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“An earthbound revival of Guare’s marvelous ‘Six Degrees of Separation’…Mr. Hawkins transforms a fatally mixed-up character into something close to a tragic hero…Ms. Janney is a highly credible Ouisa…The deception of the Kittredges and their society pals always had its farcical elements. But they have been heightened here at the expense of poignancy…It’s a tone that screeches as the play becomes darker, especially in the sequences involving Paul’s gulling of a naïve aspiring actor.” Full Review
“Despite the vitalizing presence of Allison Janney in director Trip Cullman’s elegant revival, ‘Six Degrees of Separation’ lacks the comic bite of the original production…Guare has a great ear for inane small talk, and his conversational dialogue is pitilessly funny…Hawkins is a total charmer who effortlessly inhabits Paul’s preppy persona…Janney’s wicked, smart delivery is perfect for Guare’s witty dialogue. But she’s also uncommonly sensitive to Ouisa’s desperate need for someone to care for.” Full Review
"Guare effectively toys with the audience's sympathy the same way Paul toys with the sympathies of his scam's targets...Though Janney's nailing of Guare's dry zingers is a delight to behold, her subtle unveiling of how the character's experience with Paul, however false, opens her eyes and heart to a world outside her bubble is the finer achievement...Hawkins' convincing contrast of Paul's fictional persona and his streetwise actual self is layered...A brisk and biting production." Full Review
“At the edges, the play has been softened by time and by a production that gets a few things wrong. But at the core, especially in the character of Ouisa as now portrayed by the spectacular Allison Janney, it gets everything right...Cullman emphasizes the traditional theatrical elements as a way of comforting the audience when, I kept feeling, it ought to be afflicted…But even softened slightly as it is in this production, the play’s brutal message to sophisticates, comes through.” Full Review
“Directed with laser precision by Cullman…Corey Hawkins’ performance sparks with charisma and intellectual hyperactivity…It's not hard to see why Ouisa is so mesmerized by Paul and vice versa…'Six Degrees of Separation' feels made for today…The young adults of ‘Six Degrees’ are like portentous omens of the next generation's (i.e. today's) disconnected elite, which Cullman stares down with hilarious absurdity.” Full Review
“Yes, John Guare’s 1990 hit feels dated…And yet, it swings both ways. Guare’s elegant and elegiac social dramedy actually seems startlingly prophetic…Janney is a perfect Ouisa Kittredge: martini-dry and quick with a quip, almost undone by maternal instinct. Hickey flits amusingly about as her art-dealer and husband Flan…Trip Cullman directs with great panache...The cumulative effect, once you get over the retro vibe, is renewed respect for a disquieting, still-rewarding work.” Full Review
“Guare’s social exercise remains witty and wise, yes, but it has added resonance as a glimpse at the recent but clearly distant past. What’s more, the three central performances are equal to what we had in 1990, as unexpected as that may be…Janney is a legit actress with a capital A…Time and again, she elicits audience roars with one-word lines...Janney seizes the stage, and the play, and controls it…The same can be said for Corey Hawkins as Paul...A superlative production." Full Review
“Guare’s merciless observations of our media-driven, shallow society still hold…Trip Cullman’s sharp revival veers close to the edge of slickness in its satiric broad strokes, but never takes the fatal leap…Allison Janney slowly peals back Ouisa’s shell of sophistication to expose the vulnerable, confused woman beneath…A uniformly vibrant and large company…A still-relevant and entertaining play.” Full Review
“It is funny – sometimes very funny — well crafted, coated with a patina of sparkling sophistication, even at times pointed and almost poignant. It’s an enjoyable entertainment. But it does not add up to the significant experience that Allison Janney’s character feels...It does not offer the profound insights that the playwright evidently intends...I couldn’t resist feeling that these stabs at erudition and emotion and symbolism were something of a con.” Full Review
"Deprived of its novelty, one sees more clearly the shaky construction of Guare's script...Guare's comic dialogue still sparkles, but Trip Cullman's direction presses for laughs, discounting the sadness at the play's center. Some performances disappoint...Near the end, a bitterly unhappy Ouisa insists that what she now recognizes as a profound experience not be made into an anecdote; in this production, it comes across as an anecdote." Full Review
“Awkward and noisy and obvious when it’s not confused…As directed by Trip Cullman it now seems to be about the children of privilege as much as their parents. One struggles to drum up interest in any of them…The marvelous Janney seems perfect to take on the role of Ousia but it still seems haunted a bit by Channing’s bravura turn the first time around...It’s not technology that has dated ‘Six Degrees of Separation.’ It’s time.” Full Review
“Cullman's razor-sharp staging serves as a welcome reminder of the fiercely intelligent, pungently funny voice of playwright John Guare at his vintage best…While two sensational performances occupy the play's molten center, the entire large ensemble that surrounds them is on fire. That heat is due in part to Cullman's whiplash pacing...But it also rises from the play itself…It remains a work of stinging satirical brilliance...Hugely entertaining, clever and provocative." Full Review
“Trip Cullman's direction charges the play with the high-energy antics and rapid pace of drawing room farce, much of it too broad…Carefully timed physical business is abundant, like a madcap chase involving the hustler, whose total nudity is a bad choice in search of a cheap laugh. But, as per the script, the tone changes awkwardly with the Rick and Elizabeth sequence, making us unsure about when and when not to laugh…Allison Janney…brings her star radiance to Ouisa.” Full Review
"Cullman’s staging is exemplary, but it’s the play itself that makes the deepest impression...One of the strongest American plays of the postwar era...Everyone acts with the high-keyed, anti-naturalistic histrionics that Mr. Guare favors, and the resulting unanimity of tone serves the play well...You’ll be struck by how fresh and immediate it feels. That’s a pretty good working definition of a classic, which binds past and present together in a web of permanent relevance." Full Review
“Trip Cullman’s dazzling production captures the play’s many qualities as a dizzying farce, a gossipy one-on-one conversation, an attention-grabbing lecture, a drama about personal connection and a disturbing portrait of economic inequality and racial division...Hawkins gives a stunning performance that captures Paul’s dualities: refined and knowledgeable on the outside, wild and sexy underneath. Janney is hilarious, with priceless reactions to the craziness around her.” Full Review
“Though Cullman has enforced ultrasharp pacing, many of the early scenes, nonetheless have a leaden feel…Janney takes a while to build her portrayal, but once she's in the swing of it you can all but see certain embers of perception flare and die within Ouisa…There's no shortage of laughs here, but everything could stand just a little more oomph. But that isn't required for ‘Six Degrees’ to hit its marks, and you walk away from it impressed anew at the power it still wields." Full Review
“A spectacular revival…’Six Degrees’ transcends its particulars and addresses something ineffably human: The terrifying gulf between how we see ourselves and how we need others to see us. That’s a theme for the ages…Hickey brings a powerful sense of irony to Flan…Hawkins is brilliant…Janney is utter conviction in conveying the transformation Paul has unwittingly, unexpectedly brought about in her...It’s only gained in power over the last quarter-century.” Full Review
“Broadway’s crazy good revival of ‘Six Degrees of Separation’ is proof of theater’s enduring impact…Smart, juicy and still-potent…Surrounded by a crack ensemble of Broadway vets and newcomers, the three leads shine…Janney goes from above-it-all to something deeper when Paul’s ruses turn deadly serious...Hawkins is thoroughly convincing and seductive...Cullman’s energizing revival delivers its own thrills...An exhilarating, real-deal staging.” Full Review
“Cullman has satisfyingly teased Guare's agile shift of tone and style into a still-timely and entertaining whole…He's assembled a fine team of actors…Cullman steers the action-packed single act with a steady hand…The rest of the ensemble expertly mines Guare's witty text…The play itself is something of a clever theatrical con game. As staged and performed this time around it's a most entertaining and enjoyable game that deserves a place on your not-to-be-missed list.” Full Review
“Janney gives a performance worthy of comparison to Channing…The clownish quality the children are directed to take does them no favors…The serious turn of events requires a breath and a pause, but it felt like the director kept the action barreling forward. It spirals forward like a car skidding towards a snowbank…It doesn’t crash, but some moments of deep engagement might have been misplaced. It does retain its intimacy though. Throughout.” Full Review
"The stunning revival is an uncomfortably funny reminder that the more things change, the more they stay the same...Much of the play’s humor is in the interactions between the various sets of parents and their children...Janney gives a mesmerizing performance. She’s sharp and fast and funny, but brimming with intelligence and humanity. Her transformation is subtle and slow, but all the more moving for its thoughtfulness." Full Review
"It isn’t often these days that you see a straight play with 18 actors on Broadway, so I salute the producers for bringing us this expensive revival...My biggest complaint about the play is the episode in which 'Paul' cons two young would-be actors from Utah with tragic results. It is an abrupt shift from the satire of the rest of the play. I found director Trip Cullman’s approach to the play generally too broad." Full Review
“Retains its place as one of the great American plays of the late 20th century…Guare’s insightful portrait of that high society survives even Cullman’s far too brash direction of this revival…Cullman directs ‘Six Degrees’ as a not very sophisticated farce, especially in the play’s first half. Janney and Hickey are diverting; they display razor-sharp timing, but they go for the laughs by stressing the characters’ materialism…The broadness of these performances also undercuts the role of Paul.” Full Review
“The 90-minute spree of imagination and acute psychological observation feels even more timely right now…The production, directed with compassion and merciless hilarity by Cullman, has a wonderful, luxuriously large cast, with some actors dropping in for just a few perfectly pitched scenes…The writing is giddy with the excitement of ideas…Yet, for all the interruptions and philosophical tangents, the play and production speed along with both elasticity and tight discipline.” Full Review
"Playwright John Guare’s 27-year-old piece holds just as much bite as it did when it emerged. Sharp satire is enhanced by on-target detail and wry syntax...Allison Janney is splendid, her appreciable comedic talents well showcased...John Benjamin Hickey does a yeoman like job but is miscast...Director Trip Cullman offers an interpretation with black humored snap and imagination. Staging is minimal and sharp-edged. When emotion shows itself, it’s all the more effective." Full Review
See it if you want to be sparked with existential thoughts and questions
Don't see it if you don't enjoy plays that poke fun at young people and have dark themes; you're bothered by full-frontal nudity and sex
See it if you want to see some solid acting in a solid (if time-worn) dramedy that still has some bite and provokes some thought, albeit fleeting.
Don't see it if you saw the original Broadway production which seemed to be a bit edgier and more sympathetic and ethically ambivalent.
See it if you want to see Great Theatre with a Supreme cast of leads. You will regret years from now not seeing Allison Janney's performance at least
Don't see it if No. GO SEE IT before it closes Sunday. It will stimulate you.
See it if you want to see Corey Hawkins superbly play a charming swindler and a fantastic cast and play that will make you think and laugh.
Don't see it if you dislike ambiguous endings, nudity, or speeches about abstract ideas. You can't empathize with con men or rich elites with problems.
See it if you are fascinated by this based-on-RL story of an impostor on UES. Great 1st half (80), not great 2nd (60)=70. Played broadly for laughs.
Don't see it if you find it grating to have college kids played as screeching brats. Or you hate waste: huge 18-actors w/ most lines spoken by 3 of them.
See it if Haven't seen this much Full Frontal Male Nudity since TAKE ME OUT. Seemed a bit gratuitous as did most of the direction. Great cast tho.
Don't see it if Closes Sun. so unless U're willing to see this year's John Guare revival NOW U can always wait for next year's pick? Mostly for Art-lovers.
See it if You want to see wonderful acting from the entire ensemble cast and an especially electric performance from Corey Hawkins.
Don't see it if You want to see a play that's less jumpy in tone - it is very well written but uneven and a bit confusing.
See it if Never saw original staging. Worried memory of lush, fast moving film would overwhelm my experience of the show. Not so. Show was excellent
Don't see it if You expect large hollywood type sets and costuming. Here the dialogue and acting are showcased. Great acting!
See it if you want to see Janney, Hawkins, and cast deliver expert performances. The production is wonderful, but something didn't quite work for me.
Don't see it if you're not in the mood to take a look into the lives of privileged, rich white people. The current climate made the play seem ill-timed.