The New Group presents a coming-of-age drama about two teen girls' first experiments with the opposite sex. Starring Abigail Breslin ('Little Miss Sunshine,' 'Scream Queens') and Isabelle Fuhrman ('Masters of Sex.') More…
Fourteen-year-old best friends Jenny and Emily are hungry for experience, and in suburban South Carolina in the late '80s, it's readily found with older boys. Emily chooses her senior crush from the high school play, and Jenny a man she’s seen at her family’s church. With parallel stories that take tricky and terrifying turns, 'All the Fine Boys' dives deep into the fascinations and complications of sexual awakening and the first painful gasps of adulthood.
“Lives torn apart, fine young boys who aren’t so fine, young girls who dream–sexual awakenings gone amok; not unfamiliar themes. However, Erica Schmidt–writer and director–has put her own spin on it with a talented young ensemble of actors from film and television with an ability to hold audience attention (albeit the rapid-fire pace of dialogue from Jenny sometimes comes out as gibberish).” Full Review
"Schmidt's excellent and disturbing (and surprisingly funny) new play...It's a cliche to call a play thought-provoking, but I've been thinking about 'All the Fine Boys' frequently since I saw it; it has provoked a lot of thoughts...The performances are quite good, but the casting is perhaps a little off...Schmidt's direction of her play is smooth, well-paced, and unobtrusive. Authors aren't always their own best directors, but Schmidt-the-director respects and gets Schmidt-the-writer." Full Review
"Schmidt weaves the narrative of the two girls together beautifully, showing the parallels of each and their troubling twists...The cast are all so natural, and the dialogue so believable that we are left rattled by the many twists, even if some are ultimately a bit cliché. Although Ms. Schmidt has not chosen the most original subject matter, there is enough stellar acting here to make us overlook the sometimes too-familiar territory of adolescent angst and teenage sexuality." Full Review
"A first-rate quartet of actors lend gravity and depth to 'All the Fine Boys,' a slightly odd and decidedly disturbing drama…The most accomplished part of the play is the ways Schmidt reveals just how conflicted Joseph truly is about his actions. Moreover, Tippett is quite remarkable in letting us see Joseph in all his pain, tragedy, and perversity. Meanwhile, Breslin proves to be a brilliant acting partner as she unleashes rage, desperation and adoration upon Joseph." Full Review
"Schmidt does a magnificent job portraying the awkwardness of teenagers' first sexual experiences...The flaws in 'All The Fine Boys' might be in its carefully constructed clues: a major plot point is foreshadowed multiple times, making it difficult to be surprised. But the cast is a treat to watch, with Tippett and Breslin brewing up a storm while Furman and Wolff make a poetic match." Full Review
"Schmidt has a knack for writing dialogue that flows with ease and Breslin and Fuhrman deliver it with aplomb...Schmidt captures the precarious limbo between childhood and adulthood...What transpires...is horrifically haunting and continues to unsettle long after the play has ended but reeks of the heavy-handed touch of an after-school special. I left the theatre wondering if the carnage is necessary? But then I thought when something terrible happens, that’s usually a question we ask." Full Review
“Emily and Adam provide the far more predictable set-up…The mark of Schmidt’s talent as a writer and a director, however, is other heroine. What intrigues about the Jenny-and-Joseph scenes is that Jenny appears to be the one in control…Breslin deftly handles the shifts back and forth between manipulator and victim...Because their scenes together promise so much drama, we watch the other couple more out of goodwill than real interest, despite Wolff’s best efforts." Full Review
"From the occasionally clunky metaphors to the mostly surface level trappings of late '80s nostalgia, it would be a stretch to call any aspect of the play subtle, but the work is, nonetheless, powerful or, perhaps more accurately put, disturbing...The couples deliver strong performances and find an engaging, if at turns problematic, chemistry...'All the Fine Boys' is a powerful indictment against our inability to make room for and attempt to understand teen female sexuality." Full Review
"Schmidt's raw one-act drama juxtaposes the first sexual encounters of a pair of 14-year-old BFFs...While this is hardly virgin territory, there's a stinging authenticity to their awkward interactions that's alternately hilarious and horrifying...Organized into a series of two-person scenes, 'All the Fine Boys' falls into a predictable rhythm, though a few necessarily stomach-churning sequences jolt. You'll probably know where these ladies are headed long before they do." Full Review
"Breslin gives a fearless, vanity-free performance...She's evenly matched by Joe Tippett, one of my favorite actors, who creates genuine sympathy for a man who could easily have been portrayed as the clichéd villain...The subject matter isn't new. And although Schmidt has a nice way with dialog, her play is clunky in parts. Still, the performances make 'All the Fine Boys' just fine enough." Full Review
"Schmidt keeps both plotlines moving in tandem, but this parallel structure results in a distinctly unbalanced drama...One narrative feels honest; the other is hopelessly overwrought...Nevertheless, all four cast members expertly bring to life these two ill-fated courtships...The most interesting thing about 'All the Fine Boys' is that neither Jenny nor Emily is a victim, although things go very badly for at least one of them...Still, it often feels like two plays stitched together." Full Review
"Schmidt's contrivance leaves little doubt as to where we are headed. Luckily, she is skilled enough as a director to build ample tension in a play mostly lacking suspense. The result is an engrossing bit of sensationalism...This stellar cast is able to turn their broadly drawn characters into human beings...Unfortunately, Schmidt's treatment of these subjects feels as nourishing as the Pringles Jenny stuffs in her mouth...While it's fun and tasty, you know you'll be hungry again in an hour." Full Review
"The actors playing teenagers are all young adults, which makes them seem too old for their parts...Fuhrman and Breslin do a decent job at playing younger, but the obstacle remains...How Joseph could stay with the inane Abigail for five minutes much less several days is a major puzzlement. After all, we have no reason to believe he's a serial pedophile. This becomes harder to swallow as her childishness increases and he finds himself threatened by it." Full Review
“The momentum is erratic and disjointed, and over the course of this 100-minute play, so is our interest…Breslin disappoints as her character is largely one note while also being annoying…Emily’s plight is the most centered of the lot while Joseph’s uncontrollable desire and flaw seems believable and tragic. But the ones these two are paired with are either difficult to care for, or hard to believe in. It makes for some lopsided scenes and some disconnected moments.” Full Review
"If 'All The Fine Boys' had just been the scenes between Emily and Adam, the play would have been a sweet, funny, awkward, well-observed coming-of-age tale. Adam, as portrayed by Wolff, is hilariously full of himself, but he also treats Emily with respect, and we see the two of them mature just in the short time frame of the play. But the scenes between Jenny and Joe wind up as a combination Lifetime movie cautionary tale, and campy Grand Guignol horror movie." Full Review
"Ms. Breslin’s self-conscious, underdeveloped performance...At 20, she still comes across as older than her years, so casting her to portray a 14-year-old is a puzzling decision — one that knocks the production badly out of kilter. The cumulative impact of the play hinges on Jenny, so it is no small thing that she never seems real...The play is smarter and more deliberate on the page than it seems in this world-premiere production." Full Review
"All four actors give solid performances...Unfortunately Erica Schmidt also wastes the potential to make 'All the Fine Boys' a compelling modern 'American Tragedy.' Instead the situations she has put her characters in are way too predictably developed, and except for a few scenes, more unpleasant than absorbing to watch...'All the Fine Boys' does fit the The New Group's taste for venturing into dark, provocative territory. Too bad it's dark but not provocative enough." Full Review
"The point seems to be that, under the wrong circumstances, girls can grow up too fast—and too dangerously—but the scenario as constructed here stretches credulity past the breaking part, and doesn't engage our sympathy at all...Despite adroit isolated moments throughout, the play as a whole is richly unsatisfying; the men simply can't compete with the women, and are given far too many opportunities to prove it...'All the Fine Boys' is monochromatic at best." Full Review
“Awful…Although the play is set in 1980’s South Carolina, there is little sense of time or place…The most glaring flaw in the play is the cartoonish depiction of Jenny as a grotesque figure with an unlimited appetite for junk food. The long scenes of her and Joseph are hard to watch. The staging is awkward.. It’s a stretch to believe the two women are teenagers, but that’s probably a blessing…Playwright Erica Schmidt can’t blame the director for the outcome: she directed.” Full Review
"Even with some plot holes, 'All the Fine Boys' is a choppy play that needed guidance. There are cliches aplenty...Taking on the dual roles of playwright and director, Erica Schmidt wasn't able to delineate the two. And it shows in the writing. Having a talented cast bolstered the script despite its flaws...'All the Fine Boys' is a thematically interesting play that doesn't offer anything new. The production is saved by the cast but that can only go so far." Full Review
“Why did Erica Schmidt feel compelled to tell this story? It’s not a new one. It’s been told many times before. No new insights into motivation or character on either side...And there were some thin parts in the plot. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not badly written, the characters are fully developed, there’s some humor, there’s some dramatic tension. But in the end, I just couldn’t see the point. I will say that the performances were excellent.” Full Review
"'All the Fine Boys' adds nothing new or controversial about the conversation surrounding pedophilia...There are several issues that detract from the overall success of 'All the Fine Boys.' It does not work to use the same space as the setting for every scene...The action here is flat and not as engaging as it needs to be...The four actors do their best with this piece...One hopes for more suspense and a deeper understanding of the important subject matter throughout." Full Review
"As a script, ‘All the Fine Boys’ does not give actors much to chew on…Both girls are drawn with broad, uncomplicated strokes…As Emily, Isabelle Fuhrman pulls from the role what she can…On the other hand, Abigail Breslin as Jenny never quite finds her groove…Being a girl in her early teens is painfully awkward and anyone who ever was one knows that. However, instead of delving into that world and helping us to feel something about it, 'All the Fine Boys' simply sits with not much to say." Full Review
"It’s a shame we barely see Jenny and Emily share scenes together, except an overlong sleepover scene at the top of the show...Unfortunately the bulk of the plot comes from scenes between Jenny and Joseph, which are poorly written and have predictable plot twists. Add in Breslin’s raspy smoker’s voice and it’s difficult to believe the tension between the so-called teen and her older abductor...This tired attempt at a thriller would be better served as a late-night Lifetime movie." Full Review
“More exploitative than illuminating…Schmidt doesn’t do this play any favors with her sluggishly paced direction…From its trivial opening scene to its melodramatic conclusion, ‘All the Fine Boys’ feels shallow and superficial. What seems clearly intended to be a haunting examination of lost innocence instead comes across like a cautionary made-for-television film from the '80s, the era in which the play is set.” Full Review
See it if you're down for a show that deals with sex in a dramatically frank manner, you want a piece that challenges you
Don't see it if you don't tolerate stereotypically too-much-rambling teenager speak, you're not comfortable with seeing sexual acts onstage
See it if you'd appreciate an involving drama about the risks taken as we come of age. The performances are commendable, Tippett & Breslin especially.
Don't see it if you'd be frustrated by a play in which all the main characters are not equally developed. It does leave a slight sense of dissatisfaction.
See it if You you want something to dig your teeth into, and you like a show with diverging themes.
Don't see it if You can't suspend reality, whether it's a set that serves for different scenes, or actor who play a different age.
See it if You think you"'ll enjoy a very intimate - sometimes uncomfortable - evening of theatre. Only four actors in the show and all are perfect.
Don't see it if An in-your-face coming of age story is not appealing to you.
See it if You can ignore the actors' ages and enjoy solid performances
Don't see it if You might be offended by simulated sex or violence on stage - forgot/want to forget what adolescence was like
See it if you'd like to see Abigail Breslin grown up, stories of high school aged young women trying to define themselves, funny yet tragic situatiion
Don't see it if teenage girls behaving badly & trying to discover their sexuality don't interest you, predictable tragic endings disturb you,
See it if You like well performed dramas about uncomfortable subject matter. Breslin & Tippett are excellent & their scenes are scaringly believable.
Don't see it if A bit uneven. The secondary couple's story is not as interesting or engaging, found myself waiting for Breslin/Tippett to return.
See it if This is more like 2 separate plays mashed together of very different qualities. One riveting, one baffling. Still the good outweighs the bad
Don't see it if subject matter of desperate 14 y-o girls in need of attention with tragic consequences. Heavy but done believably and successfully.
See it if This was a coming-of-age story about 2 teenage girls that starts as a giggly comedy but quickly veers off into drama and then tragedy.
Don't see it if It shows the parallel lives of two friends and how their lives went off in different directions. It bothered me that we got no background
See it if You're looking for something pretty mindless and fun. Breslin's storyline works while Fuhrman's doesn't. First time I've liked Joe Tippett.
Don't see it if The lives of teenage girls and their sexual exploits don't interest you. Or if you expect a story that doesn't go exact how you think.
See it if you'd enjoy a show about the perils of being a teenage girl in the throes of sexual awakening.
Don't see it if Teenage banter and silliness annoy you; you want a heavier and more important drama.
See it if you want to see a fascinating and dark exploration of the intersection between ambition and coming of age.
Don't see it if you're going for Abigail Breslin. This production probably would've been better served by a different actress. (Rest of the cast is great.)
See it if you like messed up dramas. If you do there is no way you will not like this play. The acting was top of the line. The actors being old di
Don't see it if nt matter. if you are looking for a happy ending and need that type of play you won't like this. The costumes were great, it felt like 80'
See it if you like coming of age stories and young female sexuality exploration (or exploitation).
Don't see it if you are looking for a lighter story (it does start light & funny) or are uncomfortable with explicit or innapropriate sexual scenes.
See it if enjoy intense & dark drama performed by a talented cast in a small, intimate setting.
Don't see it if want perfection, I look at this piece as a work in progress and yes the story could use work, so skip it if that will bother you.
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