3-1/2 Stars – “‘Frost Nixon'” dazzling, humorous & timely” – Ben Siegel, The Buffalo News

by Ben Siegel, Published March 2, 2019

Theater is at its best when it uses history to illuminate current times. A great historical play reminds us … that corruption is a timeless craft, that it’s always the cover-up that will get you, and that politics is all optics.

Peter Morgan’s “Frost/Nixon” checks all of these boxes, and in a dazzling new production at Irish Classical Theatre, provides great entertainment, too.

The play recounts the planning and execution of one of the greatest interviews in television history – a four-part series with British journalist David Frost and Richard Nixon … The first of those specials, focused on the Watergate scandal, drew a record-breaking 45 million viewers – still the largest television audience for a political interview – and contained Nixon’s infamous admission …that “when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.” …

As Nixon, Jack Hunter is disarmingly personable, sometimes even cute … a portrait of a fallen man desperate to win back anyone’s trust and maybe affection. In Hunter’s successful pursuit of something new and revelatory, he is this well-prepared production’s biggest triumph.

Adriano Gatto’s Frost … wants to make great television more than anything … Gatto plays both public and private sides with great compensation, both the slick and the small. And he can interrupt Hunter’s Nixon like no other. They are a formidable match.

The rest of this cast is pitch-perfect … Peter Palmisano and Matt Witten are resolute and stern, while David Lundy and Ray Boucher are unreservedly funny. Adam Yellen, in his signature way, pokes and prods the action along with a heavy wink …

Flawless design from Tom Makar on sound, Kari Drozd on costumes, and Susan Drozd on hair …

Director Brian Cavanagh’s staging is fun and inventive …

A raised center platform serves as a pedestal for our appointment viewing; discussions on the perimeter seem to reserve major action for the center ring. Cavanagh’s sexy lighting rekindles the alluring glow of 1970s television …

It’s interesting to note that in 2019, the play feels more immediate than it must have in its 2006 debut, or even its 2008 film adaptation, before it would catch up to our very current reality – the one that makes Watergate look like a quaint flub. There’s no precedent for what’s currently unfolding, but at least there are reminders.

Read full review here.