Broadway Reviews – Bernhardt/Hamlet


Bernhardt/Hamlet Reviews

Roundabout Theatre Company‘s production of Theresa Rebeck‘s new play Bernhardt/Hamlet, starring Tony winner Janet McTeer, officially opened on Broadway last week at the American Airlines Theatre. Reviews were mixed to positive, with many critics praising McTeer’s performance as Sarah Bernhardt and the play’s insight into the theatrical world of the day, giving a unique reflection of¬†contemporary gender politics:

New York Times – “Rebeck’s new play is so clever it uplifts, so timely it hurts…as Bernhardt locates the heart of Hamlet, McTeer the comedian becomes a riveting Shakespearean…a deep-inside love letter to the theater.”

Entertainment Weekly – “Rebeck’s bright, lushly executed showpiece…McTeer crackles with the vitality, sensuality, and flytrap wit of a genuinely lived-in diva.”

But some critics found the play somewhat wanting in terms of characterization, portraying Bernhardt as a symbol more than a fully dimensional personality:

Variety – “..if only Rebeck had shown us more scenes of Bernhardt’s mastery of Hamlet, we might have been more convinced of her claim to the role. Instead, the playwright has given a feminist slant to the actress’ daring.”

New York Magazine – “Full of period frills and actorly flourishes, it fails to convey either astonishing mythos or full, authentic humanity. Instead, it fills its protagonist’s mouth with passe sentiments, ideas whose risque gloss has faded, packaged as relevant and revelatory.”

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