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Alice Childress's

Wedding Band

June 20th - October 1stTom Patterson TheatreTicket Info
Generally Positive Reviews based on 9 Critics
  • top 76% of shows in the 2023 season
9 Reviews

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The New York Times - Jesse Green

Its greatness is confirmed

“It’s a joyful thing when a great play that seemed to be lost is found. How much more so when its greatness is confirmed and the play takes root in the soil of a new time.

That was my experience seeing Alice Childress’s “Wedding Band” this summer at the Stratford Festival, in Ontario.

It was always a tragedy for the couple and, by implication, the country, whose attempts to encompass all races in a loving union have been notably fitful and remain unfinished. But the director Sam White’s production unexpectedly adds another layer of tragedy. Her staging emphasizes the hard-won pleasures of the central relationship, so that something valuable is felt to be lost when the world intervenes. But distinctively it also suggests the tragedy of the white characters — especially the man’s mother and sister — who are nominally the villains.

When I saw the play in Brooklyn, those women were brilliantly rendered grotesques. As played here by Lucy Peacock and Maev Beaty, they are no longer monsters though their behavior remains monstrous; we see how the tragedy of racism makes victims of everyone.”

[Note: this review is part of a collection in the CRITIC’S NOTEBOOK]

Read Full Review08/29/2023

The Slotkin Letter - Lynn Slotkin

Leave You Breathless

“Alice Childress writes with a bristling rage through Julia and thoughtful reflection through Herman. There are angry exchanges between Julia and Herman in Act II that leave you breathless…

Alice Childress has written a play about racism in the deep south in 1918, but it’s so vivid it could be about today. She has written about racism and shown it from various sides of the story: both African-American and white and not made it into a polemic. She has written about the hideousness of racism, and yet when Julia and Herman talk about it and are able to find their love for each other in that world…

Wedding Band is a rarely done play that should be done everywhere because it’s so forward-thinking.”

Read Full Review07/26/2023

Intermission Magazine - Kemi King

A Play About Love and Community

“The piece has a fine balance of humour and truth, as it navigates what it means to be an interracial couple in the American South…

Wedding Band had me invested in the story and in each of their characters. Due to its sociopolitical stakes the show had me thinking about what it means to be in an interracial relationship in 2023, and if anything but the laws have really changed.”

Read Full Review07/23/2023

Stage Door - Christopher Hoile

Immaculate Production

“Antonette Rudder fully draws is us in as Julia…It’s a great performance and I hope to see more of Rudder in future…

Cyrus Lane gives one of his best ever performances as Herman….

I am lost in admiration for this play. It is a play that we should all have known about and studied long before now. We are so lucky that the Stratford Festival has resurrected it from obscurity and given it a production that in no way could be bettered.”

Read Full Review07/30/2023

Stratford Beacon Herald - Bruce Urquhart

Uniformly Tremendous Performances

“The Stratford Festival’s production is anchored by a searing – and what should be a star-making – performance by Antonette Rudder in the pivotal role of Julia Augustine…

Gracefully directed and bolstered by uniformly tremendous performances, Wedding Band is another undeniable highlight in a strong Stratford Festival season. Exploring the discomfiting realities of racial prejudice and impermissible love in a time of crisis, White’s production of Childress’s 1962 classic is unshrinking in its honesty. Deeply moving, Wedding Band asks the audience to confront its own biases and, in doing so, creates theatre that matters.”

Read Full Review07/19/2023

Stratford Today - Geoff Dale

Deeply Moving Five-Star Stage Artistry

“In a particularly taxing role, Lane excels as Herman, a part that demands both emotional and extreme physical strength, the latter because he is stricken with the global Spanish influenza that struck 25 per cent of all Americans, killing 500,000….

Wedding Band is deeply moving five-star stage artistry focusing on love and the eternal quest of human rights for all, movingly and poignantly presented – simply must-see theatre at its finest for all audiences. It plays at the Tom Patterson Theatre until Oct. 1.”

Read Full Review07/17/2023

The Globe and Mail - Kate Taylor

Revival of a Forgotten American Script

“Rarely produced since its debut, it has experienced a flurry of recent interest in the U.S. while the Stratford revival is believed to be the Canadian premiere. Directed by Sam White, this production does not always do justice to the play’s depths, but it does successfully champion a tricky script.

Tricky because it is both a funny play and an angry one…

Ultimately, the production doesn’t carry the dramatic weight of which the script seems capable, giving us poignancy but falling short of Wedding Band’s potential as a new-found classic.”

Read Full Review07/17/2023

Ontario Stage - Kelly Monaghan

Masterful Production Should Hit Broadway

“Wedding Band is the sort of play that, had it been given the kind of first-class Broadway production that made Williams and Miller household names, would have placed Childress on a similar plane. Why didn’t that happen? If you said “racism,” I’d have to say you’re probably on to something.

When Wedding Band finally received a New York production in 1972, it was dismissed as “pat” and “old-fashioned” by the leading critics of the day.

At long last, thanks to White’s masterful production and her superb cast, there can be no doubting Childress’s greatness now. I wish this production could move, cast intact, to Broadway so the New York theatrical establishment could repent its shortsightedness.”

Read Full Review07/16/2023

The Toronto Star - Glenn Sumi

Antonette Rudder is Magnificent

“Director Sam White’s production gives the play the dignity – a word pondered by several of the characters – and weight it deserves.

Rudder, who in her two previous seasons at Stratford has had smaller roles, is magnificent as Julia: patient and forgiving, but open-eyed and realistic. Lane imbues Herman with a gentle, ardent soul. As Julia’s neighbours, Huget, Crichton and Emesowum snap to life with sharp, distinct personalities, while Woods’s Nelson delivers one of the play’s most harrowing speeches with frustrated anger.”

Read Full Review07/16/2023

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