China Doll
Closed 1h 25m
China Doll

China Doll NYC Reviews and Tickets

(142 Ratings)
Members say
Disappointing, Slow, Confusing, Great acting, Excruciating

About the Show

Al Pacino returns to Broadway in a limited run of a new play by David Mamet about big money, fast planes, a beautiful woman, and other objects of desire.

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Show-Score Member Reviews (142)

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72 Reviews | 15 Followers
Ambitious, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Entertaining, Quirky

See it if You like Al Pacino and you don't care that it's largely a one-man show.

Don't see it if You think listening to only one side of multiple phone conversations would be boring.

73 Reviews | 32 Followers

See it if You are a Pacino fan. It's about two 45 minute acts of dialogue. There is 1 other actor w a few lines to break up the monotony. It's Mamet!

Don't see it if You expect glitz and glam. This show is led by Pacino & one must follow closely to understand the dialogue.

97 Reviews | 102 Followers
Clever, Exquisite, Great acting

See it if you want to see an incredible one man performance !

Don't see it if not open minded to a cleverly stage play

710 Reviews | 252 Followers
Entertaining, Great acting, Cliched, Disappointing, Indulgent

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.

93 Reviews | 36 Followers
Ambitious, Disappointing, Slow, Confusing, Original

See it if A slow story not worthy of Al Pacino. He talks on phone the whole time

Don't see it if If you are looking for this legend to shine

408 Reviews | 86 Followers
Cliched, Disappointing, Underrated

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.

158 Reviews | 201 Followers
Make it stop

See it if You heard the terrible reviews and still need to see Pacino live. Bucket list item ✅ The majority of the dialogue is delivered into a phone

Don't see it if Unless you have to see Pacino live.. The play itself is kinda awful though I am in Finance and really appreciated the compliance plot point

324 Reviews | 70 Followers
Banal, Disappointing, Excruciating, Must see, Indulgent

See it if you are a fan of Al Pacino you are a David Mamet completist you are a playwright (as a case study for what can go wrong from page-to-stage)

Don't see it if you are a fan of Al Pacino

Critic Reviews (40)

The New York Times
December 3rd, 2015

"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."
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Time Out New York
December 3rd, 2015

"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."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
December 3rd, 2015

"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."
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The Wall Street Journal
December 3rd, 2015

"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."
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December 4th, 2015

"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."
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New York Daily News
December 3rd, 2015

"'China Doll' is not even better than oral surgery. At least for that sort of medical procedure you get painkillers. And it’s not a complete waste of time and money...Pacino is Mickey Ross, who’s on his cellphone for three-quarters of the show. Not the stuff of great drama...The entire production hinges on its star attraction…Pacino can’t make Mamet’s malarkey into anything. Some actors can make reading the white pages fascinating. Pacino fails to make phone calls anything but drudgery."
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December 3rd, 2015

"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."
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The Hollywood Reporter
December 3rd, 2015

"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."
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