Fingersmith

 

Excerpts from reviews

“Take a neck brace with you: There are so many whiplash-inducing twists here that you may need it. But I can’t tell you about any of these reversals. This Victorian thriller, rife with repressed love, double crosses and unreliable narration, is the sort of entertainment about which telling more than the premise amounts to a spoiler. . . . The plot turns out to be part “Oliver Twist,” part Ingmar Bergman’s “Persona,” and part Radclyffe Hall. . . . Among the production’s nasty if charismatic menfolk, T. Ryder Smith is almost magisterially kinky as Maud’s exacting uncle, Christopher Lilly.”
– WBUR/NPR

“Despite the need to carve a substantial amount of material from the book to craft the play, Junge maintains the dramatic heart of Waters’ story, the density of the plot, and the fascinating layers of her characters. . . . A taut, richly emotional two-hour drama enhanced by exceptional performances and outstanding production design. . . .
T. Ryder Smith manifests a Dickensian villain . . . The characterization will make you want to bathe.”
– Broadway World

“A fascinating and surprising play . . . A masterful achievement on every level.” 
– South Shore Critic

“Is this a homage, a pastiche, or a lampoon of 19th century English thrillers? Maybe a little bit of all the above? About mid-way through the show I stopped trying to figure out the answer because it didn’t seem to matter all that much. The amiable proceedings — an air-brushed tale of skullduggery and illicit romance between an ambitious criminal rabble and the dissolute wealthy — go down far too easily to be an ingenious rip-roaring chiller, as promised. . . . Nuggets of postmodern artiness are blended into a palatable evening of feel-good hoo-ha.”
– The Arts Fuse

“Fingersmith certainly has its Dickensian elements, including more plot than you could stuff a Christmas goose with. But its intent is less to ask God to bless us every one than to shake a fist at social and sexual inequities and our species’ compulsive tendency to treat each other as badly as possible. It’s a heady, involving brew, though as performed under Bill Rauch’s direction it could be spiked with a lot more intoxicating liquor for a bigger kick. . . . The production does an excellent job of keeping the mind engaged and the eye delighted . . . yet it skims the surface when it might have pierced to the marrow. . . . In this production, no matter how fraught or bloody the events, no one ever seems in much more peril than the heroine in an old-time melodrama, tied to a fake railroad track or lapped by crepe-paper flames.”
– Variety

“A searing look at class distinctions  . . . A sterling cast . . . Christopher Lilly (T. Ryder Smith) is a complicated, learned mess of a man who gets his kicks – and attracts a loyal following – by getting his niece Maude to read aloud from some very special books . . . A multi-layered story and a plot with substance . . . The level of acting is strong up and down the line; Rauch’s taut, tight direction is full speed ahead . . . and the fabulous production values immerse you in a faraway time and place.”
– On Boston Stages

“Women are at the center of this tale, which asks questions about the role of birth, identity, gender preference, sex, power, and class. . . . The acting is without a fault . . . ”
– Boston Globe

 

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