All's Well That Ends Well
"Ellen Adair, in her first season with the company, is splendid as the plucky Helena. A fresh-faced beauty, Ms. Adair combines girlish modesty with the passion and wiles of a determined go-getter. It is Helena who comes up with the double ring switch and the bed trick that gets her pregnant and ultimately ensnares her runaway, adulterous husband. She’s no dummy.
...The cast, some of whom appear in multiple roles, brings verve and nuance to characters that might, in lesser hands, veer toward the generic. …You can’t help loving this show."
-Naomi Seigel, The New York Times
"Thank the stars for the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, which has once again reinforced its reputation for solving the Bard's "problem plays," this time with a novel production featuring just nine actors. Along the way, they introduce a lovely young actress who brings a glowing presence to Madison.
Ellen Adair, who lights up the stage as Helena, is just one of the actors in this downsized ensemble ably led by director Stephen Fried…
Though her character's behavior is at times equally suspect, the radiant Adair is much more successful at tugging our heartstrings. You can see her hands tremble as she reads a troubling letter, and you can see the heartbreak and shame on her face when her plan to win Bertram's heart falls apart.
She also has a sly, dry wit that helps lighten the mood and reminds everyone that this story is best enjoyed when it's not taken too seriously.
Adair's resume includes extensive classical theater credits, including many in the Boston area. Here's hoping we get to see a lot more of her in the Garden State."
- William Westhoven, Daily Record
"the lead role of Helena, a young woman, the daughter of a lowly doctor who has been raised by a Countess is a star turn for Ellen Adair. Adair, who is making her Shakespeare Theatre debut, is marvelous as the young woman..."
- Rick Busciglio, New Jersey Examiner
"On the surface, there’s not much to like in the characters of either Helena or Bertram, depending on how they’re played. Is she a scheming, conniving female or a wronged young woman? There’s a bit of both, but Adair plays her most sympathetically. She is also capable of a range of powerful emotions, from tenderness to utter anguish. ….As expected of this company, the entire cast does a marvelous job getting the most out of a nettlesome play. …You won’t get many chances to see a production of this play, which can easily trip up a lesser troupe. We’re fortunate to have the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey meeting the challenge."
– Bob Brown, Central Jersey
"the cast projects an infectious delight... Their joyful performances delightfully lift our spirits over the play's sometimes dolorous content.
Ellen Adair is an engagingly outgoing and energetically upbeat Helena. …Shakespeare Theatre's All's Well That Ends Well is quite special."
–Bob Rendell, Talkin’ Broadway
"The acting is excellent...[including] the attractive Ellen Adair as Helena."
–Deirdre Donovan, theatrescene.net
"Helena, played with a forthright flair by Ellen Adair"
-Liz Keill, Independent Press
"Ellen Adair and Clifton Duncan, both newcomers to Madison, play the mismatched lovers with intensity."
–Stuart Duncan, New Jersey Newsroom
"Ellen Adair’s inherent enthusiasm and confidence as Helena simultaneously wins over a skeptical king and the Madison audience."
-Peter Filichia, The Star-Ledger
"The heroine, Helena, is played with earnest eagerness by Ellen Adair in a performance so charming that we almost forgive her scheming to entrap Bertram in a marriage he doesn’t want. …you’ll be knocked out by the stylish staging and top-notch acting of nine actors who play 22 characters… Outstanding performances are turned in across the board."
– Ruth Ross, NJ Arts
Clifton Duncan as Bertram, Tamara Tunie as the Countess, and Ellen Adair as Helena