorer of rarely seen or under-appreciated plays like Bank hasn't been able to give this essentially slight play more than a very light touch of Shaw's social depth. But not to worry. True to its name, the Mint's productions are always first-rate and 'The New Morality' is no exception." Full Review

65
TheaterScene.net

"While Jonathan Bank’s production is elegant and polished, this diverting play unfortunately seems lightweight and thin today...The Mint Theater continues to present elegant and sophisticated revivals of forgotten plays from the turn of the last century. Jonathan Bank’s production of 'The New Morality' is no exception. While the comedy is certainly diverting, this does not seem to be a lost treasure like many of the plays that the Mint has uncovered." Full Review

90
Upstage-Downstage

"Under the direction of the company’s smart and sharply focused producing artistic director Jonathan Bank, the cast is uniformly strong, with Mr. Noyes giving a stellar performance as the fumbling yet ultimately insightful Teddy. With 'The New Morality,' the Mint once again shows just what you can do when you scour that old 'dramaturgical dustbin.'" Full Review

85
Woman Around Town

"A rollicking, genteel good time. Director Jonathan Bank keeps the pace crisp finding humor in dead pan timing, Alice’s nuanced reactions, and Teddy’s physicality. A few idiosyncratic characteristics would’ve better defined the others. Production values are, as ever at this theater, top notch." Full Review

80
Wolf Entertainment Guide

"The Mint’s production demonstrates Chapin’s flair for character creation, witty dialogue and an awareness of the changing role for women in their effort to assert themselves more forcefully in a world dominated by men...A gentle play that builds to expression of its key viewpoints in the third act. Its trajectory is seductive little by little, with a methodical progression, abetted by a style of avoiding flamboyance and reliance instead on witty discourse." Full Review

85
DC Metro Theater Arts

"It’s not a major play, but it certainly exemplifies a style of writing once fashionable, now long gone. 'The New Morality' is crafty, well constructed, and a fine example of a period in theatre when words mattered and actors were trained to deliver them on a silver platter." Full Review

80
NY Theatre Guide

"The cast expertly crafts a world on the brink of change delivering elegant performances with great attention to detail of accent, physicality and class...Jonathan Bank has directed a perfect 'snapshot' of the time, orchestrating fine tuned performances and placing us at the dinner table on the deck of the Hyacinth to witness a heat wave of satirical high comedy." Full Review

75
Theater Pizzazz

"The cast effectively paints a nuanced portrait of the times. Meaney expressively adds a wry spark behind Betty’s languor. As Ivor Jones, Michael Frederic is the portrait of an behind-the-times Edwardian Colonel. As Muriel’s clueless but sensitive husband, Ned Noyes rules the strong Act III. Directed by Jonathan Bank, the play runs a leisurely course in three acts. Steven Kemp designed a well-detailed feminine bedroom." Full Review

40
Village Voice

"'New' is a relative term in the case of Harold Chapin's 1911 comedy of manners, 'The New Morality,' whose ethical quandaries must have felt old a century ago. This tale of cranky aristocrats in houseboats offers intermittent pleasures, if few provocations to anyone's moral code...Reviving underproduced drama — the Mint's specialty — can be exciting, but it helps if the old material has the substance to challenge us anew." Full Review

70
TheaterScene.com

"We know we’re in good hands with director Jonathan Bank, an old master at capturing the poise and genteel stage rhythms of a century ago...And with three acts ranging from 25 to 35 minutes, 'The New Morality' doesn’t wear out its welcome...The talk’s smart and swift, the characters compelling enough...But try and boil Chapin’s philosophy down, and you’ll be frustrated. He waxes eloquent on the battles of the sexes, but really, his point remains elusive." Full Review

90
What's On Off Broadway

"'The New Morality' is directed by Jonathan Bank with a surprising ease. It sparkles like a Noel Coward movie from the 1930’s, a time when wit depending on intellect and charm. That Mr. Bank has pulled it off one hundred years later is genius. That it occurs in the intimate space of the Mint Theater is a charm." Full Review

70
Stage Buddy

"Director Jonathan Banks and his cast have likely done all the right things to embody the playwright’s vision of the characters. However, those characters come off as a fairly unpleasant lot. Meaney’s Betty takes a smug delight in her own outrageousness, seldom showing concern that the stakes for her in the case are quite high. Frederic’s Ivor often seems a bundle of slow burns. You almost expect to see clouds of steam blast out of his ears." Full Review

85
Show Showdown

"'The New Morality' is a fast-moving 1:50 that goes down like cotton candy...Director Jonathan Bank's work is my favorite sort of direction: all decisions are made in honor of the play... Plays like 'The New Morality' aren't written anymore, but they have much to offer and should be seen. So, once again, thanks to the invaluable Mint." Full Review

80
Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"Despite the play’s constraints of time and space, Harold Chapin’s script never feels stilted or expository. Comic tension rarely lags and the humor is character-driven, lending the story a freshness that transcends its period. Director Jonathan Bank moves his baton at the right speed: brisk, but not rushed." Full Review

90
Our Theater Blog

"Watching Noyes’ Teddy spontaneously combust while 'in his cups' is one of the many pleasures 'The New Morality' affords...The acting, with Jonathan Bank’s tender mercies as director, is perfect. The ensemble are all excellent and accomplished." Full Review

90
Talkin' Broadway

"Anyone who has had the pleasure of seeing any production of the Mint Theater Company will not be surprised to hear that artistic director Jonathan Bank and his colleagues have done very, very right by 'The New Morality'...Jonathan Bank’s direction is well-nigh pitch perfect, though I’ll admit I wasn’t sure about that at first...That said, if the production is flawed in any respect, it’s a miscalculation on the part of lighting." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
82
Avg Score

95
Funny, Clever, Delightful

See it if you want to see a deliciously funny British show that has themes we can all relate to.

Don't see it if n/a - closed

Also I wrote one word on the playbill when I saw this show in Oct 2015 - "E... Read more Read less

72
Delightful, Great acting, Refreshing, Not too heavy

See it if A beautiful piece that was thoroughly enjoyable.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy matters of social status.

75
Funny, Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if You like 1930's-1940's movies full of wit and banter about morality that touch on gender roles. You like drawing room plays performed well.

Don't see it if you don't want to see a slight play extended with two intermissions so they can change the set over. The show was good but it still dragged.

98
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Masterful, Profound, Great writing

See it if you like slow moving plays based on great dialog

Don't see it if you find British Accents difficult

65
Clever, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Slow

See it if you want to see a strong feminist play of which the themes are still relevant.

Don't see it if You don't like the slow burn of a plot or multiple monologues.

50
Entertaining

See it if Like comedies about social mores

Don't see it if Dislike the above

92
Funny, Clever, Intelligent

See it if You like classic English humor and good dialogue.

Don't see it if You can't appreciate period pieces or monologues about morality and old school ethics.

60
Great acting, Overrated, Slow, Dated, Dialogue heavy

See it if you like period dialogue, sets, and costumes. It's extremely dialogue heavy with comedic moments. 3 short acts with 2 10 min intermissions.

Don't see it if you can't understand British accents. you want something modern. you want to be challenged, you want to think.

80
Clever, Entertaining

See it if you like older stories.

Don't see it if you don't like plays for the 1920's.

55
Thought-provoking, Quirky, Confusing, Dated, Uneven

See it if you enjoy museum pieces. Acting is uneven with Ned Noyes a comic stand out. Other performances lack his heart and specificity of character.

Don't see it if the argument of the play is hard to follow I'm afraid.

72
Clever, Relevant, Dated

See it if you have a thing for ladies with Bernadette Peters hair, you dig good production design and period costumes, you like a battle of the sexes

Don't see it if You need a lot of action, you hate British accents and slightly pretentious folks, you have bad childhood memories of time spent on lakes

86
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Resonant, Great writing

See it if you enjoy relationship topics, appreciate great acting, and want to see something that makes you think.

Don't see it if you don't like long, preachy monologues and prefer more contemporary theater.

96
Funny, Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if You want to see a really fun play with great writing, acting, and set design and want to spend time on a house boat with some cheeky people!

Don't see it if You prefer musicals and contemporary stories/settings.

80
Funny, Delightful, Great acting, Entertaining, Fun

See it if you want to see the one of the funniest early 20th century, Hugh Grant-esque drunken rants of all time + great production values & acting.

Don't see it if you can't get into the time period. The scandal of calling your neighbor a bad name doesn't really hold the same weight in 2015.

97
During previews
Funny, Clever, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great writing

See it if You enjoy witty comedies that are set in the past, yet are very relevant to today.

Don't see it if you do not like intelligent theatre.

100
During previews
Funny, Clever, Delightful, Great acting

See it if Witty, funny well acted & directed. See it if you a are a theater lover.An old play by a great playwright and timely today as it was then.

Don't see it if I have nothing to say

90
During previews
Funny, Clever, Delightful, Intelligent, Entertaining

See it if You like British humor

Don't see it if Think only raunchy things are funny

85
During previews
Delightful, Enchanting, Intelligent, Romantic, Hilarious

See it if you like Mint Theater and the kinds of plays they produce, i.e. old fashioned, literate, well-made plays from the past.

Don't see it if you only want cutting-edge productions and plays.

95
During previews
Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if you like witty comedies of manners, with terrific acting, clever sets, and something to think about after you stop laughing (a lot).

Don't see it if you automatically think anything written before last week is dated.

95
During previews
Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Smiles on the way home!

See it if you like fast paced, quick humor, well-acted, not a weak link in the chain. Not to miss; laughter all around; another gem at the Mint

Don't see it if . . . you tend to wet your pants when you laugh!

95
During previews
Delightful, Exquisite, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you love the craft as well as the art of theater. This is meticulously staged and acted. And this play has relevance and depth for us today.

Don't see it if a night at the theater for you means easy tunes and ear-splitting sound systems.

95
During previews
Funny, Delightful, Great acting, Intelligent, Entertaining

See it if You like period plays that mean something today.

Don't see it if You don't like theater at all.