Every member of Bedlam hears voices. Not of God and his saints, but of Shaw (who probably would have said that’s the same thing) and Shakespeare. And I mean they believe they hear these playwrights, in all their sonority, telling them what to do…anyone who listens to the eminently sane and persuasive voices of Bedlam is destined to become a convert.
Ben Brantley, The New York Times
What a rare and rich treat to see a group of performers stretch the classics as far as possible and not one inch further. That’s what the misleadingly named Bedlam company has done with its taut, maraudingly high-spirited take on George Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan at the Access Theater. A protean quartet has created a production to be treasured: just three gifted men play the 23 fighters, schemers, moralizers and executioners surrounding Joan of Arc (the no-less-gifted Andrus Nichols). Just as St. Joan lured the multitudes to her cause, this production of Saint Joan soon has audience members all too happy, even grateful, to clamber after it.
Eric Grode, The New York Times (CRITICS’ PICK)
Do you have three-plus hours for Joan of Arc, i.e., the George Bernard Shaw liberal-individualist version? Believe me, you do… This doughty quartet, armed with minimal costume and light and no set to speak of, burn like meteors through Shaw’s meta-historic epic. Oh, for a muse of muslin! Without a flat or a caster, the Bedlam theater company works genuine miracles… In this brisk, lucid, and (for once, appropriately) declamatory production, Shaw’s uncompromising humanism and unshakeable faith in the power of ideas take the field in glory… Together, these four raise siege engines and battlements of language and argument, and from the top, you can see not only the nineteenth and twentieth centuries Shaw was addressing, but misty points beyond. “Must I burn again?” Joan asks History. Alack, only for another week or so, Maid. Act now, serfs.
Scott Brown, New York Magazine
Unforgettable… the most exciting George Bernard Shaw revival I’ve ever seen, bar none… Mr. Tucker’s vest-pocket staging, mounted in a house so small that one scene is played in the lobby, fuses Shakespearean speed with Brechtian directness. Stately it isn’t, but thrilling. it most definitely is: Ms. Nichols’s acting is so intense that it makes the Access Theater seem 20 times bigger, and her colleagues support her to galvanizing effect.
The Wall Street Journal *BEST REVIVAL OF 2012*
It’s an audacious concept for the production, one that showcases both the human drama of the piece as well as the philosophy that abounds in the text about the nature of warfare, the church’s role in man’s life and so much more. And though director Eric Tucker’s conceit of shuttling the audience from the theater to the lobby for various scenes may strike some as a mere gimmick, there’s little question that he has a superlative sense of stagecraft. The way in which he allows us to sense a wind-changing direction by virtue (pun intended) of Joan’s presence is nothing short of genius…
Andy Propst, Huffington Post
The surprising achievement of Bedlam’s new staging of Saint Joan, at Access Theater, is that it gives us a “Joan” with enough driving, ferocious energy to keep up with its heroine and sufficient gravitas to match the mark she left on history….the company evokes the quiet awe that the real Joan’s audiences felt in her presence. The verbal pyrotechnics of Bedlam’s production, then, do honor as much to Joan’s unquenchable spirit as to the world she left in her wake.
Backstage (CRITIC’S PICK)
Let’s just get right to it, shall we? Go see this show. Better yet, go see the show, and if you happen to be a theater supporter, donate to this group… a minimalist powerhouse… Tucker has taken the written word, garnered great actors, and shot a theatrical spear through the off-Broadway scene… when something is well written, and well interpreted, and the right talent is found, there is no need for the formulaic marketing structures found on Broadway today. There is no need for a star to carry a show, no need for grand theatrics. Just real talent, doing the real thing.
Completely Riveting… Boldly stripping away pretenses of theatricality results in a deeply engrossing production that presents Shaw’s fabulous play in an almost pure form. The star of this production is SAINT JOAN, and the play shines in that role with a newfound luster…uniformly strong performances, each traversing an impressive range… BEDLAM’s SAINT JOAN captures the soul of Shaw’s play, and puts it before us in a stripped-bare, unpretentious, and completely riveting production.
One of the richest and most exhilarating nights you’re likely to spend at the theater for a long time… A general admission ticket for SAINT JOAN is $30, and given that its full-blooded exuberance will renew your faith in the possibilities of epic theater, it’s worth much more.
Andrus Nichols’ performance is tremendous, illuminating every stage of Joan’s journey from country lass to soldier to hero to scapegoat, and finally to saint… Bedlam’s Saint Joan is so impressive… it deserves to be seen by as many people as they can cram into that tiny lobby.
Theater is Wasy
Great theatre made only by force of talent, ideas, and text