The Mint Theater presents a rare revival of A. A. Milne's 1919 play exploring the antagonistic relationship between two brothers. More…
In the Farringdon family, Gerald has always basked in the sun while his brother Bob has always stood in his shadow. When Bob finds himself in serious legal trouble, he turns to Gerald for rescue. After Gerald fails to come through, years of simmering resentment boil over in a confrontation that is as stirring as it is surprising. This obscure play was written by A. A. Milne, best known as the creator of Winnie-the-Pooh.
“This is a clever turn by the director Jesse Marchese and his apt casting and shepherding of the actors to reveal the layers beneath Milne’s characterizations...Milne’s characters are drawn with insightful subtly…The play resonates deeply in its characterizations and propels us to look into our own souls...Kudos to the Mint Theater Company for taking on this richly complicated work and executing a presentation of which Milne couldn’t help but be proud.” Full Review
“This light-footed comedy of character is also a penetrating psychological drama…Jesse Marchese directs with respectful finesse, drawing lively performances that balance realism and theatricality just as the script seems to demand. This production serves well as both an introduction to Milne the playwright and a welcome window on a fascinating period in theater history. An interesting dual character study, it’s thoroughly well-mounted and just plain fun to boot.” Full Review
"Should be seen by all who cherish the pre-golden age basket of plays that still resonate over the issues of their day...I found myself surprisingly held by this seemingly light comedy with a solid foundation of irony underneath it. With the proper pace and impeccable acting to deliver its age old charms, 'The Lucky One' reminds us that craft was once not a derogatory term: that even a light offering, when played with style, could send one out into the night with much to think about." Full Review
"'The Lucky One' turns out to be so good a play that it's hard to understand why it's so rarely revived and isn't considered at least a minor classic...The casting could hardly be improved upon...But if I had to name only one actor here who deserves every possible award nomination for which she's eligible, that would be the sublime Paton Ashbrook...Director Jesse Marchese presides over all of the above with the utmost skill...A stellar presentation." Full Review
"The use of light comedy to weave a serious narrative is a particularly British manner of storytelling, and it’s not easy to pull off. Director Jesse Marchese has skillfully managed to honor the style without any 'tickety-boo' self-consciousness that would belittle the material...The cast is very competent and clearly versed in theater, hitting the mark in gesture and tone...Milne has written with a sensitivity all the more affecting for its touch of autobiography." Full Review
"A rich drama...Grant shades with pathos a role that could have come across as just glib...Brand is very affecting as the brooding, resentful brother...But the MVP is Cynthia Harris...Aunt Harriett has the best lines and Harris, clearly enjoying herself, uses lacerating wit to great effect...Jesse Marchese has paced the three acts well...Milne’s play is not without flaws...But the Mint Theater shores up their reputation with another solid production." Full Review
"Skill in depicting societal expectations, relationships, and moral quandaries later embodied by forest creatures is here showcased with insight...Spot-on golf repartee, wonderful pieces of dialogue...Most secondary characters, though credible, act as wallpaper...Still the piece holds one’s attention, not the least because of actor Robert David Grant’s vivid performance...Director Jesse Marchese uses her stage with aesthetic and dramatic skill." Full Review
"A stylish, well-acted revival...Brand’s performance as Bob is very one-note until the explosion of anger toward Gerald, but even when he wins Pamela his demeanor is solemn...A scene-stealer is Cynthia Harris as the great-aunt, who has many good lines denoting her wisdom and humor, and Harris makes the most of them, dominating the stage whenever she makes an appearance...As is customary with Mint Theater productions, all is done here in impeccable style." Full Review
"The turn taken in Act 2 is surprising and is the meat and potatoes of this production which, in Act I, may tend to lull you into wondering what’s going on here other than a lot of snooty chatter about golf, social status and poor old Bob!...Jesse Marchese directs this lovely cast of characters." Full Review
"'The Lucky One' does not disappoint...Sets by Vicki R. Davis and costumes by Martha Hally lend a particularly effective note. An elegant pair of opposing staircases gives performers the occasional opportunity to play scenes at varied physical levels...Under Jesse Marchese’s direction, the company is uniformly fine, with excellent ensemble playing, generally to be expected in Mint productions." Full Review
"A subtle, yet poignant production...While Milne’s drama does not emanate taut, dramatic tension, it does offer a wonderfully human look at the complexities of sibling rivalry. For the most part, director Jesse Marchese’s cast pulls off convincing British accents...Works like this remind us why the Mint is such a vital part of New York’s landscape. They neither rely on spectacle nor gimmicks, but instead, focus on quality stories, beautiful language, and actual person-to-person communication." Full Review
"The Mint Theater Company brings an excellent production to life with 'The Lucky One.' Written by A. A. Milne before 'Winnie-the-Pooh,' it is the story of two brothers and the effect of jealousy. It is a beautifully staged play with outstanding acting. And it is a very nice show, but it isn't a revelation. 'The Lucky One' tells the tale of sibling rivalry well, but one that seems ordinary. It moves from point A to B to C, but nothing really surprises here." Full Review
"The play doesn’t have quite the punch of the Mint’s best rediscoveries, but it has enough to convey why Milne was a successful playwright before he became better known for those enduring children’s stories about Winnie-the-Pooh...The pay doesn’t translate particularly well to our era...Yet Mr. Grant and Mr. Brand, under the direction of Jesse Marchese, build their respective characters slowly but steadily, and each lands an effective moment after the intermission." Full Review
"A slight but pleasurable tale of upper-class Edwardian desire and doom, featuring a compelling central plot but lacking any bigger scope...The cast is excellent...Jesse Marchese provides solid direction...But there’s not a whole lot of meat to the play, not enough for audiences to chew on. Milne rarely ventures past the well-groomed surface of the landed gentry and their actions. It all makes for a pleasant theatrical experience, but you’ll leave the Beckett wanting a little more." Full Review
"Once we realize the true extent of the family conflict, slowly revealed through the characters’ sharp and witty dialogue, we wish to understand more about the motivations of the brothers, but, ultimately, too many questions remain unanswered. Still, the play is marvelous as a study and comedy of manners in early twentieth century upper crust British society. The cast is solid, but only Ari Brand as Bob and Robert David Grant as Gerald have meaty roles." Full Review
“The three-act play, clumsy, old-fashioned, and dotted with unanswered plot questions, nevertheless contains enough lively dialogue and dramatic confrontations to make its two hours pass by entertainingly enough…Otherwise, Milne's play can't be described as an unfairly overlooked treasure…Surrounding the fraternal squabbles are a familiar lot of drawing-room stereotypes. Best is veteran Cynthia Harris as the wise, aged great-aunt, Miss Farringdon.” Full Review
"A playgoer wouldn't be blamed for anticipating a night of vintage bon mots and comedy of manners gracefulness. And while Marchese's swell, well-acted production is filled with pretty people...the play is more of a somber one...The story moves slowly until the brothers have a climatic confrontation...May not be a forgotten gem, but there's certainly a fascination to seeing social issues of the wealthier class addressed by a literary figure whose name has become synonymous with whimsy." Full Review
“While the Mint's productions of Milne's ‘Mr. Pim Passes By’ and ‘The Truth About Blayds’ revealed that they were witty and clever, ‘The Lucky One,’ on the other hand, pales by comparison. Jesse Marchese's languid direction doesn't help matters. While the cast is not at fault due to the thinness of the material leaving too much unsaid, neither the production nor the play seem to be up to the Mint Theater Company's usually impeccable standards.” Full Review
"Milne has some insightful and surprising things to say...Unfortunately, he doesn't get around to saying them until the third act. Until then, the play slogs along, relying too much on embarrassing 'comic relief' and predictable drama...That third act springs to life. The show becomes thoughtful, thought-provoking, and compelling...It almost seemed that director Jesse Marchese asked the actors to eliminate all subtext and subtlety until late in the play." Full Review
"It feels like an ever so proper British play, served up by a group of fine actors in search of a better Coward play...The actors try to engage, but never really connect...They must combat some pretty bland direction and stereotypical acting choices...We are forced to slog through the plot points in the first two acts in order to finally get to the clash where the emotionality of these two brothers can finally alter, shift, and develop beyond the one note given so far. It’s worth the wait." Full Review
"Milne's script creaks as often as it crackles...The expository conversation is so determinedly cheery and self-consciously witty that you might find your teeth aching, just a little...Marchese gets three incisive performances from his leads...The rest of the cast is more than capable at delivering their one-note characters...For fans of theatre history, it is a highly collectible experience...The playwright's sharp intelligence is on display, if inconsistently applied." Full Review
“The dialogue is crisp and often amusing, but there are many loose character ends. Ultimately we don’t understand who the characters really are or why they act as they do…If the audience hasn’t a clue about the characters and their inconsistencies, they drift off from engagement with the play. With all its disappointments, ‘The Lucky One’ has a magnificent episode near the end…An appealing production in terms of set, costumes, and for the most part acting.” Full Review
“Milne slyly subverts the title, the tropes of the drawing-room comedy and the themes of the Cain versus Abel matchup...But, alas, the play seems to have overwhelmed its director Jesse Marchese, who is alternately too heavy-handed in some places and too light in others…The cop out would be to say that 'The Lucky One' is just an old-fashioned play that has seen its day...I suspect we'd all be feeling differently if we had been lucky enough to get a more percipient production.” Full Review
"Like many of the characters in this play, Grant’s character lacks depth and strong, distinct qualities, or even a compelling backstory...They all sort of look the same and sound the same, like a bland meal...Director Marchese might have spiced things up with bolder choices for the cast and visuals...Other than being a nice antique to dust off for Milne fans, it remains unclear why the Mint Theater Company is producing this play at this time and what it really has to offer our current society." Full Review
"The play seems unfinished...Part of the problem is the casting. Neither Brand nor Grant physically fit their roles and it isn’t until the second act that we actually like Gerald. By the end we hate the whiny immature loser known as Bob...It seems like Marchese just did not have a handle on this production, except for the comedic scenes between the young ingenues. The first act also seemed vastly different than the second with the later picking up speed, but it also seemed to be missing scenes." Full Review
See it if You like engrossing stories about human beings with timeless subjects like, sibling rivalries, ambition vs decency and screwed up families.
Don't see it if You have no attention span. Are addicted to banal video games.
See it if U appreciate classic A. A. Milne play done with intelligent direction & superb acting. U like British drama & good dialogues.
Don't see it if U dislike dated period settings or revival of classics. U cannot understand educated British accents easily. U want a musical.
See it if you enjoy a theater experience of great acting...and a wonderful forgotten play. The Mint Theater always manages to present great plays.
Don't see it if you do not like period pieces.
See it if You want to see a show that has many layers to it. Though set in a time and class foreign to most still resonates. Superbly acted!
Don't see it if You don't like period pieces or shows that make you look at your own family relationships and re-examine them.
See it if solid old-style play with perceptive insight into the society of the time with still relevant themes. the family conflict is suspenseful
Don't see it if have no patience with expository filler. don't want to listen to beautiful writing and exquisite characters
See it if You want to see a masterful play about two brothers, one of whom is everyone's favorite, that completely doesn't go where you'd expect it to
Don't see it if You don't have the patience for slow-moving plays that are just people talking in period English. Or if family dysfunction doesnt interest u
See it if Mint is on a perpetual roll, Sets are always super even after the tough move. Cast is in tune. Surprised that Milne is the writer.
Don't see it if Act 1 may be a bit slow but Act 2 is the time for the climax, Do not miss it If you need singing and dancing this is not your cup of Earl G
See it if You're a fan of rivived shows done extremely well. Solid cast and acting. Witty conversations and complex main character development.
Don't see it if You're looking for a hilarious, dazzling or edgy show. This is classic play on a smartly setup stage, with moments of intensity and humor.
See it if You are a nostalgic theatre goer who appreciates well written plays that allow actors to get truly absorbed in the characters.
Don't see it if You prefer your theatre done in modern day American and you don't care for British dry wit and words.
See it if You like great acting and enjoy stories of siblings and their conflicts. Powerful acting by the cast and particularly the two leads.
Don't see it if You don't like period pieces. A bit dated but very well written.
See it if You like a psychologically sound play about sibling rivalry that is still relevant.
Don't see it if You dislike a lot of exposition and buttoned-up characters. You don't give a fig about golf.
See it if You like rarely seen revivals that respect their time period & are relevant to today. You like well-written plays & great acting.
Don't see it if You prefer contemporary plays. You have no familiarity w/early 20th century English play structure.
See it if You like English period pieces, family dramas, and well-developed characters. You prefer shades of grey to black-and-white plots.
Don't see it if You prefer a clear protagonist and antagonist. These are two well-defined, flawed characters.
See it if an early-20th-century play about brothers who misunderstand one another, compounded by a love triangle, appeals. It is an intelligent play.
Don't see it if requiring glitz, snappy dialogue, and a ton of action. This is a thinker's play. While some moments feel empty, it made me ponder afterward.
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