Aaron Botwick

Aaron Botwick is a critic with scribicide. This account has been auto-generated, and does not indicate that this person is an active member of Show-Score.com. That said, if you "follow" this member, you will automatically be updated whenever s/he writes a new review.

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Reviews (123)
Toni Stone
Midtown W
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"April Matthis owns the stage...Unfortunately, Diamond's play does not make full use of its fascinating source material. Outside of Toni's narration, the scenes are routine and predictable, often concluding with overwritten, summative monologues." Full Review

Handbagged
Midtown E
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"For Buffini, Thatcher is a scholarship kid ever-nursing the bruises sustained from her Oxbridge colleagues. For many of us, however, she was simply a monster, leaving a legacy of stubborn imperialism, privatization of public services, and weakened trade unions. Though critiques of Thatcher are lobbed through occasional interjections from minor characters, she insists on choosing 'what is spoken about here,' and for the most part, 'Handbagged' respects her control over the conversation." Full Review

Octet
Midtown W
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"Malloy doesn't know where to go with this material, and the structure soon becomes tiresome, monotonous...In this, 'Octet' bears an odd resemblance to 'Cats'; it strikes me as closer to a concert than a fully-realized drama. And while the work is not quite as pointless as Webber's, it suffers from a similar lack of cohesion." Full Review

Happy Talk
Midtown W
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"Over the course of three plays...Jesse Eisenberg has established himself as the premier satirist of guilt-ridden, ineffectual American liberalism. His work is littered with a gaggle of narcissistic, white idiots, and 'Happy Talk,' his latest, is no exception...As for the mashup of domestic comedy and domestic thriller, I hope this portends new directions for Eisenberg's future work." Full Review

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"The dominant color in Lear's court is gold; a porcelain bulldog and lion straddle the throne. These choices, with their whiff of Art Deco, are no doubt topical, though never fully explored: the text, about the dissolution of ancient Britain, doesn't really speak to our current political moment, and that's okay. Not all our theater has to try and solve Trump. If it does, he wins." Full Review

All My Sons
Midtown W
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"Jack O'Brien's production is somewhat safe and predictable: it feels very much like reading rather than seeing the play, and there is no indication that this 'All My Sons' is all that different from one that could have been staged ten or twenty or even thirty years ago. At a time when questions of economic and criminal justice are fertile ground for theatrical exploration, O'Brien's take is just a tad complacent." Full Review

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"It is messy as hell and an indisputable work of genius." Full Review

Burn This
Midtown W
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"Despite its adoration by acting students, Wilson's play is nothing special...Worse, however, is the absolute lack of chemistry between Driver and Russell. The script indicates an animalistic attraction, one that is equal parts alluring and frightening. But their relationship appears out of nowhere, without much warning or conviction, and moves at an unconvincing speed." Full Review

The White Devil
West Village
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"Unfortunately, while the cast is strong, full of booming voices well-suited to the outsized action, the direction is not tight enough, causing the production to lag, a fatal flaw in the high-adrenaline atmosphere of Jacobean revenge tragedy...Ultimately, this 'White Devil' is missing the life that would bring the necessary urgency to its many, many deaths." Full Review

White Noise
East Village
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"[A]bsent, for the most part, is the formal experimentation she is famous for: the decidedly nonmimetic dialogue and action, the musicality of the words (Parks is also a singer, songwriter, and guitarist). But few playwrights have wielded as much control, as much precision over their language as she, and really, it should come as no surprise that Parks can effortlessly produce the conventional, too, but with the kind of emotional wallop that this dried-up form rarely sees anymore." Full Review

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"[T]here's something about 'Ain't Too Proud' that distinguishes it from most jukebox musicals. All of the leads have been with the show since June, and there is a real sense of familiarity among the actors, of hard-won love, of having lived, fought, and performed with one another." Full Review

Fleabag
Soho/Tribeca
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"Phoebe-Waller, then, manages quite the balancing act. In the intimate SoHo Playhouse, she rarely moves from a stool at the center of the stage, and there is a palpable sense of community, of the audience participating through its laughter, like ritual catharsis. Yet the story is one of loneliness: it involves suicide, infidelity, broken relationships, broken marriages, and broken families." Full Review

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"One gets the feeling the production is motivated by nothing but deference to O'Casey as an enshrined and canonized playwright, and nothing sinks a classical revival like obedience to - rather than conversation with - the text." Full Review

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"Lynn Nottage's 'By the Way, Meet Vera Stark' begins as a funny and pertinent critique of white Hollywood and its persistent boxing-in of Black actors...Unfortunately, Nottage muddles her purpose with some bizarre tonal choices." Full Review

Behind the Sheet
Midtown W
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"There is a historical re-enactment quality to 'Behind the Sheet,' as if Simpson did not allow her imagination enough freedom, as if she deferred too much to her research." Full Review

Slave Play
East Village
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"'Slave Play' is rich and lively and exciting, instructive but not didactic, hopeful but not comforting. It's the best new play this year." Full Review

Network (NYC)
Midtown W
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""The other characters-his best friend Max (Tony Goldwyn), his lover Diana (Tatiana Maslany)-are just as poorly drawn, and the result is eerily inhuman, even as the dehumanizing effects of technology seems to be one of the very subjects of the play. In other words, 'Network' reproduces the very phenomenon it is ostensibly challenging. It is a satire in which everyone seems angry except the writer." Full Review

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"'The Waverly Gallery' is a serviceable tearjerker...But the real strength of this production is its performers." Full Review

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"Doyle offers no clear vision here, no comparison that might prove genuinely insightful...Now, there is surely rich material to be conceived about the parallels between Hitler and Trump. This half-hearted, rudderless noise is not it." Full Review

King Kong (NYC)
Midtown W
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"Anyone complaining about the music in 'King Kong' is missing the point...Some of the most impressive stagecraft I have seen in years. At twenty feet and two thousand pounds, Kong is massive, towering over the stage while still registering subtle fluctuations in emotion through his brow, his nose, his upper lip. Of course, he roars, too, and thunderously so, but it's the level of detail at such a large scale that is most breathtaking." Full Review

The Ferryman (NYC)
Midtown W
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"As melodrama, then, 'The Ferryman' is crackerjack theater, riveting for most of its three-hour-plus runtime. But as a reflection on national themes, I'm not quite sure it holds up." Full Review

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"There is a kind of intuitive sense, then, in using Dylan's songs for a not-quite-jukebox-musical about the Great Depression...And the result is sincere and moving, a lovely little melodrama. In 'Girl from the North Country,' we hear snatches of Dylan rather than full renditions, creating a greater sense of fluidity between music and speech while also avoiding the pitfall of reverse engineering the narrative from the lyrics." Full Review

The Nap (Broadway)
Midtown W
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"This story of the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield is just dull, a non-entity, a play that was written on autopilot." Full Review

Heartbreak House
Midtown W
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"Such a strong conceptual setup, and such a weak follow-up, reeks of gimmickry. Furthermore, without a strong guiding vision, much of the action feels static, despite an abundance of hijinks." Full Review

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"It is the 'Scary Movie' of postwar American theater." Full Review

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"[T]he current revival at the Delacorte Theater is full of effortless speech, a rarity in Shakespearean performance. The cast is clearly having a blast-their good cheer is contagious-and they deliver their dialogue with an easy fluency that gives the jokes room to breathe." Full Review

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"Shannon is ideal casting for the role; he has the aura of someone whose failure to deviate from any kind of normality is profoundly weird...McDonald, too, is spectacular, making choices that minimize her physical presence; she is always tucking into herself, as if with enough effort she could eventually disappear from view." Full Review

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"With almost a century of postcolonial struggle that followed 'The Plough and the Stars' - including, of course, the recent border issues raised by Brexit -the safe and conservative choices by Moore feel practically anemic." Full Review

Mac Beth
Upper E Side
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for a previous production "Her experiment is largely successful. The central conceit is well-earned, intuitive rather than gimmicky. 'Mac Beth,' after all, is obsessed with how action rather than biology can denote gender." Full Review

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"For anyone conversant with Shepard, the terrain is familiar and rewarding. The language is beautiful and the action hypnotic." Full Review

Ink
Midtown W
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"There is a lot to like here: the lighting design by Neil Austin favors highly stylized darkness and spotlights...and Bunny Christie's set design is spectacular, largely made up of a pile of desks that ascends to the Friedman's ceiling like a journalistic Iron Throne...But Graham's script does not quite know what to do with this pair...[he] can't figure out who is Mephistopheles and who is Faust." Full Review

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"'Hadestown' is the best new musical I have seen in years...overflowing with rich, lively music...The act-one closer, 'Why We Build the Wall,' was written long before our current national nightmare and yet describes it with more elegance than any attempt I have seen to account for Trump on stage." Full Review

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"This 'Oklahoma!'...is predicated on intimacy: intimacy between audience and actors but also between characters. Absent the vivid color of the 1955 film adaptation, this muted, bare-bones revival keeps reminding us that on the eve of statehood, Oklahoma was sparse. Every boy is the boy next door, beau and predator alike." Full Review

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"Unfortunately, this Frankenstein's monster doesn't quite cohere...The relationship between performer and audience strictly preacher-choir. Though the president is never named, his influence on the court haunts the entire proceedings, and we get to boo and hiss at recognizable villains like Antonin Scalia. Perhaps this has a cathartic effect for some, but for me, in the context of a Broadway theater, the applause felt empty and self-congratulatory." Full Review

Ain't No Mo'
East Village
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"Cooper is asking important questions: To what degree is Black America inseparable from the white supremacy that helped shape it? To what degree is white America inseparable from its racist violence? The two are intertwined in a destructive but also intimate relationship; is flight even possible anymore?" Full Review

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"[T]he production is first-rate from top to bottom. O'Hara's voice is robust and clear as glass, while Chase's performance in the play-within-a-play is so merry and effortless that I'd like to see him tackle Petruchio next; imagine Errol Flynn if he were fluent in Shakespeare's language." Full Review

Daddy
Midtown W
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"For Harris, intimacy and menace are never far apart, and in only a few short months, it has become patently clear that he is one of the most exciting and challenging new playwrights on the New York stage." Full Review

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“The problem, though, is that Fiasco, in abbreviating the work, never gives us time to know these characters...Ultimately, however, we never bond with Frank, Charley, and Mary quite like they bond with one another; in fact, we never really learn what they like about each other in the first place. Because of its scope, and because of the cathartic potential of the material, I still hold out hope that ‘Merrily’ will someday find its final, satisfying version. But this is not it." Full Review

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""It flatters one's illusions that racism as a phenomenon is southern and poor, surely not part of the lives of a Clinton-voting Broadway crowd. Alabama, the state that recently almost elected a pedophile to the U.S. Senate, is an easy bugaboo and one that excuses us from self-examination; we are assured there is no Bob Ewell in any of us." Full Review

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"[L]oneliness itself [is] the subject of Tarell Alvin McCraney's sweet, simple, and moving Broadway debut." Full Review

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"Still, Boothe is excellent in the title role, sharp and cynical and commanding, hiding her vulnerability behind a veneer of bravado; her energy never flags as Undine slowly resettles into a life of modest sincerity. But ultimately the material is unambitious, making 'Fabulation' an enjoyable if somewhat unremarkable evening of theater." Full Review

The Hard Problem
Upper W Side
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"The cast is admirable, and it's a testament to their talent that 'The Hard Problem' is never boring. But it is absent of drama, the characters just an excuse for their intellectual positions. It feels a little like an earnestly-written essay dressed up in the conventions of a play." Full Review

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"Will Eno's terrific new play...is a sort of anti-TED talk, a rambling lecture that embarks on a series of digressions but never reaches anything like a point." Full Review

Eve's Song
East Village
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"'Eve's Song,' then, is a menacing comedy if not a comedy of menace, eliciting the kind of giddy laughter that anticipates terror." Full Review

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"'Lifespan'... packag[es] its epistemological ruminations in a brisk and entertaining show that plays to its actors' strengths without straining too much intellectually." Full Review

On Beckett
Chelsea
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"'This is like practicing scales,' Irwin says, pulling up his oversized pants and effortlessly slouching into his schlemiel posture. I could listen to it all day." Full Review

Salome
Brooklyn
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"'Salomé' is an underproduced play and deserves a thoughtful revival, one that in many ways could resemble M-34's. But it would need a stronger directorial voice, one capable of bringing dynamism and bold but clear choices to the show." Full Review

The Emperor
Brooklyn
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"Kathryn Hunter is one of my favorite living actors, but she is white and British and spends the entirety of 'The Emperor' playing eleven different Ethiopians. This happens without any apparent self-reflection and is profoundly disheartening...Shame on everyone involved who watched and said nothing." Full Review

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"The result, then, is rather pointless and dull, stuffed with forgettable tunes and anchored by a boilerplate Star Is Born narrative...At one point, Warhol eulogizes, 'If you make a building out of lights, when you turn them off, it disappears.' But we were never shown the lights in the first place." Full Review

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"The acting is terrific all around; this is a truly unbeatable cast that flawlessly captures the humor and near-vaudevillian speed of Mr. Guirgis's writing." Full Review