16 critics reviewed the show, resulting in a weighted average of 76.
The New York Times
"Beautifully acted double bill...The way Stephens lets dread creep into the story like morning light, and grow until it fills the otherwise nearly empty stage, makes this a ripping yarn in more ways than one...It may be that Mr. Payne was too close to the material to let it go where it needed to...But even if 'A Life' is a bit of a comedown from “Sea Wall,” the two make smart companions."
"The writing in these separate monologues is excellent, as are the solo performances by Tom Sturridge and Jake Gyllenhaal. But this is no show to see on a first date...There’s pleasure to be had at the sound of pretty prose, and it’s a joy to watch two fine actors perform in flawless character. But it might take a couple of stiff drinks to get the ashen taste of death out of your mouth."
The Hollywood Reporter
"It's a subject to which all of us can sadly relate, making the evening as painfully harrowing as it is engrossing...The plays are subtly linked in terms of language as well as subject matter...Staged in appropriately minimalist and powerful fashion by Carrie Cracknell on a mostly bare stage, the superbly acted double-bill provides a vital reminder that life is all too fleeting."
“Sea Wall/A Life” was also reviewed by Kerenssa Cadenas of Entertainment Weekly, Jesse Oxfeld of New York Stage Review, Melissa Rose Bernardo of New York Stage Review, Barbara Schuler of Newsday, Chris Jones of Chicago Tribune, Howard Miller of Talkin' Broadway, David Cote of The Observer, Jake Nevins of The Guardian (UK), Greg Evans of Deadline, Tim Teeman of Daily Beast, Robert Hofler of The Wrap, Brian Scott Lipton of CitiTour, and Matt Windman of AM New York.
The show was also reviewed by 31 Show-Score members, whose collective ShowScore is a weighted average of 80.
Top five adjectives describing the show:
Great acting, Absorbing, Intense, Thought-provoking, Great writing
See it if… "You want to see two excellent actors doing two beautifully written monologues."
Don't see it if…"Powerful messages of life and death are too intense to listen to."
See it if… "You enjoy deep storylines and great acting."
Don't see it if…"You don’t like monologues and slow moving stories." DBF203, ShowScore: 90
Don't see it if…"Simple stationary staging, single performer monologues, and cerebral plays are not for you."
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.