Reviews

I Was Improvising, Which Everybody Just Loves

Over the course of three plays—Asuncion, The Revisionist, and The Spoils—Jesse Eisenberg has established himself as the premier satirist of guilt-ridden, ineffectual American liberalism.  His work is littered with a gaggle of narcissistic, white idiots, and Happy Talk, his latest, is no exception.  This is the first of his plays in which Eisenberg does not […]

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Reviews

Bad Chemistry

With his debut play, Hamish Linklater has written a generous work, one that offers substantial roles to all eight of its actors.  Like its title, the stage of The Whirligig spins round and round, unfolding a series of scenes in the lives of those who are in one way or another connected to Julie (Grace Van Patten), a drug […]

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Reviews

A Bit Less Tidy Around the Edges

Ten years after the premiere of his play, Midnight in a Clearing with Moon and Stars, Robert (Matthew Broderick) gets together with his cast and crew at their old haunt, the Talk House.  Robert and his star, Tom (Larry Pine), have moved on to a sitcom, Tony and Company.  Producer Bill (Michael Tucker) has become a talent agent, […]

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Reviews

Recognizing the Bones Underneath

Dodge (Ed Harris) sits in his living room, smoking cigarettes, sneaking whiskey, and violently emptying his lungs into a handkerchief.  From upstairs, his wife Halie (Amy Madigan) shouts down to him: about the rain, the religious implications of taking medication (“There’s some things the ministers can’t even answer”), and whether they ever raced thoroughbreds on Sunday.  She […]

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Reviews

How Do You Not Like Me?

Jesse Eisenberg has gotten angrier.  His first play, Asuncion, was a merciless takedown of white, liberal politics, but at its center was a genuinely warm if dysfunctional love story.  His follow-up, The Revisionist, was admittedly colder, pitting a self-absorbed, pretentious writer against a savvy, Polish Holocaust survivor.  But The Spoils, now being produced by The New Group at […]

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Reviews

How We Used to Be

Larissa (Gretchen Mol) is a terrible person, though that is only gradually revealed in The Good Mother, Francine Volpe’s ironically titled new play currently running at the Acorn Theatre.  A former wayward youth, Larissa is now in her mid-thirties, single, with a child, and reinserting herself into the life of Joel (Mark Blum), her high […]

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Reviews

Jews, Booze, Hookers, and Incest

Erika Sheffer’s Russian Transport doesn’t quite know what kind of play it wants to be.  It begins by straddling the line between comedy and tragedy, setting up jokes that aren’t especially funny and scenarios that are dramatically ambiguous.  But the ambiguity feels as if it comes from an unsure or incomplete script, not one that […]

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