14 critics reviewed the show, resulting in a weighted average of 63.
The New York Times
"While 'The Whirligig' offers treats for fans of in-the-moment acting, its moments fail to cohere...Linklater has done a great job in furnishing the interiors of his characters’ lives, but the teetering structure they inhabit creaks...By the end, you may feel as if that set had nearly been spun off its axis. But you’ll also be unlikely to forget the moments in which time seemed to stand still, when the cast fully embodied the script’s insights about the hunger for and consequences of self-medication."
"Linklater creates great roles for talented actors, and this cast just happens to be full of them...We are glad to get to know these characters so intimately, but the price is a script that often feels shaggy and overburdened by ancillary details. Linklater could stand to trim some of his dialogue, even if this cast is doing an excellent job of selling it all...Director Scott Elliott's tidy production also helps to keep the play from getting stuck in a rut."
"'That’s a lot to digest,' a character says in 'The Whirligig.' After the many plot revelations and chronology-scrambling jumps of Hamish Linklater’s new play, the audience may be inclined to agree...The cast mostly rises to the challenge and is comfortable with the tonal shifts...Scott Elliott stages this production smoothly, considering the constant, challenging changes in setting and timeline...Too bad the big picture that emerges lacks the needed emotional payoff."
“The Whirligig” was also reviewed by Max McGuinness of Financial Times (UK), Jonathan Mandell of New York Theater, Sandi Durell of Theater Pizzazz, Marilyn Stasio of Variety, Brian Scott Lipton of CitiTour, Howard Miller of Talkin' Broadway, Robert Hofler of The Wrap, Jeremy Gerard of Deadline, Joe Dziemianowicz of New York Daily News, Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter, and Adam Feldman of Time Out New York.
The show was also reviewed by 38 Show-Score members, whose collective ShowScore is a weighted average of 76.
Top five adjectives describing the show:
Great acting, Absorbing, Great staging, Quirky, Slow
See it if…"A play that examines the ripple effects of addiction (in various forms) interests you. Every character in this show is broken and hurting."
Don't see it if…"You hate plays that gut-punch you emotionally in the first act, but decidedly shift to a Lifetime movie-like narrative in the second act."
See it if…"You love Norbert Leo Butz, funny plays that also have something to say, nifty staging, and a well-written script. Terrific set. Good lighting."
Don't see it if…"You insist on a linear timeline. I love time jumps, but I did have trouble keeping the young male actors separate. Worth seeing."
See it if…"You love Norbert Leo Butz because he's giving an amazing performance. It's an OK play with an OK cast with OK writing. Act 2 is FAR better."
Don't see it if…"You want an amazing play. It's less than stellar and kind of cliche and banal. They attempt and, at points, nail a phenomenal show. Big miss."
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.