Lee Hall's The Pitmen Painters (MTC/Friedman) also traffics in money and class issues, with a sweet-natured, low-temperature sincerity, telling the story of some 1930s British coal miners who, inspired by an adult-education art class, evolve briefly into an exciting school of painters themselves. Touching predictable bases, Hall tells his story jumpily, as if more anxious to declare his sentimental allegiance for the old-left dogmas inherent in it than to make it dramatically pertinent today. Despite the glibly drawn characters, the all-English ensemble, under Max Roberts's crisp direction, performs with stirring conviction, particularly Christopher Connel as the most gifted of the lot, Deka Walmsley as a perpetually grouchy union official, and Ian Kelly as the group's uneasy mentor.

Thy brothel's keeper: Sally Hawkins and Cherry Jones in Mrs. Warren's Profession
Joan Marcus
Thy brothel's keeper: Sally Hawkins and Cherry Jones in Mrs. Warren's Profession

Details

Mrs. Warren's Profession
By George Bernard Shaw
American Airlines Theatre
227 West 42nd Street
212-719-1300, roundabouttheatre.org

The Pitmen Painters
By Lee Hall
MTC/Friedman Theatre
261 West 47th Street
212-239-6200, manhattantheatreclub.org

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