The Marriage of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein ★★★★★ Jermyn Street Theatre | Mar 17 - Apr 16, 2022


Gertrude Stein's famous last words were "What is the question?" and this delightful play raises some large ones: the nature of fame, the value of money, and the creation of 'genius.' In this exuberant look at Stein, her relationship with Alice B. Toklas and their circle of friends, questions - metaphysical and epistemological - are confronted in a humorous and charmingly light-hearted manner. In a series of scenes informed by the writer's famous repetitions, paradoxes, and circumlocutions, social and political issues and the plight of oppressed sexual and religious minorities also come to the fore. Edward Einhorn has compacted a great deal into his small gem of a play and he does an amazing job of reflecting the prismatic reality of Stein's life, her salon and her obsessions. However, one thing that remains unquestioned and that survives both the serious and silly queries is Gertrude and Alice's devotion to each other and the power of their love. Natasha Byrne is totally convincing as earnest, self-important Stein, and Alyssa Simon is simply wonderful as doting but not overwhelmed Alice. Kelly Burke as Picasso effortlessly floats into and out of various characters, and Mark Huckett creates a Hemingway that might border on caricature but never becomes one. He moves seamlessly from the farcical to the darkly insightful. This is unquestionably a production that should not be missed. It's a play that is a play that is a winner.

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Ali Wright.

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