Blog Post

REVIEWS: Red Velvet at STNJ

REVIEWS: Red Velvet at STNJ

David recently closed his successful and critically applauded run of “Red Velvet” at Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey in September 2016. Here’s what local critics had to say about the regional premiere of this immediately relevant and important piece:

Patrick Maley, (Sept 15, 2016)
‘Red Velvet’ at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is a gripping history lesson

But the proceedings get considerably more interesting in the play’s latter half, particularly because we come to understand Aldridge as a complex, nuanced person. One long debate between Laporte and Aldridge results in a blockbuster scene. The director is pulled between his duty to the theater’s trustees and his loyalty to his friend, while the actor angrily defends his dignity and artistic achievements. Director Monte wisely clears the stage and lets her two actors have at it. Smiling and Foubert boil over as they jab at each other while defending themselves, but their stirring performances make vivid that this is less a personal argument than it is deeply entrenched in layers of social, aesthetic, and historical struggle.

Richard Carter, (Sept 22, 2016)
“Seething must-see racial drama—Lolita Chakrabarti’s ‘Red Velvet’ at Shakespeare Theatre”

Managing the unmanageable: David Foubert, as company manager Pierre Laporte, and Lindsay Smiling are electrifying in the play’s most gut-wrenching scene, when Pierre and Ira’s long-standing friendship totally ruptures. In explosive, high-decibel, hurricane-force exchanges, their raw dialogue is frightening, disturbing. When thrown to the floor and about to be struck by Ira, his line “This is who you truly are!”, is psychologically shattering. Mr. Smiling perfectly conveys its nearly catatonic effects throughout the lengthy final scene change.

Philip Dorian, (September 11, 2016)

David Foubert’s portrayal of the well-intentioned Covent Garden manager is a sympathetic one, even as he succumbs to racial, social and financial pressure. … It is hardly a cheery ending, but as directed by Bonnie J. Monte into a seamless blend of actorly behavior, 19th Century racial attitudes (disturbingly familiar, need one say), and a smattering of Shakespeare, Red Velvet is a satisfying, immersive experience.

Simon Saltzman,

The French theater manager Pierre Laorte (David Foubert) robustly defends and stands by his provocative decision to have Aldridge replace Kean but only supporting actor Henry (Garrett Lawson) can attest to having seen Aldridge actually perform. … This largely character-driven play gives time for the actors in the company to express their dismay, as does the hugely disappointed Pierre who was forced to replace Aldridge after the reviews were published. … Enthusiastic word of mouth should help keep the theater filled for the duration of its run.

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