Natalie Sacks

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Reviews (47)
Ski End
West Village

"Dragging through some scenes and speeding through others, 'Ski End' takes time to find itself. While some production elements add new dimensions to the play...others are merely distracting...The set and overall production design succeed in evoking the perfect mixture of idiosyncrasy and despair, and, in its best moments, 'Ski End' delivers on that promise as well...For the humility to admit they do not have the answers, this ensemble of theatermakers is to be applauded." Full Review

Rare Birds
East Village

“The production plumbs the depths of how cruel teenagers can be…It's a fascinating story, but also a rather bleak one…A ticking time bomb that leaves audiences cringing more often than smiling…What sells this show is the acting, a compelling performance by a core of six actors dedicated to telling every bit of truth in the script...It's unclear by the end of the play if 'Rare Birds' is just Evan's story, or an ensemble narrative...Still, it's an emotional and fitting ending for Evan himself." Full Review

West Village

"A unique, deeply personal story of five friends and a universal tale of growing up at the same time...Under the direction of Benjamin Kamine, this Amoralists production is anything but cliché...This wildly inventive metaphor for growing up makes 'Nibbler' one of a kind...Ken Urban's script is witty and original, an undeniably new take on growing up and moving on. 'Nibbler' is far more than your typical coming-of-age tale, and it's a performance you won't soon forget." Full Review

Hi-Fi | Wi-Fi | Sci-Fi
East Village

"This complex series of performances would be impossible without impeccable acting and production values, and in that regard, 'Hi Fi | Wi Fi | Sci Fi' is certainly a success. In an era in which so much of the experimental theater we see is devised ensemble work, this selection of scripted experimental pieces is a welcome change. And despite the frequent confusion of the audience, Robert Patrick's plays certainly leave a lasting impression." Full Review

Made in China
Midtown E

"The genius of 'Made in China' is that with puppetry, everything is the same degree of artificial, which means that everything you see on that stage is equally real...American complicity in this Chinese industrial complex is touched on in a few moments in the play, but could certainly have been highlighted more...All together, 'Made in China' is an impressive creation, an entertaining glimpse into the everyday and the fantastical all in one musical journey." Full Review

Room 4

"This compact performance is packed with laughs and groan-worthy moments alike, though it sometimes strays a little too far into the realm of improv...Where 'Room 4' moves beyond sketch and into theater is in its characters' diversity of reactions to the same situation...'Room 4' has great sympathy for those actors who can't quite refuse to play the game of pleasing and appeasing the casting directors, but simultaneously celebrates rebellion when it happens." Full Review

"'Murder at the Food Coop' suffers from too large a cast of characters, preventing most from getting more than one musical number's worth of attention...The music is catchy but not terribly remarkable…Some moments of satire in the musical are absolutely spot-on, though much of the humor is simple and generic…While this musical has a great deal going against it, it is still a joy to watch, its occasional moments of startling insight brightening up a largely lighthearted, fun musical." Full Review

"'The Last Word' manages to evoke the heart of the 1970s without overdoing it. It also successfully captures the fun and energy of a road trip narrative, a challenge for live theater. The music and dancing is a mixed bag, sometimes innovative and other times feeling simplistic and dated...What the cast and crew have managed to achieve in the time given is remarkable. This isn't just a musical that will make you smile; it will leave you wondering what friendship really means." Full Review

Universal Robots
East Village

"While it gets off to a slow start, 'Universal Robots' does a great job establishing the precise political moment of 1920s Czechoslovakia...It strengthens considerably in the second act as it focuses in on a heartbroken Jo and her moral unease with the new direction the robot project has taken...Sci-fi theater is always a challenge, and Rogers succeeds again in creating an innovative, engaging play that will leave you wanting more. It's a fun night out and a philosophical quandary all in one." Full Review


"'Rhinbecca, NY' is a collision of a Hitchcock-esque suspense thriller and classic absurdism in the style of Eugene Ionesco's 'Rhinoceros.' The mashup may sound surprising at first, but it is impressive how well the two genres fit together, generating a surreal atmosphere...The ensemble conjures up a delightful funhouse setting, no actual set required...The play is certainly a challenge to watch, but a unique theatrical experience worth seeing all the same." Full Review

"Ultimately, this play succeeds at getting you to care about the characters and their domestic issues, but not necessarily about the financial apocalypse that may or may not be rapidly approaching. The actors have great chemistry onstage…'Death of the Liberal Class' suffers from an inconsistent tone and a few metaphors that are never fully developed." Full Review

for a previous production "Condensed into such a short performance time, the play oftentimes feels more like a montage than a true story... This piece of theater is hardly a Broadway masterpiece, but its scrappy thrown-together attitude is just as endearing to its audience as the Puffs themselves. Also if you come to this show, you can watch a certain Potions professor give the wizard sex talk." Full Review

East Village

"'Trapper' is not the sort of play we get to see on stage very often. And that's a shame, because Jones' delightfully witty dialogue and engaging cast of characters serve as the perfect backdrop for discussing some of the most difficult issues of contemporary culture...A gripping, contemporary story with a diverse cast of intriguing characters, Jones' play is as entertaining as it is genuinely discomfiting to anyone who struggles to keep it all under control in an unsatisfying job or relation... Full Review

Ten Ways on a Gun
East Village

"The production is plagued by a few logical flaws around the very idea of timesharing a gun... While a little too caught up in the conceit of a theater company devising a play about the subject matter they are truly addressing, director Kathryn McConnell and Squeaky Bicycle Productions do reveal some important truths about why giving up guns isn't as easy as it seems." Full Review

The Gray Man

"It is difficult to create a truly scary work of theater, but Pipeline Theatre Company nails it...While the play could have perhaps benefited from a more ambiguous ending, the final silhouette before the lights fade to black for the last time is more than terrifying enough to make up for it. And though a few distracting details are never truly explained, overall the piece forms one neat, satisfying story that will stay with you long after you leave the theater." Full Review

Midtown E

"If there is one thing that is consistent across this series of shorts, it is the language, reveling in itself and prone to musical, expansive monologues that transport you to another world...Under the expert guidance of these six playwrights, Tennessee Williams' prose 'makes you remember things you didn't know you'd forgotten.'" Full Review

Pimm's Mission
Midtown E

"This is a play designed for these actors, as well as for the Midtown Manhattan location where it both takes place and is performed. The small, intimate theater is perfect for drawing an audience into the tale Pimm is spinning, a story that at first seems like simple chatter in a bar but ultimately has the potential to destroy lives as it spirals out of control." Full Review

Midtown E

"At its core, 'Cuddles' is a profoundly alienating story, at times cold, disgusting or just simply hopeless. Summoning up emotions theater audiences may not be accustomed to experiencing in such a venue, it is certainly an acquired taste. But for its unflinching, graphic depiction of two young women fighting against the demons within their own family, 'Cuddles' deserves a round of applause." Full Review

"This is a show that takes characters to their breaking points, though it may not appear that way at first...A compelling mixture of the sweet and the infuriating, Masterworks Theater Company's 'The Glass Menagerie' is an engaging new take on the play, and a compelling argument for the teaching of classic plays through live performance instead of simply reading. The best plays deserve to be seen." Full Review

"Audience members seated at tables to enjoy the piece (though the servers are distracting) recalls the experience of a '60s music club...It is a deeply moving story that fits well with the melancholy folk ballads and rousing anthems that bring it to life, and a lesson not to forget the ambiguous origins from which our musical idols come." Full Review

"It takes some time to get used to the extreme campiness of 'Six Rounds of Vengeance,' but once you're committed this play is a blast...the show is nonstop action, with clever stage combat choreography that runs the gamut from knife throwing to capoeira. And though the inclusion of literal comic book frames during battle sequences is at times awkward, that is all forgiven in its fantastically designed final boss that you will have to see to believe." Full Review

"Kill Me Like You Mean It is a fascinating glimpse into the sort of murder mystery Albert Camus might write. It's both a thrilling story and an intellectual exercise, dressed in the classic trappings of film noir." Full Review

Sleepy Hollow
Greenwich V

for a previous production "For a show in which the Headless Horseman returns to take vengeance, the ending of this play is oddly cheerful. But one can suppose, when you live in Sleepy Hollow, life always goes on no matter who goes missing on a stroll after dark. Don't go into this musical expecting it to be about the Headless Horseman and the horror he inspires, but if you're interested in a clever new take on the classic Irving tale, 'Sleepy Hollow' is certainly worth a visit." Full Review

for a previous production “A play for theater people that is at the same time all about chemistry...‘Breaking the Shakespeare Code’ is an exciting, polished performance, one that takes the setting of a bare acting classroom and transforms it into a vibrant world of attraction and deception. It is a play that you need to have taken an acting class and read a few Shakespeare plays to really appreciate, but the energy of the piece carries it through regardless.” Full Review

Diva: Live from Hell
East Village

“A brilliant new one-man musical…Although technically a one-man show, it doesn't feel like one. Monahan has a definite gift for mimicry to the point where other characters in the plot seem to have a palpable presence…The songs by Oyen are clever and vibrant and flow seamlessly with the script. Monahan delivers the songs with élan and a well-honed, confident voice...A precocious achievement for Monahan. The script and his performance demonstrate a laser-like intelligence." Full Review

"It begins with Jackson's inspired prose, an effortless fusion of ancient Greek poetic oratory and modern slang...It is the empathetic performance of the three messengers, caught in a whirlwind of tragedy not of their own making, that grounds us in this ancient story of love and loss...Director Hondo Weiss-Richmond's staging makes great use of the small performing space...This is a play that is unafraid to be theatrical, though some elements are more successful than others." Full Review

Latter Days
Midtown W

“An inventive take on the apocalyptic genre…It takes a bit of time to get into this play, but once you accept its given circumstances, the drama between the two men is utterly gripping…’Latter Days’ would never succeed without an immensely talented and committed pair of performers, and there is no doubt that Tony Torn's fragile dignity and Will Dagger's utter earnestness sell the piece entirely. But what really makes this production stand out is its impeccable design.” Full Review

"The scenes alternate between serious and humorous, well-rehearsed and frantic. Some of the most well-received and most powerful moments are the solemn ones...But humor also has an important part to play in the show...This show would be impossible without a great deal of honesty, compassion and joy on the part of its actors...There are definitely still improvements to be made...Clarity is sometimes a concern...But overall, the play is certainly a success." Full Review

Dead Shot Mary
Midtown W

"The piece effortlessly moves us through Mary's life without any conscious sense of time passing...While the play feels unstructured at first, the story slowly knits together until we find ourselves waiting with bated breath to find out how it ends. That effect is the result of an extraordinary performance by Rachel McPhee, whose remarkable vulnerability onstage excuses every one of Mary's imperfections...McPhee's Mary Shanley is as complex as she is deeply relatable." Full Review

#Blessed (FringeNYC)
Lower E Side

"'#Blessed' has some trouble with pacing throughout...Whereas the first section of the play evokes the sensation of a trap slowly closing in on Liana, the second consists largely of characters confronting one another about information the audience already knows...Even so, the overall story of #Blessed certainly packs a punch, and while the play does not reconcile religion and the modern world for you, it leaves the door open for its characters, and its audiences, to find their own way through." Full Review

"This modern, streamlined 'Peer Gynt' successfully evokes a timelessness that allows its disparate settings to all fit together...With next to no set and deliberately provocative costumes, this play draws on the power of storytelling, especially Peer's grandiose lies, to create the world...Sometimes plagued with an aimlessness that makes even this condensed 'Peer Gynt' feel longer than it needs to be...An entertaining experience that is as thought-provoking as it is provocative." Full Review

"Unfortunately, the storytelling is muddled at best, leaving audiences unsure who they are supposed to be and what their stakes are…Participants must guess which bits of what they learn are important...The live performance elements are by far the highlight of this production…Other missing elements include a stronger attempt to frame the experience as something other than an 'escape room,' what any of this has to do with Dante's 'The Divine Comedy' and—most importantly—air-conditioning." Full Review

"'Toast' is a beautifully constructed slice-of-life drama about the camaraderie amongst lower-class English bread plant workers in the 1970s...Though it takes a while for the story to get going, every detail revealed in the men's everyday interactions comes into play later on...The production's commitment to realism helps create a world as inescapable for the audience as it is for the men who work there...The stage is graced by extraordinary acting all around...A joy to watch." Full Review

The Good Girl
Midtown E

"Jumping headfirst into a complex plot and unfamiliar dystopian setting, 'The Good Girl' could use a bit more time to set everything up, but the constant surprises and engaging characters will have you forgetting about the lack of exposition before long... Collyer's short play is jam-packed full of intriguing thematic considerations and thrilling action, bringing to life a place in which fantasy becomes reality." Full Review

Lower E Side

"Ultimately, 'Collaborators' accomplishes what it sets out to do, providing an amusing, absurd snapshot into the lives of the haves and have-nots of the USSR until the true hidden horror of the piece hits you...While secondary plots such as Mikhail's relationship with his roommates and his wife Yelena or his spontaneously appearing and disappearing illness do not reach their full potential, the play is certainly an unforgettable experience." Full Review

East Village

"The overt theatricality of the piece is not just limited to this Tom Stoppard, 'Arcadia'-esque commingling of past and present, either...It is the language of 'Insignificant' that really makes the play larger than life...Given its immense potential, one can only hope that this is just the first stop on the journey of Sean Michael Welch's bold new play. Infinite Variety Productions has put together a treat for anyone who likes their theater to be as educational as it is entertaining." Full Review

The Honeycomb Trilogy
West Village

"The fact that this cast manages to pull everything off with the seriousness Rogers intended is a triumph for playwright and production alike. Maybe the latter two plays in the trilogy have more of the traditional action sequences and excitement audience may expect from such a story as this, but 'Advance Man' certainly creates enough intrigue to bring us back for more." Full Review


for a previous production “You will likely need to have at least read ‘Macbeth’ before to keep all of the minor characters straight, but it is remarkable how well this ensemble tells an emotionally engaging, clear story…The constant shifting of roles between the actors also allows for fascinating transgressive gender moments as well as the maturing of relationships…A ‘gypsy ritual Macbeth’ could have gone horribly wrong, but under the expert guidance of Dzieci Theatre Group 'Makbet' soars.” Full Review


"Ultimately, 'Isolde' proves a challenging play to watch and to understand, though the company seems to have succeeded in creating the play they wanted to make. A puzzle as much as a performance, this new play does what Theatre for a New Audience seems to do best: putting an unexpected new twist on the classics." Full Review

Unity (1918)
East Village

"Project: Theater's production, directed by KJ Sanchez, is a smart, polished piece...The ensemble cast gives universally strong performances...'Unity (1918)' has a sense of preservation and historical veracity about it, an educational as well as an intriguing artistic experience. At times sentimental, darkly comic or just simply dark, this play certainly presents a story that is well worth hearing." Full Review

"They are fascinating and engaging performances that will take you further than you might ever expect theater to go...While both 'Vinegar Tom' and 'Judith' may have a bleak outlook on life, the overall effect of the double bill is a celebration of individual and communal strength in the face of the most atrocious evils. They are each expert performances, well worth the challenges of following the sometimes difficult language. And in the hands of the Potomac Theatre Project, the two texts have... Full Review

""A powerful one-performer show about a transwoman that dramatizes and invokes the terror of the everyday...Audiences will leave feeling as though they have spent a lifetime with these characters. It is a sympathetic and intellectual play in one, in a perfect balance to inspire conversation long after leaving the theater." Full Review

One Hand Clapping
Midtown E

"With slow, episodic pacing and action regularly punctuated, the play is clearly very beholden to its source material...Only in fully embracing the unique opportunities theater provides does this play move beyond its source material and into a powerful work of art...A chilling and accessible take on the novel, intimate and well-performed, and still as relevant today." Full Review

"The cast of 'The Two Gentlemen of Verona' does manage to put on a charming and immensely entertaining performance that goes far beyond what the text may have imagined...A potent blend of amusing and heartfelt, the play is a great choice for audiences familiar with the standard Shakespearean comedies and ready to see how much more the Bard has in store." Full Review

Kapow-i GoGo

"Perhaps the most impressive element of 'Kapow-i GoGo,' is how it manages to be both openly comical and internally consistent, invoking real drama while at the same time making us laugh. Though its frequent stage combat scenes awkwardly hover between realistic and comic styles, the rest of the performance handles that dichotomy perfectly, a heart-warming and laugh-out-loud production that makes you want to immediately go back and play all of the video games it references." Full Review

"Some of the two-minutes plays are parodies, some are serious and some are just plain weird...If there is one thing that Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind proves, it's that experimental theater doesn't have to be alienating; it can be exciting, engaging and a ton of fun to watch. Stop by the theater any time and you'll be in for a new experience--the New York Neo-Futurists show no signs of slowing down anytime soon." Full Review

Fatty Fatty No Friends
Lower E Side

for a previous production "An eerie, intricate musical score and polished production make this fantastical story feel shockingly real…Actor Jason Sofge's extraordinary voice brings the entire show to a new level...The actual story of the play does not quite live up to its extraordinary performance, but the cast do their best with a difficult, spooky and yet also comic idea." Full Review