Posted by Joseph Gomez on Wednesday, October 15, 2008
To Be Or Not To Be, written by Nick Whitby and directed by Casey Nicholaw, opened last night at the at the Manhattan Theatre Club's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Here is an assessment of reviews compiled from DidHeLikeIt.com:
NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW: "If the producers of the walking corpse of a comedy To Be or Not to Be are feeling unappreciated this morning — and it’s a safe bet that they are — here’s a consoling thought for them. It took years for the Ernst Lubitsch film that inspired this play to get any respect."
ASSOCIATED PRESS REVIEW: "The fall theater season is still young, but Nick Whitby's To Be or Not to Be may turn out to be the most unnecessary Broadway production of the year."
VARIETY REVIEW: "Film critics have tried for the past 80 years or so to define the magic of the Lubitsch touch. Urbane humor, visual wit, sophistication, innuendo and charm were all factors, but subtlety was surely the key component -- that incomparable touch was unvaryingly a light one. So one of the most disheartening things about British playwright Nick Whitby's lumbering stage adaptation of To Be or Not to Be is the heavy hand that's been brought to bear on the 1942 comedy about a Polish theater troupe outwitting the Nazis in occupied Warsaw."
THEATERMANIA REVIEW: "In the Manhattan Theatre Club's production of To Be Or Not to Be, now at the Samuel J. Friedman Theater, ham actor-turned-reluctant hero Josef Tura exclaims: "There is nothing an actor can not do! For the actor, everything is possible!" I hate to differ -- but there is at least one thing actors can not do. They cannot pull Nick Whitby's inadequate adaptation of the beloved 1942 Ernst Lubitsch-directed film out of the fire."
NY DAILY NEWS REVIEW: "Long before The Producers and Hogan's Heroes goofed on the Gestapo, Ernst Lubitsch turned the idea into screwball comedy in his 1942 film To Be or Not to Be. Six decades later, the comedy about plucky Polish actors who outwit Hitler's honchos arrives on Broadway in a Manhattan Theatre Club production. Unfortunately, most of the laughs seem lost in translation in the adaptation by British playwright Nick Whitby. Though the play strives to be fluffy, it's about as airy as cement pierogi - and a late turn toward heart-tugging feels tacked on."