Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Entertaining, Enchanting
About the Show
R&R Productions presents a new, one-woman history play about the legend of police officer Mary Shanley: a trail blazer, a maverick, and a true New York original.
A pioneer for females in law enforcement, Mary Shanley joined the NYPD in 1931, quickly becoming a Gotham all-star and tabloid sensation. Making a staggering 1,000 career arrests, she became the fourth woman in history to make Detective First Grade—and then nearly lost it all.
"Rachel McPhee, who plays Ms. Shanley in this solo show, is very personable and entertainingly physical. Her chosen accent, though, is strangely focused on one vowel sound: the one in goil...The script gives us only the outline of a life...If only the playwright or Stephen Kaliski, the director, could help us know whether we’re meant to feel sorry for Ms. Shanley as a lonely victim of sexism and for working undercover, or happy that she’s so darned good at her job."
"The idea of Shanley as a feminist pioneer who pays the price for independence would have gotten more traction if she were a more compelling character. Benson's portrait tends toward the maudlin...Rachel McPhee does her level best to endow Mary with plenty of New York attitude in a performance that, under the direction of Stephen Kaliski, may be scaled a little too broadly for the theatre's tiny footprint...'Dead Shot Mary' aims and misses the mark."
"The playwright has done a splendid job of capturing her life, and Ms. McPhee's performance is spot-on, including the perfectly intoned New York City working class speech patterns and rhythms she uses. Under Stephen Kaliski's direction, she is constantly in motion, taking us with her as she reenacts some of her exploits...All of the elements come together to paint a perfect portrait of this ordinary and yet remarkable woman."
“This one-woman show provides a thorough
picture of what the police force was like back in the 1930’s and what was
expected from the officers. Rachel McPhee delivers a captivating and heartfelt
performance. She is candid and comical in her accounts of life as an undercover cop,
having to camouflage her greatest
accessory – her gun – when she was on assignment. Required to use
her wit, intelligence, and resilience while on the job, Shanley made over
1,000 arrests in her 30-year career, a staggering record.”
"The captivating and must-see life story of a New York hero you’ve never heard of...Performed with finespun gusto by Rachel McPhee...There are moments when Shanley feels a bit cartoonish, but McPhee's performance is so delightful minor faults are easy to forgive...Kaliski makes wonderful use of the stage and of Kyu Shin's set design...'Dead Shot Mary' is a must-see for history buffs and gender studies experts alike."
"Attention Acting Aficionados: Hie yourselves to The Bridge Theatre at Shetler Studios to see 'Dead Shot Mary.' Rachel McPhee’s bravura performance as Mary is not to be missed...The innovative play was written by Robert K. Benson; the skillful director is Stephen Kaliski...There’s no explanation as to why she doesn’t connect with other people...A longer work would permit more examination of specifics that illustrate the why of our sense of Mary’s aloneness."
"Rachel McPhee gives a remarkable and transcendent performance as Mary Shanley...The script is both thoughtful and relevant...Director Stephen Kaliski was certainly handed a gift with the talent he had in McPhee, and he makes excellent use of her abilities...'Dead Shot Mary' is fascinating, entertaining and even funny in moments, while also being absolutely riveting and moving. This is 'must-see' theater at its best."
"McPhee’s performance works best when she portrays Mary’s emotional and psychological vulnerabilities and talks to us, not at us; she’s certainly got the stuff to embody Mary’s iron handedness, but she works too hard at it, pushing the toughness and affecting the kind of stagey Nu Yawk accent you learn from dialect books...Too often Mary seems less an organic creation than a costume McPhee’s put on."