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

A Brief History of Women NYC Reviews and Tickets

(46 Ratings)
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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Show-Score Member Reviews (46)

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257 Reviews | 26 Followers
Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Funny, Great staging

See it if You love British casts doing ensemble work; you enjoy Ayckbourn's humor; you love to see things come together unpredictably

Don't see it if you find actors playing different roles in different parts of the same play confusing; you don't appreciate British humor

360 Reviews | 76 Followers
Charming, Great acting, Touching, Entertaining, Tender

See it if like most of us, you love British everything, Alan Ayckbourn, solid dialogue, charming plots that resolve well, great acting and good set.

Don't see it if You're weary from too much Downton Abbey or simply don't enjoy the kind of theatre only the Brits give us.

570 Reviews | 87 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!

140 Reviews | 33 Followers
Delightful, Funny, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing

See it if You like Alan Ayckbourn’s plays, British theater, the genre of tragicomedy, enjoy close up masterful performances.

Don't see it if You don’t enjoy long plays, are looking for a broadway style or a fast paced show

242 Reviews | 44 Followers
Delightful, Funny, Great acting, Great writing, Great staging

See it if you love British comedy and British actors in general, and Ayckbourn in particular - especially his gift for playing games with spaces.

Don't see it if you don't like British humor and you're allergic to over the top caricature, even when skillfully done.

536 Reviews | 279 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.

414 Reviews | 70 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

477 Reviews | 120 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.

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

"Lacks some of the author’s usual substance, though certainly none of his trademark style. While he has, per usual, landed on a clever conceit...The female characters get short shrift—and that’s not like him at all...Perhaps the 60-year period ultimately proved too restrictive. It’s tough to dig deep—and Ayckbourn is the deepest comedic playwright you’ll ever encounter—when you’re traversing such wide terrain."
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