A Brief History of Women
Closed 2h 30m
A Brief History of Women

A Brief History of Women NYC Reviews and Tickets

(46 Reviews)
Members say
Great acting, Entertaining, Clever, Funny, Great staging

About the Show

Part of 59E59's 2018 'Brits Off Broadway' series, Alan Ayckbourn's new, gently touching comedy in four parts follows a man's romantic progress over 60 years.

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Member Reviews (46)

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677 Reviews | 187 Followers
Entertaining, Great acting, Clever, Funny, Sentimental

See it if you want to see a not-so-brief history of a man (& his relationships w/women), sharply written & superbly acted in a new Ayckbourn dramedy.

Don't see it if you expect the biting satire, acerbic wit & absurdist twists of Ayckbourn's best-known works. [This is AA at his more sedate & conventional]

657 Reviews | 147 Followers
Ambitious, Great acting, Funny, Intelligent, Touching

See it if you're a fan of Ayckbourn, enjoy plots that occur over 50+ years, like comedies with a serious heart, enjoy tales set in rural England

Don't see it if you don't like plays set over multiple years or touching comedies that aren't hilarious, actors in multiple roles is confusing,

456 Reviews | 256 Followers
Absorbing, Clever, Great ensemble, Funny, Masterful

See it if you enjoy Alan Ayckbourn's work. Although this is not one of his top-tier plays, it still provides a funny and moving evening of theatre.

Don't see it if you do not like British plays that poke fun at the British class system. Also, if you have a hard time with British accents.

440 Reviews | 115 Followers
Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Great staging

See it if you enjoy seeing the work of an amazingly prolific British playwright superbly performed by versatile actors

Don't see it if you don't like comedies of manners.

443 Reviews | 67 Followers
Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you like bright, funny, inventive theatre.Set alone is worth the price of admission.Acting is top rate.Ayckbourn's writing never disappoints

Don't see it if you want something serious or pithy.This is lighthearted fun, cleverly staged.Title is a bit misleading.It's more the history of a manor!

410 Reviews | 71 Followers
Great writing, Great acting, Entertaining, Set changes are an act by themselves

See it if Aykbourn plot and British humor tells the story of a man’s relationships with women at four different ages.

Don't see it if You are expecting a play that focuses on women. You don’t care for British humor.

392 Reviews | 72 Followers
Entertaining, Clever, Great acting, Funny, Great staging

See it if a funny British play that is sometimes touching; takes place over 60 years in the same manor house whose function changes over those years

Don't see it if you don't like actors playing a variety of different roles no matter how wonderful they are in them; expect more of the focus to be on women Read more

407 Reviews | 67 Followers
Ambitious, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Quirky

See it if you enjoy a playwright that breaks down the fourth wall consistently in his work. Ayckbourn knows no bounds

Don't see it if not his best work, a bit confusing but in the end satisfying

Critic Reviews (32)

The New York Times
May 2nd, 2018

"'A Brief History' can at times feel as broad and overstated as the children's Christmas pantomime that figures crucially in one of the plot lines. Yet just when you start to think that the old master is on autopilot, he turns a sharp corner with a wrench that surprises you into spontaneous tears or giggles or, as often as not, both....The second half features an absolutely heart-rending moment that sounds as if it should be merely silly...Be warned: It is likely to induce stifled sobs."
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Time Out New York
May 2nd, 2018

"The title of Ayckbourn's wistful comedy...is a bit of a trick. The play isn't brief and its barrels of history are not exactly of women...Ayckbourn is past master of theatrical innovation...One of the key pleasures of 'A Brief History' lies in admiring a peak craftsman at work. Everything fits together beautifully, from the third-person limited perspective to the graceful counterbalancing of scene against scene...A strong cast, particularly the superb ranter Dixon...and Shuttleworth."
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The Wall Street Journal
May 8th, 2018

“As usual with Ayckbourn, ‘A Brief History of Women' arises from an ingenious structural premise...Ayckbourn compresses each ‘episode’ of his complex plot into a single scene that plays out in something close to real time, thereby intensifying its emotional impact. A few of the plot lines are explicitly farce-flavored, but shadows of melancholy are rarely far from view...Ayckbourn’s direction is understated and discreetly effective...Madly funny and touching enough to draw tears.”
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May 2nd, 2018

"This one feels comparatively dashed off. It may look and feel like an Ayckbourn play, but it doesn't have the same impact as his brilliant, genre-bending works...For starters, the play is neither brief nor about women...As a director of space, Ayckbourn is eternally skillful...As a director of actors, Ayckbourn is less skillful...Feels a lot like a school assignment where a young dramatist was tasked with writing a play in Ayckbourn's signature style, and walked away with just that, a shadow of a work."
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May 7th, 2018

"This production is brilliantly written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn and features a superb cast...Each of the four parts in the play is wonderfully executed with seamless transitions...Ayckbourn's richly crafted dialogue is delivered with impeccable timing...'The Brief History of Women' is a completely entertaining show while it provides a significant perspective of humanity. This is an important time in society to explore the roles of women and what affects them. Don't miss it!"
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Lighting & Sound America
May 3rd, 2018

"I wouldn't call it one of Ayckbourn's first-rank works -- the scenes, especially the alternately farcical and macabre girls' school sequence, are too uneven for that -- but, overall, this is an unusual and compelling work that makes use of an almost novelistic structure to neatly encapsulate half a century of social upheaval before concluding on a surprisingly moving note...This is an imperfect play, but it's the work of an artist who, in his eighth decade, is still growing."
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Talkin' Broadway
May 2nd, 2018

"A delightfully clever and intricately designed sweet-sad-comical-romantic work...Performed by the tight-knit collective of six splendid actors...Not about anything grand and important. But it is a sublimely realized juggling act, in which the seemingly random juxtaposition of the characters turns into a perfectly arranged set of falling dominos. Likewise, the tone moves effortlessly between the wildly comic and heartfelt tear-inducing moments."
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New York Stage Review
May 2nd, 2018

"It will not go unnoticed that the women are defined largely in terms of their personal relationships with men...But there is something to be admired, even now—particularly now, in fact—about a work that reflects unselfconsciously and with genuine appreciation on a journey apart from one’s own, even in as modest and unabashedly sentimental a spirit as Ayckbourn furnishes here...The play’s easygoing wit and unapologetic tenderness are refreshing."
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