Playboy of the Western World
at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival
"[Jim] Christy's production stands out in that flirting dialogue between the young man whose claim to fame is murder (Shawn Fagan, a captivating actor with striking vulnerability) and the barkeep who becomes his boss (Ellen Adair, an alluring charmer and Fagan's match)."
–Howard Shapiro, Philadelphia Inquirer
"Directed by James Christy, the cast deftly mines the pathos of these eccentric Irish villagers, with an honesty, wit and charm. ...As the plot unfurls, we meet the inn-keeper’s daughter, Pegeen Mike, played with an appealing charm by Ellen Adair. ...The growing intensity of these two young lovers’ innocence and passionate ardour keeps the plot going. Adair and Fagan are a perfect pair. Adair is an extraordinarily gifted and exciting actor to watch as she lights up the stage with eyes that reflect her growing infatuation. Adair’s Pegeen is a creature ruled by her volatile emotions and reckless temper, which eventually brings on her doom."
–Myra Yellin, The Morning Call
"In Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s season-opening production, director James J. Christy and a superb cast led by the spirited Ellen Adair, as Margaret Flaherty, and the inestimable Shawn Fagan, as Christy Mahon, “Playboy” achieves tragic proportions that resonate with you long after the tragicomedy has concluded. …Margaret, nicknamed Pegeen Mike, goes about tidying and lighting the ceiling lamps (very athletically and gracefully, it should be noted, with Adair stepping from a tavern table to a stool), all the while making light, you might say, of her suitor, Shawn Keogh (Jacob R. Dresch)."
–Paul Willistein, The Press, Focus Feature
"The performances were fluid, charming and natural, despite the challenging Irish Brogue dialect. Of particular note was Ellen Adair, who, as Pegeen Mike, caught my sympathy and my humor."
–Jeffrey Jones, Kutztown to Allentown
"Christy also can't help falling for Pegeen Mike (Ellen Adair), Flaherty's pretty daughter, who manages the pub. ...During the play, Pegeen Mike wears a black, knitted shawl. She often wraps it daintily around her waist. But in the play's final seconds, she wears it differently. And in that moment, all the anguish and hilarity that combine to make Ireland what it once was erupts in a wail as if expelled from the depths of hell."
-George Hatza, Reading Eagle