Mint Theater's (Jonathan Bank, Artistic Director) first-ever New York revival of Mary Broome by Allan Monkhouse opens Monday, September 10th and will run to October 14th at their home (311 West 43rd Street).
Featured in the cast, directed by Mr. Bank, are Rod Brogan, Janie Brookshire, Katie Fabel, Kristin Griffith, Roderick Hill, Julie Jesneck, Patricia Kilgarriff, Graeme Malcolm, Douglas Rees, Erica Swindell, and Jill Tanner. Mary Broome has set design by Roger Hanna, costume design by Martha Hally, lighting design by Nicole Pearce, sound design by Jane Shaw, and prop design by Joshua Yocum.
“She’s the best housemaid the wealthy Timbrell family have ever had; but little do they know that Mary Broome has been performing rather more personal services for the household’s youngest son. This 1911 comedy by Allan Monkhouse is a beady-eyed examination of class, social progress and exploitation.” – wrote The Times of London, reviewing the acclaimed 2011 London revival at the Orange Tree.
Monkhouse’s biting comedy tells the story of a household turned upside down by an upstairs/downstairs liaison. Mary, the housemaid, is pregnant by Leonard, the wayward son—and everyone is eager to do the right thing—if only they knew what that was.
Mary Broome premiered in 1911 at Manchester’s Gaiety Theatre and quickly moved to London. The Guardian called it “A remarkable piece of work;” in “the company of masterpieces in comedy.” The Observer declared its style akin to “Shaw and Hankin, with a dash of Granville Barker.”
Its only New York production was in 1919 at The Neighborhood Playhouse on Grand St.
The Globe hailed it as “One of the cleverest plays in town…extraordinarily good entertainment…a sort of Spanish bull fight of the intellect. Town Topics was even more enthusiastic, calling it a play “of the finest intelligence—a play for the civilized mind that is at one amusing and dramatic. Mr. Monkhouse has taken a burning subject of modern life—the strange, intricate question of the family… and he has handled this matter with a touch that is never frivolous but always light, with gaiety, incisive humor, keen precision and truth of characterization… Superbly real, intelligent and sober.”
In 1958, Granada Television Network broadcast Mary Broome to commemorate the Gaiety’s 50th anniversary. The London Times wrote “the play startlingly foreshadows the realist drama of our own time,” calling Leonard Timbrell a “blood brother” to Jimmy Porter, the original Angry Young Man, a sentiment echoed by The Stage, which writes that the play “reminds us that today’s bantering, egotistical, arty-crafty, frustrated angry young man has already been on our stage for nearly 50 years.” Make that 100 years!