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When Shakespeare Festivals Turn to Shaw

By Terry Teachout
The Wall Street Journal

"Arms and the Man," Shaw's first great box-office success, remains one of his most enduringly popular plays, but it's been some time since it received a New York production of any consequence, the last Broadway revival having been in 1985. Now Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, a company that has yet to let me downI've seen five shows there since 2006, all of them memorableis doing the old boy proud with an exceptionally stylish version that hits all the high notes. Read more.

War, Money and Other Silliness

By Anita Gates
The New York Times

War is absolutely not a glorious business. And rich people really shouldnt have servants. Or if they do, they should treat them as equals. There you have George Bernard Shaws messages within the comedy of Arms and the Man, one of his early pleasant plays, as he called them, first staged in 1894 and currently being given a pretty, proper and joyously funny production by the Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey. Read more.

A Rousing Production of Shaw's Anti-War Comedy 'Arms and the Man' in Madison

By Peter Filichia
The Star-Ledger

This is easily Shaws funniest play. One doesnt usually hear boisterous laughter at Shavian wit, but thats what this comedy and director Joe Dischers on-the-money production received at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey on Saturday night. Read more.

Shaw's 'Arms and the Man' is better than ever

By William Westhoven
The Daily Record

Just for laughs, let's visit Bulgaria during the Serbo-Bulgaria War of 1885. With George Bernard Shaw as your guide, this apparently dour journey becomes a classic comedy bursting with timeless observations on love, war and social distinction. In the capable hands of the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Shaw's irresistible wit is brightening the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre like a hot July sun. The only problem is forcing yourself to pay attention to what Shaw is trying to say while you're howling at his outrageous characters. Read more.

Arms and the Man: a delightful anti-romantic comedy

By Allen Crossett
Recorder Newspapers

Now being staged by The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey on the campus of Drew University in Madison, Arms and the Man was Shaws first commercial success. There are a few scattered references to the horrors of war, but overall, this comedy, and it is a very funny comedy, is much more interested in poking fun at romantic illusions about warfare, that and all sorts of other pretentious follies. Read more.

Arms to the Man The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey offers a classic farce by George Bernard Shaw

By Bob Brown
The Princeton Packet

THERES no doubt that this is a supremely funny play about a sobering subject the insanity of war. George Bernard Shaw had trouble getting his activist messages across as a novelist, so he turned to drama. His first three Unpleasant plays failed at this also; Arms and the Man (1894) was the first of his so-called Pleasant plays, which traded on humor to sweeten the audiences reception. Although it was a box-office hit, the very pleasantness tended to overshadow the serious message. Read more.

Shaw's Arms and the Man: A Total Delight in Shakespeare Theatre New Jersey Production

By Bob Rendell

Is it possible that an 1894 comedy set during the four month Serbian-Bulgarian War of 1885-1886, which centers on the contretemps which arise after Raina Petkoff, a young Bulgarian woman, humanely saves the life of Bluntschli, a mercenary Swiss officer in the Serbian army by allowing him to hide from a pursuing Bulgarian allied Russian officer in her bedroom, could be as contemporary and relevant as today's headlines? Is it possible that such a play might simultaneously be as delightful and buoyant a romp as one could hope to encounter? Not very likely so, I would have thought last week, but then I hadn't seen the Shakespeare Theatre's scintillating production of Bernard Shaw's first successful play, Arms and the Man. Read more.

Shaw's anti-war satire still sparkles

By Liz Keill
The Independant Press

MADISON George Bernard Shaw always had more to say than what appeared on the stage. In his satirical comedy, Arms and the Man, his intent was to point out the uselessness of war and to punch holes in romantic idealism. He does this through the pompous behavior of Sergius Saranoff, a military man engaged to Raina Petkoff and her father, Paul Petkoff, a major. But it all starts when Blaunschli breaks into the bedroom of Raina as he hides from the Bulgarian street fighters. Although he is Swiss, he somehow ends up fighting for the Serbs. Read more.

Arms and the Man leaves audience panting for more

By Stuart Duncan

The production of George Bernard Shaw's "Arms and the Man" which has just opened at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is the finest and funniest staging of Shaw I personally have seen in 60 years of theater-going and 30 years of reviewing. Read more.

A CurtainUp New Jersey Review
Arms and the Man

By Simon Saltzman

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey has let George Bernard Shaw tell it like it is: that war may be hellish, but often so many of its idiotic, misguided proponents make it seem sadly hilarious. Set in the late 19th century during the time of the Serbo-Bulgarian war, Arms and the Man written in 1894, is a double-edged sword. The sparkling production under the direction of Joe Discher is primarily rewarded with the incomparably triple-edged performances of Nisi Sturgis, as Raina, the heroine, Sean Mahan as Bluntschli, the "chocolate cream" hero; and Anthony Marble as Raina's fianc. Read more.

"Arms and the Man:" Shakespeare Theatre of NJ Probes Shaw's Chocolate Cream Soldier

By Sherri Rase
[Q] On Stage

Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey continues its season of thoughtful and timeless plays for all seasons with George Bernard Shaw's "Arms and the Man." First published and performed in 1894, it was Shaw's first commercial success. Theatre lore holds that when he was called on stage ("Author! Author!"), there was one person whose "boos" could be heard among the applauding throng. Shaw commented-completely, and ironically, in keeping with his show-something to the effect that, while he agreed with the lone dissenter, who were they to stand against so many. Read more.