See it if You love Mamet, even at his weakest, or will see anything with Pacino.
Don't see it if You disliked Mamet's last few plays.
See it if you've always wanted to see Al Pacino make a lot of phone calls.
Don't see it if you can't handle a SUPER slow burn for a SUPER small payoff.
See it if you want to see Al Pacino on stage
Don't see it if any but Al Pacino is doing the role. It was clearly written for him and only him. Not much of a show in gereral
See it if You are an Al Pacino fan ! This is close to being a monologue.
Don't see it if You only want to see a traditionally constructed play.
See it if This is hardly a masterpiece, but it wasn't as bad as people made it out. I saw it late in the run and it held my interest. Pacino was good.
Don't see it if This will be looked back on as a total flop and failure. But at least that makes this unremarkable play memorable now.
See it if You want to see Pacino looking like a homeless person in expensive clothes.
Don't see it if You want to understand what's going on, get value for your $ or be engaged by the story.
See it if you want to see Al Pacino have a one-sided conversation for two hours straight.
Don't see it if you want to see a compelling, complex play.
See it if you really, really, REALLY love Al Pacino.
Don't see it if You want a very slow show. The WHOLE show has no real plot. You want to see Al fall asleep on stage and barley hear him. DON'T WASTE MONEY.
"Christopher Denham is the most underpaid actor on Broadway…He is onstage for almost the entire show. So is — pause for ominous silence — Al Pacino. Now please cue sound effects of chalk scratching on countless blackboards and the ping, ping, ping of an endlessly dripping faucet, and you have some idea of what Mr. Denham must be going through...Mr. Pacino’s lurching, stammering performance is not easy to follow in terms of content, character or subtext."
"Two hours of bullshit....Have you ever had the desire to watch Pacino at home, arguing with AppleCare Plus? You are in luck...'China Doll' offers the sad spectacle of two world-class artists turning in their lamest work. The play is crammed with backstory and padded with an interminable series of phone calls. Pacino, wobbly on his lines, dithers without the vocal snap and drive that Mamet—even late, third-rate Mamet—needs."
"The story is rigged to make Mickey, of all people, a victim…As the basis of a drama it’s disastrous...How much can one care about the machinations of the super-rich…? Perhaps what Mamet is getting at is hubris, the self-knowledge that comes only when it can do no good. If so, the production, clearly hamstrung by the script’s severe limitations, barely acknowledges the possibility, with its stuttering pace and sudden botch of a final curtain."
"A smug but pointless exercise stretched over two hours and enlivened only by the occasional incisive political zinger…This is a far-fetched scenario whose scant credibility escapes it like air out of an unknotted balloon, landing with a splat in a preposterous ending that doesn’t work at all… Although the Pacino as always is a unique stage animal, he's giving a lazy performance without much heart."
"There’s material for maybe a one-act in this overblown character study...Mamet loves writing this kind of savage dialogue and Pacino loves delivering it..Pacino can handle Mickey’s lightning mood changes and even charm (and con) us...What he can’t do is play all the characters who are integral, but aren’t actually on stage...Let’s face it, that’s the job of a playwright committed to writing a legitimate play, instead of phoning it in."
"A strongly wrought story of considerable moral complexity, one that will hold your attention all the way to the brutal end… Not only is the premise of 'China Doll' involving, but Mr. Mamet is once again coining the bright, hard utterances that are his trademark…I never felt that Pacino was at ease with his lines. Especially in the first act, his pace is much slower than you expect it to be...In his best moments he’s as richly characterful as ever."
"David Mamet’s ghastly 'China Doll' is the worst thing I’ve seen on a professional New York stage since the ill-fated 'Moose Murders.' On the disaster meter, it might be even worse...Neither he nor the play makes one lick of sense, including the title...What is it doing on Broadway, and what did we do to deserve it?"
"Plays depending on phone conversations with unseen participants are almost always a bad idea, and 'China Doll' is no exception. However, bad as it is (and worse still after the intermission), 'China Doll' has one major asset, and that is the star’s unrequited commitment. It may be a dopey play that keeps tripping over its MEGO-inducing minutiae, but Pacino delivers every line with relish, with mustard, onions, the works."