New York | 1h 50m | Already closed

A Real Boy

From 13 critic and 18 member reviews
Members say: Thought-provoking, Relevant, Ambitious, Clever, Intelligent

About the show

Ivy Theatre Company, in association with Athena Theatre, present a satiric play about what happens when two puppets adopt a human child. More…

When the young boy starts growing strings, his kindergarten teacher takes it upon herself to "save" him. 'A Real Boy' explores life for those on the fringe of society and the tensions that arise when others try to fix their "problems."

Talkin' Broadway

"A work-in-progress...'A Real Boy' veers off into far too many directions...'A Real Boy' contains some wonderfully absurd situations and dialog...But neither the director, Audrey Alford, nor the diverse cast have quite figured out the tone or the direction they want to go with this. The plot...needs to be more sharply focused, and the characters need to be more clearly drawn...The play is in sore need of honing and polishing in order to escape its thematic tug-of-war." Full Review

Woman Around Town

"A thoroughly original way to examine prejudice from both sides of the fence...And now, the bad news...The omissions in writing obscure parallels...The play’s ending is effective and unexpected. Alford seems oblivious to stage sight lines...Acting is wildly uneven. Neither actor/handler is an adequate puppeteer...There are lots of good ideas here, but not enough distinctive writing." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"'A Real Boy' certainly raises some interesting and uneasy questions, but unfortunately it gets tangled in symbolism and loses emotional connection with the audience. But despite the fact that the play gets confused by its own conventions and, as a result, suffers from muddled direction and acting, 'A Real Boy' bares a grain of noble intention." Full Review

Stage Buddy

"The play deals with the essential ideas of self-acceptance and acceptance of others, and the emotional intensity of the performers is commendable, but, the use of the puppets was a hindrance rather than an enhancement to metaphor and emotion. I wanted to see George’s face as Mary grappled with what was best for Max, but I was distracted by the clumsiness of the expressionless puppet. Selznick also gives a moving performance and their vulnerable portrayal of Max was a highlight." Full Review

Front Row Center

"'A Real Boy' is trying very, very hard to be a real story about real issues...The fact that it fails in spite of the talent is disappointing...Michael and George seem to have some real acting chops. What they have not been guided to do is handle a marionette...The reality of this choice–to make the marionettes, well, marionettes instead of 'people'–creates a conflict that buries the story...The parable sputters across the finish line, and the good intentions are for naught." Full Review

Village Voice

"It becomes almost immediately apparent that we are dealing with a hilariously simplistic play that wants to function as a strained allegory about learning to tolerate difference...The marionette work here is so tentative that it feels like both Michael and George have been plunged into their task without adequate training…In the midst of this bewildering whack-a-mole symbolism, Danie Steel gives a snazzy sketch-comedy performance." Full Review


“Kaplan's colored his play with so much commentary...the result disorients rather than illuminates. The staging, under the sloppy direction of Audrey Alford, adds to the confusion…It's hard to see what's happening…Which, frankly, is just as well…While the puppets are underwhelming, the human characters are overdone…If Kaplan and other members of this production had studied reality more closely themselves, they might have given audiences a real play." Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

"Kaplan’s tackling racism, homophobia, bigotry...But it pains me to say, that this play and its production is a major fail on almost all counts. A full F grade...Everything about the space, design, and construction work against the play making transitional moments overly long and tedious...The text, especially in the last ten minutes, squanders all the possibilities of making a clear and concise point...This show sunk down to the bottom of the tank with each passing minute.” Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

“A real muddle, a weird tale about the plight of marionettes that gets thoroughly tangled in its own plot strings…In all my decades of theatregoing, I cannot think of another play that used its central plot device more awkwardly and to so little effect…The problems abound in Alford's production. The puppet characters lack any sense of individuality…The performances are shrill and overwrought throughout, a clear sign that nobody in the cast has a clear notion of how to proceed.” Full Review

Cliched, Confusing, Disappointing, Quirky, Slow

See it if You really like puppets

Don't see it if You don't like confusing mixed metaphors and clunky staging.

Confusing, Banal, Indulgent

See it if don't.

Don't see it if don't.

Cast & Creatives (17)