A Respectable Widow Takes to Vulgarity OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS


  • TM



  • FRC

Opening Night:
April 2, 2014
April 27, 2014

Theater: 59E59 Theaters / 59 East 59th St., New York, NY, 10022


Part of the Brits Off Broadway Festival, A RESPECTABLE WIDOW TAKES TO VULGARITY is on a double bill with CLEAN at 59E59.


Mourning her husband's death, Annabelle strikes up an unlikely relationship with his potty-mouthed employee, Jim. As she enters into Jim's un-finishing school, Annabelle finally finds her own voice and gets herself heard. This riotous explosion of expletives addresses how we express and process our grief.


Welcome to the world of London's top female underground criminals on their biggest job yet, an international heist. Zainab, Chloe and Katya are three fast-talking, no-nonsense criminal heroines who mean business. Clean, by poet and playwright Sabrina Mahfouz, is razor-sharp and effortlessly slick.

The running time for the complete double bill is 1 hour 45 minutes, including intermission.

  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF A Respectable Widow Takes to Vulgarity

    What a Foul Mouth You Have, Grandma | ‘A Respectable Widow,’ About an Unusual Friendship

    Laura Collins-Hughes

    April 13, 2014: The nervous young man has almost escaped from the funeral reception when the genteel widow thanks him for coming. It’s only decent to offer a kind word about her husband. “He was a really, really lovely old” — and here Jim Dick (Gavin Jon Wright) utters an obscenity, one that tends toward the very far end of the social-acceptability scale. Such is the mischievous setup of Douglas Maxwell’s sneakily thoughtful comedy of manners, A Respectable Widow Takes to Vulgarity. The sprightly half of a brisk double bill directed by Orla O’Loughlin at 59E59 Theaters, it’s presented by the Traverse Theater Company of Edinburgh as part of the Brits Off Broadway festival.

  • THEATERMANIA REVIEW OF A Respectable Widow Takes to Vulgarity

    A Respectable Widow Takes to Vulgarity and Clean. 59E59 Theaters presents a double bill of strong women and strong language.

    Pete Hempstead

    April 9, 2014: Two very different short plays are now running as a double bill at 59E59 Theaters as part of the Brits Off Broadway Festival. The first takes video games as its inspiration, and the second, vulgarity. Both focus on female empowerment, and to a lesser degree, on how language defines us — but only one delivers a solid punch. The riotous second half of this double bill, however, makes it all worthwhile. A Respectable Widow Takes to Vulgarity is a genial, funny, endearing two-hander by Douglas Maxwell that tells the story of elderly Annabelle Love (Joanna Tope), a woman in late middle age whose wealthy husband, a business owner, has just died. She meets one of her deceased husband's employees, Jim Dick (Gavin Jon Wright), whose thick Scottish accent is laden with lots of charming profanity. Fascinated by the way Jim inadvertently describes her husband by using a vulgar word beginning with the letter c, Mrs. Love asks Jim to teach her the proper way to swear. A friendship develops between the two that's as comical as it is touching.

  • THEATRE IS EASY REVIEW OF A Respectable Widow Takes to Vulgarity

    A Respectable Widow Takes to Vulgarity and Clean

    Adrienne Urbanski

    April 11, 2014: 59E59 Theatres once again brings in guests from across the pond with their annual Brits Off-Broadway festival, during which plays from the United Kingdom do guest stints at the theater. Amongst this year’s offerings is a double bill of two one-act plays from Scotland, A Respectable Widow Takes to Vulgarity and Clean. These holdovers from the Edinburgh Festival played as a double bill at shows in their country of origin. Clean opens with a note from the playwright Sabrina Mahfouz, stating that she was inspired to create her tale of three career criminals after realizing how few video games feature female characters and wanted to make characters well-suited for a series of video games. Much like video games and action movies, the characters within this one-act are more about creating suspense and action rather than any kind of in depth development. The trio of women are aware of each other as they all frequent the same high-end London club to carry about their “clean crimes.” Zainab (Emma Dennis-Edwards) is a master credit card skimmer who targets flirtatious wealthy men. Chloe (Jade Anouka) is an emerald smuggler. Katya (Chloe Massey) is a mysterious Russian who has a number of illegal operations including jewel smuggling and insurance scams. She dons giant steel toe boots because they “smash skull in blink.”

  • THEATER PIZZAZZ REVIEW OF A Respectable Widow Takes to Vulgarity

    Double Bill: A Respectable Widow Takes to Vulgarity & Clean Rambunctiously Original

    Alix Cohen

    April 9, 2014: Respectable widow, Annabelle Love (Joanna Tope), is a grown up Sloan’s Ranger- an upper class woman with lifestyle traits including polished appearance, speech, manners, and attitude. She’s spent her not very difficult life doing what’s expected. At her husband’s funeral, Annabelle politely approaches one of his young, working class factory employees. Having merely taken advantage of a free day off, Jim Dick (Gavin Jon Wright), at a loss what to say, blurts out “He was a really, really lovely old cunt,” then flees, appalled at what came out of his mouth. Annabelle follows determined to find out exactly what was meant. Jim tries to explain that “cunt” can be used as an inoffensive colloquial in Scottish vernacular. (?!) With the single mindedness of an etymologist, she begins to have hapless Jim sent to the factory office in order to discuss the nature and use of vulgarity. Addressed as an equal with elusive information, the poor lad is confused and embarrassed.

  • FRONT ROW CENTER REVIEW OF A Respectable Widow Takes to Vulgarity

    A Respectable Widow Takes to Vulgarity and Clean – Brian Wu Reviewer

    Brian Wu

    April 11, 2014: Here is a production that young people can especially enjoy. Hailing from Edinburgh, A Respectable Widow Takes to Vulgarity and Clean deliver two stories of women looking to stake their claims in society while seeking a thrill. One is a lyrical, action-packed narrative; the other is a smart and witty comedy. It’s like watching a prime-time drama and sitcom back-to-back, only far more satisfying. There is a play on the words “clean” and “vulgar” in their respective titles, but no grand collation or anything of the sort. Instead, you’re served two brilliantly written plays that tickle an itch for entertainment. A Respectable Widow kicks off second in this double feature. Here you’ve got the classic pairings for a comedy; the mother and son, the boss and employee, the lady and the tramp, the teacher and student, all juxtaposed on a single stage. Newly widowed society woman, Annabelle (Joanna Tope), takes an interest in her late husband’s boyish employee, Jim (Gavin Jon Wright), and his crass, unabated language. She calls him into her office to grill him on the use of vulgar words, and a shaky bond begins to unfold.



    JerseyBoys    Phantom    Motown    Wicked