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Photo Credit :: Playbill
Arts & Entertainment
Mary Stuart at the Broadhurst Theatre
By Mark Thompson & Robert Doyle
April 21, 2009 
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If ever you’ve wondered about the antecedent for such dueling diva-fests as Eve Harrington and Margo Channing in All About Eve, or Krystle Carrington and Alexis Colby on Dynasty, or hell, even Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding, you need look no further than Friedrich Schiller’s tinderbox of a play Mary Stuart. Written in 1800, Schiller’s masterwork (freshly adapted by Peter Oswald) is back on Broadway after an absence of nearly forty years in a gripping production direct from London’s Donmar Warehouse. Acutely directed by Phyllida Lloyd and starring Tony Award-winner Janet McTeer as Mary, Queen of Scots, and Harriet Walter as her arch-nemesis, Queen Elizabeth I, this Mary Stuart has all the backstabbing political and sexual intrigue that viewers expect of Showtime’s popular series, The Tudors—or of American politics during an election year. Complemented by scenic designer Anthony Ward’s atmospheric staging and lighting that fills the stage with shadows as deep and menacing as any scene from F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu (or James Whale’s The Old Dark House), both McTeer and Walter give bravura performances that are both haunting and haunted. Backed by a masterful ensemble of male actors in contemporary dress—the better for us to draw timely parallels to our own troubled epoch—these two women rule the stage with a sangfroid and hauteur befitting such regal presences, and when climactically, they meet, the result is thrilling theatre.