Nicole Serratore

About:  Nicole Serratore is a critic with The Village Voice, The Stage (UK), and Exeunt Magazine.
Reviews (104)
the way she spoke
West Village
Variety

"The 'docu-mythologia' about the disappeared women of Juarez, Mexico, is both sobering and distancing." Full Review

The Stage (UK)

“A coming-of-age story that...Addresses injustice in the segregated American South in the 1960s...While some dramatic moments are rushed or too neatly tied-up – the musical still enchants through delicately rendered performances and powerful song and dance...Gold’s minimalist production sets the scene with wisps of culturally specific music and dance. Hand-held wire puppets create the illusion of swirling bees. Musically it’s powerful too.” Full Review

Little Women
West Village
Exeunt Magazine

"Hamill’s adaptation...strangely holds onto the hoary, sentimental aspects of the novel and then tries to hybridize them with an incoherent, contemporary vision of Jo...The play is forced to reduce complex women to simplistic, flat renderings...The cast are stiff and awkward here. They wear their characterizations unnaturally...The fast-paced production is stilted and awkward and never quite finds a tone that suits its modern thinking or its traditional setting." Full Review

Feral
Midtown E
Exeunt Magazine

"It suffers from this kind of controlling foreshadowing which is hard to ignore in an already slight 50-minute tale...There is skillful artistry in the visual design as well with some fantastic character perspective shots from one building to another filmed with the small handheld cameras...But structurally, the story is largely observational...While watching these artists work feverishly to keep the images flowing and visuals popping, the story suffers from a contrived emotional core." Full Review

The Stage (UK)

"Alex Timbers’ production looks suitably Burton-esque while also attempting to give more of a backstory to the characters. Despite lots of solid laughs, some clever fourth-wall-breaking, and some strong performances, the middling rock-pop score and the unwieldy, sorrowful storyline sap some of the vitality from the original...Burton’s film was a macabre joy, but this 'show about death' doesn’t quite hit the mark. It never quite finds the right mixture of funny and creepy, lurid and light." Full Review

The Stage (UK)

"It’s been labelled a comedy, but it’s more of an experimental deconstruction of capitalism and political apathy. There are laughs, but they thin out quickly. While the shift in tone is intentional, the execution is muddy and laborious...Mac’s play combines farting corpse gags with a sly commentary on the rising up of the politically powerless. Though ambitious, it’s neither funny enough nor tragic enough; it’s also frequently hard to follow." Full Review

The Stage (UK)

“Gold’s production subtly invokes Trump’s America...Jackson’s performance is one of subdued fury...She creates a quietly terrifying and, even sometimes, spunky Lear...Not all the performances are as crystalline as Jackson’s, but Gold’s emotionally cool production is still scintillating...With contemporary dress and an inclusive approach to casting, the production is invigorating.” Full Review

The Stage (UK)

"Scott Ellis’ revival of the Cole Porter musical unites the effervescent Kelli O’Hara with the rakish Will Chase for a production that is stronger on romantic longing than it is on musical comedy. While the leads sparkle and Ellis’s production showcases the jazzy score, it’s an otherwise sedate affair...O’Hara is suitably steely and Chase ridiculously smug. Both their voices are perfectly calibrated and their timing strong. But, when the focus shifts away from the leads, the production sags." Full Review

Exeunt Magazine

“The stiff text and distancing production choices...make it hard to fully engage...The history presented feels somehow both starkly black and white and murky all at once...By trying to disentangle age, gender, and identity from the voices, we are a little adrift...The production is directed with a heavy-hand...The play itself bears a self-important quality...It becomes lecturing documentary theater...We never know who our are guides are...or why they are telling us this story.” Full Review

The Stage (UK)

"Addressing issues of class, privilege, and homophobia within this community of colour, the play combines humour with pathos...Cullman’s production balances playfulness with an increasing sense of tension...Music and movement are central to the production...Traditional black spirituals provide cultural context and connect these boys to their history. These interludes also permit the characters to express themselves in ways that are not verbal – to move beyond words.” Full Review

The Jungle
Brooklyn
Variety

"In spite of exquisite design and a substantial production, the play itself is shaky...Despite extreme efforts at verisimilitude, a noble purpose, and a vitally important subject, the storytelling comes across as heavy-handed...substituting atmosphere for dramaturgy...It’s devastating to spend all this time in a room with these characters and in this place, and emerge knowing less than when we went in. Disillusion may be part of the point, but it also feels like a lost opportunity." Full Review

Exeunt Magazine

“This perky, hopeful new musical with catchy tunes makes even this critic-grouch optimistic...With melodic songs, quirky charms, and a gee-whiz sweetness, it’s an appealing small-scale musical with delightful performances from its seven-member cast...While the material can be hokey at times, so can its inspiration: Neil Diamond. The musical is utterly aware of this. The winks, nudges, and sequins are part of it.” Full Review

King Kong (NYC)
Midtown W
The Stage (UK)

"Though the ape is great the score is wan and the plot a head-scratcher making for an incoherent theatrical experience...The human side of the story struggles to measure up...McOnie’s choreography makes use of a hulking upper-body dance language that feels ultra-contemporary and is also at odds with the 1931 setting...If this 'King Kong' was over-the-top in a campy way, all this might not matter as much. Instead it feels painfully sincere. Only the ape’s expressive presence rescues it." Full Review

Mother of the Maid
East Village
Variety

"It’s a tiresome road to that inevitable outcome...Dabbles in kitchen-sink drama, situation comedy, awkward mysticism and painfully self-serious memoir...The tone and approach zig and zag in conflicting directions, making it neither satisfying comedy nor drama...This is a play that allows Close to suffer, sacrifice, and fight for her child, and with her child...She’s a charismatic performer and it’s always a privilege to see her work up close...One wishes for a better vehicle for Close’s tale... Full Review

The Nap (Broadway)
Midtown W
The Stage (UK)

“With its garish costumes and lively game-show-style lighting by and fun, feisty characters, 'The Nap' has the makings of a ribald romp – if one full of unwelcome trans jokes...But inexplicably Sullivan gives the entire endeavour the measured pace of a serious family drama...The snooker scenes with their droll commentators are funny and gripping...Some performances are charming but a handful of dodgy accents and a misjudged directorial approach drag down the comedy.” Full Review

The Naturalists
Soho/Tribeca
Exeunt Magazine

"This new play set in contemporary Ireland offers some moments of beautifully written prose and a carefully calibrated central performance. However, the production suffers from too much muted naturalism in the direction at the expense of legibility...It’s an interesting setting, with a fascinating character at its core. But the understated execution of the production can leave us drifting far too frequently." Full Review

Exeunt Magazine

“You’re better off sticking with your worn out VHS copy of the film than delving into this new musical...The overly familiar mixed with the utterly uncreative comes together to make this a musical that does more harm than good...The musical’s tone is all over the place...The score offers no solution...It fails to create any heat, meaning, or emotional connection...The songs explode loudly but never burn with feeling...The lyrics do not provide insight into the characters." Full Review

The Stage (UK)

"Supported by director Anna D. Shapiro’s taut production, they take a funny, poignant, provocative look at family, gender roles, and 'progressive' tolerance. Lee destabilises the traditional naturalistic living room play with Brechtian elements...Lee probes masculinity, power, and the gendered value of labour. She deftly captures the family’s rhythms as they oscillate from teasing to concern to argument, breaking the tension with humour and physicality." Full Review

Exeunt Magazine

"This slice of science-theater leaves the audience with a lot to think about if not a little whiplash. The grand ambition of the piece drives our interest...But the sense of possibility gives this devised show its momentum and spirit...Not all moments are equally strong but it moves at a clip and it is compulsively curious subject matter–what makes us human and how we got here...A rich exercise. It leaves you wanting to know more. Humanity’s persistent curiosity wins out." Full Review

Exeunt Magazine

“Chavkin’s minimalist production offers a rich soundscape, evocative lightning, and solid performances, but at times the dense text can be an impediment. Though...moves with great agility, the hangover from the historical content is hard to ignore...Offers captioning at all performances and I was grateful...Since the actors were confusingly doubling up at times...Has a sense of the ‘now’... But despite Chavkin’s efforts the textual relevance is slippery and seems to come and go." Full Review

Exeunt Magazine

"Sher's production...finds a way to stage the notoriously troublesome musical with a sense of where we are today...Elegantly wrought but brings necessary contemporary perspective...Ambrose has a lovely soprano. Her acting can come across as a little overwrought in certain scenes... Hadden-Paton straddles the line between nearly but not charming and exasperating fool...We can tolerate him but we never embrace him." Full Review

Mildly Bitter's Musings

"Elliott's production has become stronger and increasingly potent with this most recent outing on Broadway..,.Elliott directs the play with a tinge of weighty self-seriousness at times but the text still manages to be buoyant. Certain design elements come across as heavy-handed...but these choices don't sink the show...Digs into the personal relationships in a new way, and delivers a message of hope with open arms." Full Review

queens
Upper W Side
Exeunt Magazine

"Majok finds poetry and pain, and expresses the triumphs and injustices of women who are so often invisible in our country...Majok imbues these women with warmth, dynamism, and the tantalizing sensation of something possible...They are also quite funny. The political undertones never overshadow the human beings...The talented cast runs with the characters...If there is a weakness in the play, it comes from the Inna storyline...Feel more a plot device than fully developed arc." Full Review

The Stage (UK)

"As a showcase for Lithgow’s skills as a physical comedian and bendy-faced mimic, 'Stories' allows him ample room to be a joyful ham. But dramatically, and as a work of cohesive storytelling, the outwardly sentimental show has little in the way of heft. The dramatised stories are neither gripping nor fun enough to turn this passion project into something capable of commanding a Broadway stage...Director Daniel Sullivan’s production fails to guide us." Full Review

Exeunt Magazine

“It is a strong production...But this brisk unexpected journey to an Israeli town in the middle of nowhere never tipped into the sublime...Despite a fine cast and an unusual Middle Eastern inflected score, these quiet interactions have a repetitive familiarity to them...Feels strangely denuded of specificity. The ordinariness never becomes extraordinary...Each dramatic moment is equal to the one before it and after it, making few beats stand out.” Full Review

Toni Stone
Midtown W
Exeunt Magazine

"Diamond wants our theatrical experience of Toni to feel as it might have been to know her with a mind that races all over the place and could not quite articulate her feelings. With beautiful moments of poetic writing and a strong central performance this looseness didn't always bother me, but...clarity is sacrificed for sensation." Full Review

Exeunt Magazine

"They are caricatures of under-educated people whose lives have gotten away from them. Worse, McNally seems to think, if you’re over forty, this is your absolute last chance at love so you should settle for this terrible person...It’s a strangely desperate gloss that this production never successfully addresses...The casting here is also a problem. McDonald may be dressed as dowdy as possible and yet still you feel like this beautiful woman could...do better than THIS GUY." Full Review

All My Sons
Midtown W
Exeunt Magazine

“While Jack O’Brien’s production of 'All My Sons' is too literal, there is something to the double-edged performances, particularly from Benjamin Walker, that still make this Arthur Miller play rattle...Walker threads this all finely and his collapse at the end of the play makes you believe Chris may never find his footing again. It’s the performance that makes this production worth seeing. The rest of the production is frustratingly pedestrian." Full Review

Happy Talk
Midtown W
The Stage (UK)

"It veers from cringe comedy to family drama until the production eventually flies off course. But, for all its tonal shifts, what the play is actually trying to say remains opaque...Because the plotting has a sitcom vibe, the comedy often results in hesitant laughter or confused silence. When the writing temporarily becomes sincere, it’s hard to take it seriously." Full Review

Tootsie (NYC)
Midtown W
The Stage (UK)

"Despite a rather flavourless score by David Yazbek, the screen-to-stage adaptation of 'Tootsie,' is arguably the funniest new musical on Broadway...The cast is uniformly superb. Fontana’s Dorothy is radiant...But despite the stupendous cast, Ellis’ production is visually uninspiring with predictably shrill sets and costumes for the musical-within-a-musical." Full Review

Burn This
Midtown W
The Stage (UK)

“Driver gives a sublimely physical performance...As a piece of writing ‘Burn This’ is far better at character than it is at plot, but Driver makes it come alive, to the point that Michael Mayer’s bright production dims when he’s not on stage...Anna’s an underwritten role in comparison and Russell gives a restrained and overly subtle performance. Alongside them, Uranowitz manages to humanize the humorous Larry.” Full Review

The Stage (UK)

"With the assistance of director Oliver Butler, she navigates weighty, traumatic issues with laughter and a lightness of touch...Schreck alternates adult world-weariness with a chipper teenage smile, Iveson is drolly deadpan in his supporting turn and the two radiate unspoken-warmth to each other throughout. Between them, they create a powerful onstage debate that delivers a political punch to the gut." Full Review

Fleabag
Soho/Tribeca
The Stage (UK)

"Nothing has dulled Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s sharp-edged, caustic, comedic solo show...At times, the darker, contemplative corners of the play can get lost in the rip-roaring crowd reaction...Yet, intentional ellipses are there in the writing and performance...Eventually, Waller-Bridge’s writing extracts the quiet attention and gasps she seeks...Waller-Bridge’s performance is intimate and layered." Full Review

The Stage (UK)

"Shepard’s play is symbolic and strange, if also a bit thin. Macdonald’s production bolsters it with gnawing electric guitar interstitial music...Macdonald extracts humour from the play but the outlandish disintegration in the second act does not quite come off, in part due to Dano’s reticence. His introspective approach works well in the first act, but he is less convincing when he lets loose. Hawke, however, is superb." Full Review

The Stage (UK)

“Though the familiar characters and central romance remain in Amy Heckerling’s musical adaptation of her hit 1995 film, ‘Clueless’, the nostalgia factor is undermined by contrived lyrics, heavy-handed direction, and some very odd design choices. It feels more like a parody rather than a homage. The production has a winking self-awareness that eats away at the original’s warm heart...A capable cast can’t save a tonally mismatched and awkwardly staged musical production." Full Review

The Stage (UK)

"It’s basically a tribute show performed by talented impersonators, with as many cringe-worthy moments as funny ones...What the cast is doing is less creative interpretation than reenactment, yet Block’s magnetism bursts through, while Spector nails Bono’s quirkiness and nasality...'The Cher Show' attempts to deliver a message of female empowerment...Still it succeeds as a story of one woman’s persistence and survival." Full Review

The Chinese Lady
Midtown W
Exeunt Magazine

“A fascinating historical look at Asians in America through the eyes of the first Chinese woman to come here...We see her from age 14 to 82...She becomes less Afong Moy and more a voice for the Chinese in America...While the historical context is interesting, the intersection with Moy does not deliver as much of an emotional payoff...While the play can feel in moments didactic, it churns up deeply felt issues of immigration and cultural identity which go far beyond one 'Chinese Lady.'" Full Review

The Stage (UK)

“This new play about a fact-checking dispute at a magazine feels incredibly timely...While slender in concept, the resulting production is frequently funny and benefits from rich performances from its cast...The performances of all three are punchy and assured. They make us feel the dramatic stakes...Silverman’s production initially feels somewhat laborious and antiseptic...But...the humanity at the heart of this intellectual battle shines through.” Full Review

The Stage (UK)

"In his startling, minimalist reimagining of 'Oklahoma!,' director Daniel Fish foregrounds the carnality and violence that has always formed part of this classic musical. It’s a thrilling jolt. Fish’s production examines the ugliness of an American community, a timely indictment of American 'justice' and a bracing reminder of the power of art to reflect society...New musical arrangements complement these fresh angles on familiar material." Full Review

The Stage (UK)

“Rebeck’s play juggles a lot — women on stage, gender and power, love and ambition. Yet a lot of this gets bogged down in speechifying. Though McTeer gives a magnetic, precise performance, the play itself meanders...While the subject is fascinating, the level of inquiry does not deepen...Von Stuelpnagel brings a breeziness to the comedy and gives McTeer ample space. Her performance is shaded and nuanced. She gives the audience an insight into Bernhardt’s character." Full Review

Variety

“With touches of absurdity, this play...can feel thin and representative at times, but the journey remains a wacky romp underpinned with emotion...Donahue’s colorful production is mostly zippy...The director embraces the play’s unpredictability...With moments of hilarity and poignancy, 'Collective Rage' offers a broad spectrum of queer voices rarely seen on stage, and Silverman and these performers make sure we hear them each distinctly.” Full Review

Variety

“The kind of outdoor summer theater that transcends bad weather...The co-creators take Shakespeare’s themes and wrap them in an ebullient package, making sure everything about this production says ‘welcome’. With a score of catchy tunes and ardent performances, it’s a happy marriage of a classic play with a contemporary execution...The co-directors create bursts of energy as they cram the stage with the colossal ensemble and draw gratifying performances from the cast." Full Review

Teenage Dick
East Village
The Stage (UK)

“Von Stuelpnagel’s production is clunky at times, and it still feels like the actors are finding their comedic rhythms. But Lew’s sly commentary is sharp, balancing serious issues with nimble wit...The performances are strong. Mozgala makes the defensive Richard sweet and vulnerable...Villarin as Anne defiantly delivers a scorching monologue about the marginalisation of women...While DeVido is hilariously caustic as Richard’s confidante and frenemy.” Full Review

Bump
Midtown W
Exeunt Magazine

"In only 90 minutes we dash from bit to bit without enough collective resonance. Nevertheless, the inventive staging by Claudia Weill and warm performances by the ensemble give us some moments to cheer for...The scientific and mechanical while curious are not as gripping as the relational...'Bump' doesn’t show us a whole lot we don’t already know. But we do get to meet a community of women and can celebrate in their joy and mourn for their losses as they make this journey." Full Review

Exeunt Magazine

"Cummings III’s production manages to mostly slip the bonds of overwrought melodrama thanks to a minimalist approach, a singular leading lady, and a strong cast overall...I could have watched Ireland’s Alma for days...There are some production missteps which are frustrating...Though many scenes take place around a park and fountain, here there’s just a photograph of the angelic fountain on stage...The power of these ideas falls flat on their easels." Full Review

Exeunt Magazine

"Meant to be a memory play but the lighting, sound, design, and direction have not necessarily made that consistently evident. Leon's direction leads the play to come off as messy and confusing...Jackson's tender relationship with Ridloff is the play's saving grace but he cannot overcome the fundamental weakness of James being the central voice of the play...Ridloff is a charismatic and dynamic...No one in this production has made the case for this play in this moment." Full Review

Lobby Hero
Midtown W
Exeunt Magazine

"When Lonergan's work moves to Broadway somehow the carefully balanced sad-funny tone he crafts gets ground down to a brash haha-funny. It denudes the work of its power and all the subtlety of its intentions...Cullman loses control of the production, allowing these performances to skate along on the surface. Lonergan's play is supported by humor but that cannot be the only thing you feel. The humor needs to live in harmony with the reality of the world that surround these characters." Full Review

Athena
Brooklyn
Exeunt Magazine

for a previous production "Emma Miller’s production is a solid rendering but there is perhaps a deeper layer of Gardner’s work that does not completely rise to the surface. However, 'Athena' is time well spent with these vibrant, truthful characters...Awe and Greer do valiant work. They carry the burden of the rich text well and roll with the humor and the physicality of fencing. However, when the drama escalates at the end, their performances lack the buoyancy to lift the play to that final emotional crescendo." Full Review

Counting Sheep
Financial
Village Voice

"Unsettling, loose in parts, but ultimately effective, this experience will get you thinking about community, collaboration, revolt, violence, and peace...Though there are moments of genuine trepidation, sometimes the slackness of the production weakens the impact. Tableaux battles between police and protesters lack gravity...The participation, so central to the show, can, too, be briefly awkward...But that is all part of the messily rewarding process." Full Review

M. Butterfly
Midtown W
Exeunt Magazine

"The production unfortunately leans towards flatness and simplicity which dulls the power of the play and muddies the play’s intentions...It’s a pleasure to watch Hwang disassemble and disabuse the audience of archaic orientalist, colonialist notions. If only this production were worthy of Hwang’s creativity...Taymor’s stark, severe approach chills the dream-like elements of the play...Owen is too handsome and suave to be fully believable as a fumbling, socially-inept fool." Full Review