This year in New York theater, America’s love affair with Great Britain became blush-makingly explicit. At one point this season no fewer than eight new British plays were running on Broadway and Off-Broadway. Thus, New Yorkers were able to indulge openly in an activity they are usually confined to practicing behind closed doors with a consenting public television station: worshipping of the charms and graces of the British stage tradition. Caryl Churchill’s Cloud Nine came to New York over a year ago under the direction of Tommy Tune and never left. Joseph Papp brought David Hare’s Plenty to New York and when it moved uptown to Broadway in January, Churchill’s Top Girls replaced it at the Public Theater. Meanwhile, Julian Mitchell’s Another Country arrived at the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven.

America’s respect for British theater is in no sense inappropriate or...

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