Every so often a show opens on Broadway to such mixed reviews that it truly is anyones guess as to whether it’s good or not. The Cottage is the latest. Critics either lambasted the show, tearing the script to shreds and and bemoaning the overacting, or were utterly delighted by the machinations and couldn’t get enough. So, will you love it or loathe it? You’ll just have to see it for yourself!
New York Times Review of The Cottage
Farce is the emergency that keeps emerging. That’s why it depends so much on doors: to admit fresh trouble and lock it in. Alas, the door in “The Cottage,” a mild farce by Sandy Rustin, works only partway. It lets people enter, yet doesn’t trap them; they can leave at any time — and never do. Even when a killer is coming, the characters merely dawdle. Dawdling is the play’s difficulty as well; everyone talks in pseudofancy circles. The stunts and capers likewise have no danger in them. And Jason Alexander’s trick-filled production, which opened on Monday at the Helen Hayes Theater, cannot hide that the stakes are too low. … Despite the cast’s mostly elegant work — Bundy and the self-mocking McCormack consistently hit their marks — the script and what feels like Alexander’s desperation to keep things aloft inevitably let them down.
TimeOut Review of The Cottage
Sandy Rustin’s The Cottage has no pretensions to seriousness: It’s a brazenly straightforward drawing-room farce, created for light amusement and delivered on a platter by a properly silly cast of six. … The Cottage may look like a throwback to the tony sauciness of Noël Coward’s plays in the 1930s—in a nod to the Master, Beau’s secretary is named Mrs. Worthington—but it is broader in character and characters, and less sophisticated in language. … While the architecture of the plot is solid, what really keeps The Cottage up is the comedic industry of its cast. Directed by Jason Alexander, a seasoned hand at classic timing, the actors leap gamely into their funny business. McCormack’s vain Beau is smoothly caddish and twittish; Moffat, leading with his chin, has some inspired physical horseplay, and Steingold packs a lot of power into her small frame. And Bundy, who looks smashing in Sydney Maresca’s costumes, holds the play’s center together with considerable appeal. It’s sex, sure, but more than that: It’s charm.
Vulture Review of The Cottage
There’s a fizz that bubbles up near the end of a door-slamming farce when the characters, one by one, have to explain to one another what’s actually going on. … The Cottage tries to emphasize the fizz, but nobody remembered to shake the soda can beforehand. It’s full of explanations, light on mess. The play, by Sandy Rustin, whose adaptation of Clue is regularly produced around the country, is a riff on Noël Coward, and it’s full of characters who are a little too aware of the genre they happen to inhabit. … Rustin tries to up the ante as each new character arrives a little more batty than the last, but instead of building tension, the plot feels like one extended denouement, gently diverting but never challenging. It’s not un-fun to guess at how everyone is related, but you’ll never be wrong in your first assumptions. … The overlarge performances come along with the meta-self-consciousness of Rustin’s script, and that’s a problem.
New York Post Review of The Cottage
A lowbrow-highbrow mashup isn’t the worst idea, granted, but here it translates to “Shout til it’s funny.” The posh English accents are so high-pitched (not to mention questionable) that the production could star Alvin, Simon and Theodore. And one of its biggest gags is an extended fart sound effect that would send Noel Coward sprinting for a gin bottle. What makes “The Cottage” habitable is its game and mostly charming actors, led by Eric McCormack of “Will & Grace” and “Legally Blonde: The Musical”’s Laura Bell Bundy, finally back on Broadway. The six performers yuk it up on a sturdy, lodgey, intricate set by Paul Tate dePoo III that has us longing for the days when such thoughtful scenery was the norm. Rustin’s irksome writing, though, was a flea in my ear.
Entertainment Weekly Review of The Cottage
The play is a sensational, feminist twist on a classic British period drama that features knockout performances, melodramatic reveals, and some seriously outrageous one-liners. If home is where the heart is, then The Cottage is where the mind’s deepest, darkest, and most salacious secrets go to fight and frolic in the fresh air. … Jason Alexander, in his Broadway directorial debut, keeps the hysterical production…moving at a swift clip to match the natural cadence of playwright Sandy Rustin’s snappy script. … While Alexander and Rustin light the way, The Cottage‘s success ultimately rests upon the chemistry between its phenomenal (and likely future Tony-nominated) six-piece ensemble to not only maintain its fervent pace, but also draw laughs with Rustin’s rapid-fire, period-typical dialogue that delights in subverting audience expectations at every turn. Thankfully, the cast more than rises to the occasion, each bringing their own unique comedic timing and skill set to the table as they riff off one another with cheeky ad-libs, lean into physical comedy gags, and try their best not to break along the way.