Sandy MacDonald

Sandy MacDonald is a critic with Time Out New York. 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 (55)
Theater News Online

"It’s a rare and heartening experience to get reacquainted, on a quite personal level, with British film star Celia Johnson...You couldn’t really call this production a play. It’s a reading, supplemented with interjections and projections. However, this particular pair brings two extraordinary lives back to life, and you get to share in the intimate memories, amid an audience of rapt listeners. If this is not drama in the classical sense, it comes close enough." Full Review

Theater News Online

“It’s one thing to emulate Monty Python, another to rip them off, as do the creators of this prolonged skit, very loosely – and louchely...As these two ugly Americans relentlessly troll for cheap laughs, there seems to be no acknowledgment on the part of the writing team...Only the third writer/performer manages to wrest a smidgen of palatable humor from the proceedings, via a chalkboard lecture on the English monetary system and a comparable intro to cricket.” Full Review

Theater News Online

“The cheese-fest that is ‘Maestro’ represents a good concert smarmified...Toscanini unfortunately – and unfairly – comes across a braggart with regard to his admirable antifascist activism...The script’s insistent focus on the erotic noodlings of a randy old goat does not lend itself to originality, much less profundity. Classical concertgoers who require a special sauce might find this overheated stew palatable. At least it provides a showcase for a cadre of skilled musicians.” Full Review

Final Follies
West Village
Time Out New York

“’Final Follies’s' ap1peal is limited to those who enjoy watching male establishment types engage in vigorous back-slapping about questionable behavior...Saint plumps the program with two chestnuts from Gurney’s under-heralded salad days...Gurney makes the most of his deep knowledge of procedural folderol and preening male ego—themes that show no signs of falling out of date." Full Review

Time Out New York

"Starts on a murky note but resonates powerfully in Yionoulis's artful production...The effect is disorienting at first. But once past the puzzlements of the opening scene, the story moves forward with impressive concision and impact." Full Review

Time Out New York

"Its depiction of the plague years still hits hard. And it’s hard to imagine a better cast than the stars of this revival, directed by Jonathan Silverstein for Keen Company. As the two characters spar with each other, mostly through inspired put-downs and bon mots, McGrath expertly parries Burton’s superlative sardonic takes. They duel as though their lives depended on it—which they ultimately might." Full Review

No Wake
Midtown E
Time Out New York

“Donnelly leaks out the details of his play in tantalizing microdoses… Director Brady and designer Buderwitz, perhaps constrained by the dimensions of 59E59’s miniscule Theater C, short-shrift the atmosphere by suggesting a generic motel in lieu of the country inn specified in the script. Still, the tight quarters make for a thrilling and ultimately hilarious physical tussle the morning after. Astutely threaded throughout ‘No Wake‘ is the intentionally sketchy tragedy of the lost child.” Full Review

Somebody's Daughter
Upper W Side
Time Out New York

“Hutchinson’s smart and insightful play deftly skirts the pitfalls of slickness…Hutchinson is equally adept at depicting adolescent angst, quarter-life quandaries and sexual muddles of middle age. It’s exciting to be drawn into a multilayered drama in which female characters are the driving force. Hutchinson’s engaging drama leaves you questioning the scripts that women are still too often heir to.” Full Review

Time Out New York

"An unusual, profoundly affecting chamber musical...Creators Tim Rosser and Charlie Sohne amp up the drama in the second act, and push it further still in a coda. Their musical, optimally staged by Tony Speciale, taps into a universal source of pain and confusion: that phase of youthful innocence when, unable to fathom the adults who control us, we wishfully mistake them for gods." Full Review

Picnic
West Village
Time Out New York

"It’s astonishing how little in the way of artifice is required to create powerful theater. An artful script helps, and William Inge’s 'Picnic' is an oft-revived neo-classic for good reason...In mounting this barebones revival, director Jack Cummings III has managed to sand the edges off any potential villains. Even so, each ordinary Kansan depicted appears to be grappling with forces on the scale of Greek tragedy." Full Review

Time Out New York

"Lola has a lot going on under the surface, as she navigates the thin ice that is spousal sobriety. It takes a tedious two hours, however, for the playwright and performers to delve to that level...Mac Rae never convinces as a fully rounded, credible character—partly because Mac Rae, at 70, is seriously miscast...Inge does not hold back on the psychosexual subtext—naughty territory for the time period, but heavy-handed today." Full Review

Yours Unfaithfully
Midtown W
Time Out New York

"Malleson’s bio suggests a life story considerably more colorful than the tidy marital drama that unfolds onstage...The script offers a scrupulous examination of two warring impulses: the urge to explore versus the instinct to nurture and protect. Happily, we’re spared the wink-wink prompts of farce, though Malleson does allude to an extremely vulgar adage of the day, sanitized here as 'Fresh kiss, fresh courage.' If only he had applied that tenet to his rather dry disquisition." Full Review

Coriolanus
West Village
Time Out New York

"Though distinct parallels emerge between Shakespeare’s late-period tragedy about electoral politics in 493 B.C.E. Rome and our current situation, you’re not required to draw any. Given that this complex text has been condensed, you’ll be busy just tracking the action. There’s plenty of it in this visceral production...Johnstone, rippling with vigor, plays the conflicted title character." Full Review

A Taste of Honey
Midtown W
Time Out New York

"It’s a mystery why Shelagh Delaney's funny, touching and extraordinarily prescient 1958 play has sat on the shelf for so long...Director Austin Pendleton has done audiences a favor in dusting off the stage play...This story feels surprisingly contemporary...Although Rachel Botchan, as hard-partying Helen, comes across as just a bit too chipper (she could use a dash more slattern), Rebekah Brockman is a revelation in the role of quirky, outspoken Jo." Full Review

Time Out New York

“Turgid doesn’t begin to describe the dialectic embedded in August Strindberg’s melodramatic battle of wills, and yet adapter David Greig manages to winkle out humor and insight...Though Strindberg was clearly on the side of his hog-tied title character, a grudging respect is surely due such a resourceful virago.” Full Review

Time Out New York

"Dan Moyer’s two-hander is so un-insistently engaging, the actors’ embodiment of pursuer and pursued so appealing, that any concern about tired romantic tropes quickly dissipates...Analysis misserves the free-wheeling originality of this incipient (maybe) love story. The script, studded with amusingly offbeat asides, could play well in theaters across the country, especially in the hands of a director as deft as Jess Cheyes. It’s difficult, though, to imagine better enactors." Full Review

The Dingdong
Midtown W
Time Out New York

"The farce spectrum can veer from crude to exquisite. Mark Shanahan tends to favor the lower depths: lots of puerile wink-wink wordplay and pratfalls both sexual and scatological...In casting ill-matched repertory members d’un certain age, director Hal Brooks blunts the spirit of the original...The stage sizzles to life every time Curran turns up...She embodies what we bourgeois theatergoers rather hope to see when attending a French farce." Full Review

Widowers' Houses
Midtown W
Time Out New York

"George Bernard Shaw had the notion that very little money can be considered truly clean. Director David Staller offers the rare opportunity to study this obsession at its inception—in an adaptation not always to the good. It’s an odd homage that seeks to improve on an acknowledged master...To Staller’s credit, he has turned out a sprightly, enjoyable rendering that comes across as a piquant drawing-room comedy packing some provocative talking points, very much in the spirit of the original." Full Review

Theater News Online

"s it time we let Generation Z take over Broadway? Judging from the junior phenoms who shine in 'School of Rock,' it might not be a bad move. Not only are these kids already proven prodigies, they seem totally at home on stage. Exhibiting not a whiff of showbiz-kid cutesiness, they’re just there to act, and play, and give the rest of us a good time." Full Review

Rose
Midtown W
Time Out New York

"One could not ask for a better interpreter of this complex role than the brilliant Kathleen Chalfant. Clad in an Arnold Scaasi–esque pantsuit by Jane Greenwood, she exudes her signature fiery intelligence. Rose’s thwarted drive is all there, kept in check by constant hand-­wringing—­a gesture not of guilt but of determination to maintain decorum at all costs." Full Review

Lost Girls
West Village
Time Out New York

"See enough plays and you might start to feel pretty smug about your ability to spot an impending plot twist, but this one is far from flagrant and, in any case, Pollono keeps us so hooked on the vectors of tension sparking between the various characters (Maggie and Lou, in particular, share a scarifyingly tragic history) that the big picture tends to recede—only to resurface resoundingly in the end." Full Review

Romance Language
Midtown W
Time Out New York

"The character of Kay Morgan, flimsily sketched by playwright Godfrey and simperingly portrayed by Audrey Meyer is terminally annoying…Not only do the signifiers in this script lack imagination, Kay’s generic profile as a lazy, incurious layabout is an insult to elders in general…As the conflict heats up, Meyer, apparently untethered by directorial restraint, strikes a lot of anguished soap-opera poses—but the script doesn’t allow for much else." Full Review

A Delicate Ship
Midtown W
Time Out New York

"Were Ziegler (who makes origami of time) not so deft, the situation might lend itself to sitcom banality. She digs beneath the laughs, of which there are plenty, to plumb the pain that lurks below." Full Review

Believers
Midtown W
The New York Times

"The dialogue remains sprightly and clever, despite the increasingly ominous cloud of circumstances, but Ms. Lauren’s one-note affect allows little of Donna’s spirit to rise to the surface. Meanwhile, adult Chris has gone corporate-drab, his artistic ambitions — painted in rather broad, clichéd strokes — subsumed by a career in advertising. Mr. Travostino conveys the necessary sympathy and co-suffering, right up to the intriguing, intentionally ambiguous denouement." Full Review

Only Yesterday
Midtown E
Theater News Online

"If two Beatles sitting in a hotel room talking sounds boring to you, you're not wrong." Full Review

Exeunt Magazine

“The ways in which interpersonal boundaries in any intense relationship are tested...only to be torn apart again – these vicissitudes have a universal resonance, and it’s fascinating to observe this particular Hillary strive to hold her own against a man unshakably confident of his...likability...Within Hnath’s clever alternative universe, at least, this Earth’s halting trajectory toward emotional and political gender parity is effected by means of a great many guilty but highly enjoyable lau... Full Review

Bonnie's Last Flight
East Village
Time Out New York

“’Bonnie's Last Flight’ is set on a plane, but the comedy doesn’t achieve liftoff. The production’s designers do their best, with middling success to replicate the signifiers of a standard airplane cabin...But the name of the airline, Smelta, is an early clue as to the sophistication level of this journey to nowhere...It’s kindest to assume that...generous dollops of sentimentalism are meant to read as sob-story camp. But it’s a thin line between tongue-in-cheek and just plain dumb.” Full Review

Inner Voices 2018
Midtown W
Time Out New York

"If a trilogy of solo one-act musicals sounds like a threat of art-song preciousness, rest assured: The minidramas in this year's edition of Inner Voices, the biennial showcase mounted by Premieres, tell compelling stories—or at least, two of them do. The disappointment is the collection's third piece, despite the marquee names attached to it...In the anthology's opening musical, 'Window Treatment,' vocal powerhouse Farah Alvin has a much clearer 'you' to address." Full Review

The Lucky Ones
East Village
Time Out New York

"Scratch any family history, and you’re bound to draw some blood. Abigail Bengson's childhood experience has more than most...Harrowing...A teen bacchanal, thrillingly choreographed by Sonya Tayeh, culminates in a cozy romance-but not for long...Tragedy that ensues, but nothing in this story is that simple...'The lucky ones,' the show suggests, are those who, born into damage, can still 'open up.' Bengson, with her extraordinarily expressive musical and authorial voice, does so magnificently." Full Review

Time Out New York

“In ‘Marcel’, Magni strives to surmount inane barriers to success, his taskmaster seems determined to keep raising the bar. While this business is not always funny, Magni’s charm keeps it from being tiresome...The show perks up when Houben takes the stage in his ‘The Art of Laughter’...He embarks on a practicum of fumbles and pratfalls; his minutely calibrated body language is brilliant.” Full Review

Mud
East Village
Time Out New York

"Mae’s quest to rise above the squalor that surrounds her might indeed seem touching, if handled well. But director Araoz’s revival feels more like an exhumation...Henry skews Texas, and everyone seems to slip in and out of a drawl...Mae’s struggle for ascendancy mostly seems ludicrous as Fornés’s brief play inches slowly toward its heavy-handed finale. What may have been shocking in 1983 seems, in this production, a muddy exercise in miserabilism.” Full Review

Time Out New York

"Connect too many dots and it just seems as though you’re halfway to an underwhelming full-length treatment. Unfortunately, that is the case with Alexander’s wooden 'The Good Muslim'...'Female Beginner' has a political point to make, but it’s mired in melodrama; 'Santa Doesn’t Come to the Holiday Inn' verges on mawkish...'Intensive Care' serves as a model of emotionally loaded concision...'Good Results Are Difficult When Indifference Predominates' provides a rousing, hilarious end." Full Review

Animal
Chelsea
Time Out New York

"As Rachel unravels—thrillingly, in Hall’s hands—we’re always at least a few steps ahead, right up to the supposed shocker of a final twist. It’s easy to see why Hall was drawn to this material: She gets to span the emotional gamut, from brittle to ferocious. And although Rachel’s off-the-wall digressions outshine the central narrative, this intimate production presents an exceptional opportunity to witness, up close, an actress of Hall’s force probing the limits of custodial rage." Full Review

Venus
Midtown W
Time Out New York

"In the two decades since its Public Theater debut, Suzan-Lori Parks’s 'Venus' has lost none of its power to unsettle and appall. If anything, the story of Saartjie Baartman’s exploitation at the hands of early-19th-century human traffickers—some venal, some high-minded—has gained in shock value. Its current revival, directed by Lear deBessonet, is devastating...Jah brings an unaffected dignity to Baartman’s quest, even as she begs for validation." Full Review

Church & State
Midtown W
Time Out New York

"Williams is adept at jacking up the tension, and he leavens potentially leaden debates with plenty of humor...When’s the last time you left a play complaining that it was too short? This one zips by so fast, you barely have time to catch your breath; its brevity may well be part of the message. Even if Williams's script ends up more as position paper than play, the writer-director, aided by a crack cast, has come up with an efficient delivery system for words that need to be said and heard." Full Review

Bull in a China Shop
Upper W Side
Time Out New York

"With a light hand and welcome irreverence, Turner neatly dispenses with two hoary shibboleths: that history is perforce dry, and feminists unfunny...Turner limns the power issues that can persist, heteronormatively, in a relationship of presumed equals...Not only does Turner prove she has the requisite touch, the cast delivers fine performances all around: They do the sisterhood proud." Full Review

Time Out New York

"Aurora is an irresistible conundrum: by turns haughty, caustic, tender and raw. The role, firmly embedded in popular memory by Shirley MacLaine’s film turn, is an actor’s dream…except that yet another iteration, even a live one, raises the question: Why try to improve on perfection? Molly Ringwald does not succeed in doing so. Limited in affect, she is also not well served by Gordon’s CliffsNotes script, which has reduced the screenplay to brief, talky, faux-cinematic scenes." Full Review

Time Out New York

"Purists may squawk, but many a time-pressed theatergoer can appreciate a smartly condensed Shakespeare play...Certain performers, such as Royal Shakespeare Company vet Chukwudi Iwuji in the title role, are highly effective; others appear randomly recruited and out of their depth...Iwuji is worth many times the price of admission...Some of the contemporary touches pay off with laughs." Full Review

Hero's Welcome
Midtown E
Time Out New York

"Having churned out some 79 plays over 55 years, Alan Ayckbourn could easily have run out of plot twists—but this seemingly facile master is far from depleted...The couples bounce off each other like charged particles, and if you think you know where the story’s going, you assuredly don’t. Ayckbourn is as crack a director as he is a dab playwright, and the cast is top-notch—especially the heliotropic Hoskins, who starts out shadowy and subdued, only slowly finding her light." Full Review

A Doll's House
Brooklyn
Time Out New York

“Lacey’s Nora has the makings of a modern woman. She employs every resource at her disposal to sustain a family life that happens to be a fantasy. Jesse J. Perez tends to mustache-twirl as Krogstad, but Linda Powell is nicely grounded as his former inamorata, fallen on hard times. Nigel Gore makes for a congenial Dr. Rank, one whose charm outstrips his morbidity. Thompson admirers will avidly await Torvald’s inevitable eruption, which does not disappoint—except, pivotally, Nora.” Full Review

Time Out New York

“In a season already blessed with two effective break-room dramas, it’s tough to drum up much interest in this 1999 throwback by the author of ‘One Man, Two Guvnors.’ Bean evidently learned a thing or two in the wake of this, his first play—like how to jump right into the action and not waste a good half-hour establishing character...In the second act the action cranks up...Unfortunately Kelly cartoonishly indicates Nellie’s fright and confusion rather than authentically embodying the emotions." Full Review

Natural Life
Chelsea
Time Out New York

"Holly Heiser is committed and convincing…Fractured as it is, the story is easy to follow and moves along. The only perceptible drag is the need for frequent scene changes…Even so, Heiser manages to sustain interest....Whatever the facts of this particular case, there’s a deeper truth involving pervasive misogyny and exploitation that 'Natural Life' pulls up into the light." Full Review

Time Out New York

"A curious, not always successful, but consistently intriguing character study...Director Jo Bonney keeps the pace brisk, the trajectory clear...For O’Brien to draw parallels between Watson’s heroics and his own cushy life as an academically connected playwright comes across as not only presumptuous but parasitical...And yet there’s a decided payoff when O’Brien finally works his way toward a personal epiphany which mirrors in some small measure Watson’s own painful, expiatory journey." Full Review

Nora
West Village
Time Out New York

"Confusion about age is just one of many puzzlements plaguing this intimate, read low-budget, production...You may find yourself grateful for every minute saved, so grating is Lichty's performance in the title role...Supporting actors Andrea Cirie and Larry Bull lend depth and authenticity to a slapped-together show that bears all the earmarks of a vanity production for its star...Her Nora is a flagrant phony and poseur from the get-go, flagging only toward the end." Full Review

Shear Madness
Midtown W
Time Out New York

"Director Bruce Jordan has gathered an excellent cadre of character actors for 'Shear Madness’s' belated New York premiere…Well acted if not exactly captivating, 'Shear Madness' is as insubstantial as Trump’s coiffure. It’s entertainment whipped up for those who find murder, at least in fictional form, potentially uproarious." Full Review

Dear Elizabeth
Upper W Side
Time Out New York

"This rendition is a dull, drab affair—and romantic it is not, despite what appears to be a team effort to insinuate a sublimated attraction between these two pillars of midcentury American poetry...This epistolary abridgment is a bit of a slog, as the pair parry compliments, writing pointers and oft-thwarted plans to get together. Viewing these two influential writers side by side onstage proves much less vivid than encountering them on the page." Full Review

Time Out New York

"A high-energy joyride for audience and actors alike is now viewable in an optimal, intimate setting, ably navigated by Keen Company’s artistic director Jonathan Silverstein...So warped is the play’s moral compass, it may leave yours disturbingly askew." Full Review

The Quare Land
Gramercy
Time Out New York

"Watching a 90-year-old man take his first bath in several years might not sound like a barrel of laughs, but put Irish Rep regular Peter Maloney in that tub, and you're guaranteed a good time...Some plot twists are overly tidy, but no matter. It's a treat to hang out with this rascally, irascible old-timer." Full Review

The New Morality
Midtown W
Time Out New York

"Like a flute of champagne left out in the sun, the vintage play 'The New Morality' (1911) starts off scintillating but ultimately falls flat...Even if the play itself has outlived its moment, the actors—including a superfluous solicitor and the requisite servants—are all excellent and very believably cast, as if plucked from an early 20th-century edition of 'The Tatler'...There are more tiresome places to spend a sultry day on the water." Full Review