REVIEW ROUNDUP: “The House That Will Not Stand” Opened with a ShowScore of 78

Show-Score | Jul 31, 2018
“The House That Will Not Stand,” written by Marcus Gardley and directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz, opened on July 30, 2018 in New York City. “The House That Will Not Stand,” written by Marcus Gardley and directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz, opened on July 30, 2018 in New York City.


13 critics reviewed the show, resulting in a weighted average of 76.

Ben Brantley
The New York Times
ShowScore: 65
"Drums are what herald two extraordinary monologues in this densely packed, erratic comic drama, directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz. Their percussive insistence shapes two separate instances when both a character and the play that has hitherto confined her soar into a stratosphere of freedom...You may find it difficult to sort out all the rivalries and counterplots festering among these women...Gardley’s fondness for metaphor can sometimes strangle what should be simple exposition."
Zachary Stewart
ShowScore: 70
"Between its supernatural tone and outsize feminine sexuality, the play often verges on camp. While Gardley's storytelling occasionally digresses, he still proves himself one of the great theatrical practitioners of historical fiction by depicting a little-discussed era of American history...Like a practitioner of theatrical voodoo, director Lileana Blain-Cruz succeeds at conjuring an ideal atmosphere for magic and mayhem."
Frank Scheck
The Hollywood Reporter
ShowScore: 60
"This poetical drama infused with supernatural elements boasts rich language and colorful imagination. But its narrative clunkiness is very much on display...The drama possesses many arresting lyrical elements, but Gardley never makes them cohere...The evening's tone shifts uneasily from floridly melodramatic to a near sitcom-style level of broad humor...The end result proves frustrating; the work's thoughtful and provocative aspects are undercut by its stiltedly artificial ones."

“The House That Will Not Stand” was also reviewed by Sara Holdren of New York Magazine / Vulture, David Roberts of Theatre Reviews Limited, Jonathan Mandell of New York Theater, David Hurst of Talkin' Broadway, Michael Sommers of New York Stage Review, Robert Sholiton of Gotham Playgoer, Robert Hofler of The Wrap, David Finkle of New York Stage Review, Brian Scott Lipton of CitiTour, and Helen Shaw of Time Out New York.


The show was also reviewed by 72 Show-Score members, whose collective ShowScore is a weighted average of 79.

Top five adjectives describing the show:
Great acting, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Ambitious, Great writing

Nathaniel R, ShowScore: 87
See it if…"You value women's stories and smart riffs on literary classics. Really funny and moving story of free women of color during US slavery." 
Don't see it if…"You need short plays or musicals or don't like thinking about America's troubled racial and gender-discriminating history."
Stephi L, ShowScore: 98
See it if… "You like plays ultra-rich in literature, history, local culture; Southern Gothic tradition; early African American authors; Wide Sargasso Sea." 
Don't see it if… "You want clear good/bad guys, to relax and not be on the edge of seat the entire time; dislike shows inspired by numerous literary sources."
GreatAvi, ShowScore: 78 
See it if… "You like to learn about an interesting time in our history through an engaging (though borrowed) story, presented via a beautiful production."
Don't see it if…"You dislike the unevenness of poetic and mundane dialog, and a feeling of deja-vu and self-absorption that runs through this whole production."

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.