22 critics reviewed the show, resulting in a weighted average of 76.
The New York Times
"Am I boring you? Sorry, but don’t blame me, I’m just trying to be an honest reporter...Mr. Pierce is usually good company, even when his material is less than first rate. But here’s he’s just…company...The play has been directed with minimal fuss by Ms. Kauffman, a specialist in adventurous theater, but it falls between the schools of realism and what might be called theatrical existentialism...While you can scan the play’s surface for larger meanings, watching it isn’t particularly rewarding."
"Bock leans heavily on the element of surprise, which director Kauffman successfully exploits to the fullest. She lulls us into a false sense of complacency before completely blindsiding us...Pierce gives one of the most physically committed performances I've ever witnessed onstage...Bock's commitment to soul-shaking naturalism is reminiscent of Émile Zola at his darkest, conveying a vision of life that is so frightening precisely because we know it to be completely truthful."
"David Hyde Pierce is giving a quietly devastating performance in 'A Life,' Adam Bock’s meditative one-act play about the meaning and implicit value of a human life...Bock is scrupulous in the language he uses to reveal Nate’s indecisive character...Director Kauffman stages those events that intrude on his placid existence with a sense of high drama and implacable finality. For his part, Pierce keeps his distance and lets her do what has to be done. It’s a rewarding collaboration all around."
“A Life” was also reviewed by Doug Marino of Act Three - The Reviews, Brian Scott Lipton of CitiTour, Robert Feldberg of NorthJersey.com, Steven Suskin of The Huffington Post, Loren Noveck of Exeunt Magazine, Robert Sholiton of Bob's Theater Blog, Marilyn Lester of Theater Pizzazz, Robin Riegelhaupt of Reviewing The Drama, Steven Ross of Front Mezz Junkies, Jennifer Farrar of The Associated Press, Robert Hofler of The Wrap, Robert Kahn of WNBC, Elyse Sommer of CurtainUp, Linda Winer of Newsday, Joe Dziemianowicz of New York Daily News, Jesse Green of New York Magazine / Vulture, Matthew Murray of Talkin' Broadway, Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter, and Adam Feldman of Time Out New York.
The show was also reviewed by 53 Show-Score members, whose collective ShowScore is a weighted average of 78.
Top five adjectives describing the show:
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Ambitious, Intelligent
See it if…"You like ambitious (in both content and form) plays that leave you with a lot to think about."
Don't see it if…"You don't like anything remotely experimental and can't be left with unresolved points or more questions than you came in with."
See it if…"You like charming plays that also make you think about life and love. Great acting along with writing that brings characters to life."
Don't see it if…"You want spectacle or 'drama.' Here, you get a man recounting his lovers and reflecting on his life, inspiring audience self-reflection."
See it if…"You want to be challenged by theatre. I loved this play. But it was certainly different. Maybe not for everybody. David Hyde Pierce is BRILLIANT."
Don't see it if…"You don't lean towards enjoying the experimental. I strongly suspect it's a lot about what each audience member brings to the experience."
See the Show Page with all critic and member reviews.
Note: The ShowScore displayed above is current as of right now, and may be different from the ShowScore when the article was published.