Reviews: Linda at Manhattan Theatre Club, City Center New York - February 2017
Photos: Joan Marcus
…the title character, a beauty executive played by the accomplished British actress Janie Dee, presents herself as an inspirational paradigm. By the show’s end, she will be punished most severely for having it all… Ms. Dee’s supremely self-assured Linda, who opens the play alone on — and obviously in command of — the stage.
Ms. Dee, a two-time Olivier Award winner, is justly celebrated for her intelligence and charm. (Her portrayal of an actress robot in Alan Ayckbourn’s “Comic Potential” was genius.)
Ben Brantley, NY Times
Janie Dee delivers a mesmerizing star turn… This hugely talented, Olivier Award-winning British actress has appeared on our shores only once before — 17 years ago with the same company, Manhattan Theatre Club, in Alan Ayckbourn’s Comic Potential — and she’s been sorely missed. Her dazzling performance in this work… is nothing less than a tour-de-force.
In the end, the evening truly belongs to Dee, whose fierce, funny and sexy Linda is a complicated heroine to whom women of all ages will have no trouble relating.
Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter
Janie Dee, comic royalty on English stages, applies her comedic chops to the title role in ‘Linda’… As played by the vivacious Dee, Linda is on top of her game.
Marilyn Stasio, Variety
Janie Dee makes a smashing return to New York as feminist fighter LINDA…
Linda is played by the fabulous British star Janie Dee… who hasn't been seen on a New York stage since her 2000 Obie-winning turn in Alan Ayckbourn's COMIC POTENTIAL. A sharp dresser and persuasive speaker who sends out beams of confidence and intelligence, Dee's Linda is a character you want to cheer for… And any play that can bring Janie Dee back to New York in a sensationally commanding and clever performance should receive first class passage.
Michael Dale, Broadway World
England's Janie Dee, fondly remembered here for her exceptional performance as a robot in Alan Ayckbourn's Comic Potential, returns to MTC to star as a business exec trying to fight the invisibility of women over 50 in a dark comedy by Penelope Skinner… Dee’s superb turn as the title character, [is] at once indomitable and vulnerable.
Adam Feldman, Time Out New York (Critic’s Choice)
Receiving its US premiere at Manhattan Theatre Club's Off-Broadway space, another superb British actor takes on the role. Janie Dee gives a fine, fierce, impassioned performance as a 50-something woman fending off her own impending invisibility. She brings to it a brittle sense of trying to control things that are fast slipping out of her grasp…
Mark Shenton, The Stage
…two electrifying central performances from Janie Dee and Molly Griggs. Dee's performance… a masterfully clear-cut, magnetic turn as a woman willing to do just about anything to keep the status she has worked so hard to achieve. Griggs is every bit as flawless as Dee, expertly playing a snake in the grass… but who still manages to elicit sympathy from the audience.
David Gordon, Theatremania
Janie Dee is a perpetual motion machine as Linda. She smooths, preens, and smiles away any hiccups in her world domination. Dee makes us utterly convinced of Linda’s confidence regardless of reality.
Nicole Serratore, Exeunt Magazine
At the center of it all is a bravura performance by Janie Dee. Displaying an impressive range from headstrong to heedless, she hits a raw nerve. Despite Linda's missteps, we can't help but follow her straight down the rabbit hole of hollow success.
Roma Torre, NY1
As Linda, Janie Dee’s fiercely controlled performance achieves its magisterial height at the end of Act I, when Linda essentially has a very public breakdown.
David Kaufman, Theaterscene.net
There are rumors of a hurricane in Penelope Skinner's new play, but… even at full force, how could it compete with the play's torrential title character, especially as played by Janie Dee? The last time Dee came to New York, she played a surprisingly winsome robot with dangerously human tendencies in Alan Ayckbourn's Comic Potential. As Linda, she is a very different kind of woman of steel: a marketing executive, working for a beauty products company known as Swan, and armed with a mission.
Dee delivers a tour de force that keeps Linda watchable at all times… she is Joan of Arc deprived of an army, holding fast to her burning vision of the world, even as it sears and incinerates everyone with whom she comes into contact. It's a performance as accomplished as it is fearless -- like Linda herself -- demanding that attention be paid.
David Barbour, Lighting & Sound America
Janie Dee, who hasn’t appeared in New York since Alan Ayckbourn’s Comic Potential in 2000 on the very same stage, makes a dynamic return as the titular business executive who’s personal and professional worlds disintegrate simultaneously… Dee deftly displays Linda’s charismatic energy as well as the shaking insecurity she keeps so well hidden.
David Sheward, Cultural Weekly
MTC's production of Linda is a triumph for Janie Dee and Lynne Meadow's handsomely staged production. Dee is a dynamite actress who'll hold your interest even when her character no longer does. She delivers that opening monologue with wit and warmth and effortlessly navigates from self-assured career woman to enraged desperation and hopeless despair… Linda is Dee's show.
Elyse Sommer, Curtain Up