Balls NYC Reviews and Tickets

73%
(102 Reviews)
Positive
77%
Mixed
16%
Negative
7%
Members say
Great staging, Clever, Entertaining, Ambitious, Relevant

About the Show

It's 1973, and Houston's Astrodome is playing host to one of the biggest cultural events of all time as Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs face-off in the Battle of the Sexes tennis match.

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Member Reviews (102)

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567 Reviews | 146 Followers
86
A '70s spectacle with astonishing stagecraft

See it if you can appreciate the impact of '70s cultural icons like Billie Jean King and Helen Reddy. Open to an evening leaning more to a spectacle?

Don't see it if you need a traditional evening of a linear play. This is an event with depth mixed with frolic. The angling of the net is a brilliant effect

469 Reviews | 258 Followers
25
At 80 minutes, "balls" is way too long, Banal, Cliched, Excellent staging, Insipid

See it if you want to see some clever staging by Ianthe Demos and Nick Flint.

Don't see it if you want to be hit over the head with the play's themes. You enjoy plays with well-developed characters, and has an arc.

464 Reviews | 128 Followers
52
Confusing, Disappointing, Dizzying, Excruciatingly loud, Intense

See it if You are a huge tennis fan and need to follow every single aspect of the sport. You saw the movie and want to compare the treatment.

Don't see it if You can’t deal with dialogue that is almost 100% shouted. There is almost no vocal variety.You require a forward moving plot !

Nic
447 Reviews | 86 Followers
80
Ambitious, Relevant, Indulgent, Great staging, Quirky

See it if you’d enjoy a drama about the King-Riggs matches interspersed with the story of how gender constructs affect an unrelated romance.

Don't see it if you would prefer a linear plot that focuses only on the participants in the famous tennis match. Read more

423 Reviews | 99 Followers
35
Clever, Ambitious, Disappointing, Excruciating, Frenzied but slow

See it if You are interested in headlines that were contemporaneous with Riggs vs King match. Tries to tell 3 meaningful stories within the matchplay

Don't see it if You dont like lights and frantic movement, overlapping stories, and overall cacophony. Read more

427 Reviews | 48 Followers
78
Great staging, Ambitious, Entertaining

See it if want a bunch of themes from feminism to scandal lobbed at you (pun intended) in an immersive setting

Don't see it if want more depth as too many ideas thrown out in this short play

414 Reviews | 64 Followers
65
Ambitious, Disappointing, Great staging, Dizzying, Relevant

See it if an overly ambitious piece of theater dealing with equal rights using the famous King/Riggs tennis match as its basis for metaphor.

Don't see it if you know nothing about tennis, especially its scoring or if that famous tennis match is unknown to you.

384 Reviews | 54 Followers
80
Creative, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Funny

See it if you want a show that is about much more than a tennis match. It focuses on women's rights, abortion and LGBT equality, but with humor.

Don't see it if you don't care about how gender equality has advanced in recent history.

Critic Reviews (22)

The New York Times
January 24th, 2018

"Though this action is cleverly devised...and executed perfectly...it is neither tennis nor theater but a kind of hysteria. The whole play seems to be constructed backward, starting with a concept requiring a full 85 minutes of athletic representation and ending with the maddening question of how to fill all that time...Never gets anywhere near an insightful gloss on the battle of the sexes, writ large or small...As intellectually underfed as it is imaginatively overindulgent."
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Theatermania
January 24th, 2018

"A play with so many colliding spheres...While Armento and Lavery manage to juggle a lot in their idea-heavy and plot-light story, quantity ends up burdening a play that could have used a far more delicate touch...Stories circle King and Riggs like satellites...We're led down a rabbit hole of questions...There's not nearly enough time to focus on any of these questions, but they're valuable topics to walk out the door pondering."
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BroadwayWorld
January 26th, 2018

"An exciting and ingenious production...A stunning show that creatively portrays the infamous tennis match...The show presents an energetic, realistic depiction of this 'Battle of the Sexes' match point by point. The narrative cleverly integrates other characters...While the production is colorful, lively, and entertaining, it also does an excellent job of exploring the serious topics...The company of 'Balls' is a dream team."
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Lighting & Sound America
January 26th, 2018

"It's a heady mix, filled with fascinating and evocative details...Despite the richness of its themes, the play is not always successful...Sometimes too much happens at once...At times, King and Riggs end up seeming like supporting characters in their own drama...Still, 'Balls' is never dull...And, in its eccentric way, 'Balls' makes its case that the Battle of the Sexes provides a window on issues that continue to rattle us to this very day."
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Talkin' Broadway
January 24th, 2018

"There is much more here than the re-creation of the match, itself so marvelously choreographed...'Balls' is a work of consummate collaboration that not only immerses us in the sights and sounds we would have encountered at the Astrodome, but also places that singular moment within its historic context...An exceptionally well-wrought ensemble piece...You'll be hard pressed to find a better retelling of a story that has obtained near-mythic status as 'The Battle of the Sexes.'"
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TheaterScene.net
January 26th, 2018

"An overblown and hollow spectacle...Nothing registers as organic or significant, and it all comes across as meaningless filler. The talented cast is spurred on to deliver exaggerated characterizations...When it focuses on these simple human elements, 'Balls' has sparks of interest. However, it goes off on inane tangents with the aim of connecting the events to a contemporary cultural sensibility and is a crashing bore."
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Theatre is Easy
January 24th, 2018

"Riggs' persona is well-written, nuanced, and complex. King's character, however, is less developed and her internal struggles with heterosexism, professionalism, and sexual desire are hinted at but never fully revealed. I found this disappointing. At the same time, there is much to recommend in this production...Movement director Natalie Lomonte has done a stellar job of choreographing...All told, it’s a gripping work. Timely and provocative."
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Theater Pizzazz
January 24th, 2018

"Straightforward depictions tossed together with inventive departures not only forfeit the zeitgeist that defined the times, they marginalize a significant part of recent history and the result is confusion...As flawed as it stands, 'Balls' has a cornucopia of advantages: readily available, vibrant material, excellent staging, sleek choreography and a talented cast. Assiduous editing might take care of the play. The fine team behind the production can certainly take care of the rest."
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