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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178 Reviews | 22 Followers
Banal, Cliched, Dated, Slow

See it if You like over-long Downton Abbey genre material with stereotypical British class characters in formulaic situations

Don't see it if You are not a fan of dated British soap opera-type productions which take 2 1/2 hours to come to a point. Read more

109 Reviews | 8 Followers
Disappointing, Lackluster, Sluggish, Melodramatic, Banal

See it if you are in need of a nap.

Don't see it if you like theatre that is cutting edge. Read more

16 Reviews | 9 Followers
Disappointing, Slow, Great acting

See it if You like the British playwright, Alan Ayckbourn You enjoyed The Norman Conquests

Don't see it if You expect a show that is anywhere near as good and funny as The Norman Conquests

5 Reviews | 7 Followers
Cliched, Disappointing, Overrated

See it if you like seeing traditional British theater.

Don't see it if you want to see something modern or fresh.

169 Reviews | 162 Followers
During previews
Excruciating, Dated, Disappointing, Indulgent, Some fun & genuine poignancy

See it if Four interlocked plays (set every 20 years 1925 to 1985), excellent production, terrific actors . One character, Spates, ages from 17 to 77.

Don't see it if BUT 1st half (the setup) was SO tedious, I thought I was in Ayckbourn HELL. Feels long at over 2 1/2 hrs, yet caring sets-in & admiration.

45 Reviews | 13 Followers
During previews
Confusing, Disappointing, Clever but distracting set, Great acting of second rate material

See it if If you like spectacular acting. A few touching scenes.

Don't see it if you want to see Ayckbourn at his best. He's done better. if you don't want to see clever but unnecessary staging, mumbled not unclear speec Read more

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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