Closed 2h 0m
Barbecue
East Village
78

Barbecue NYC Reviews and Tickets

78%
(60 Reviews)
Positive
80%
Mixed
13%
Negative
7%
Members say
Funny, Clever, Original, Entertaining, Hilarious

About the Show

The Public Theater presents award-winning playwright Robert O'Hara's world premiere dark comedy about a dysfunctional group of siblings who stage an intervention for their drug-addicted sister.

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Member Reviews (60)

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47
Disappointing, Confusing, Overrated

See it if I left at intermission.

Don't see it if Just don't see it.

83
Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Intelligent, Intense

See it if You love great acting and an interesting and unique idea for a play.

Don't see it if You don't like surprises and somewhat confusing plots.

Critic Reviews (32)

October 8th, 2015

"A rawly funny but uneven new comedy...The fun stops a little too early: Mr. O’Hara springs a big reveal at the close of the first act that ultimately turns the play in a more serious and less satisfying direction...Mr. O’Hara jolts us with a twist that ends the first act on an admittedly intriguing note. What follows, unfortunately, lets the helium out of the balloon, as the second act mostly dispatches with comedy entirely."
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October 8th, 2015

"Robert O’Hara’s brash, taboo-flouting roast of race and representation... As in the playwright's hilarious 'Bootycandy', most of the scenes involve extreme, broadly drawn comic conflict. I suspect that Barbecue could be even stronger if it took a longer step out of caricature, but that’s clearly not what O’Hara is after. For better or worse, his satire is relentless."
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October 8th, 2015

"I’ve not laughed as hard in the theater, or felt as uncomfortable about it, since O’Hara’s 'Bootycandy...' I’m not categorically opposed to plays whose logic doesn’t track, or those that move from yuks to yikes; but this one loses its sprightliness and sense of direction. It is not without its moments of levity, its piercingly apt observations of certain kinds of people. But after such a furious boil of comedy in Act One, the attempted drama of Act Two can only feel like a comedown."
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October 18th, 2015

"Robert O’Hara’s new play, 'Barbecue' (directed with vigor and understanding by Kent Gash), is my idea of an American classic, or the kind of classic we need. Although its fecund imagination seems unlimited, the work wouldn’t exist if it didn’t have the junk of our times to feed on—and spit out. Set, for the most part, in a nameless public park in the middle of the country, 'Barbecue' unfolds in a kind of electrified space, filled with leaf-curling light."
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October 8th, 2015

"In Robert O'Hara's very funny, recurringly surprising, and ultimately fairly thoughtful new play, which alternates between slapstick and serious, nearly everything is doubled, mirrored, multilayered, at least slightly dishonest...in a great moment at the end of the first act, you will discover that O'Hara's point is something else entirely. You will most likely hoot out loud at the revelation. You'll return for the second act, eager to see where things are going."
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October 8th, 2015

"O’Hara has proved he can pull a rabbit out of a hat. 'Barbecue' is lousy with rabbits — and laughs. But it’s curiously light on substance...When talk between two characters turns serious — rehab, family, sexuality — it almost feels out of place. Fortunately, it’s nothing a few well-timed one-liners can’t fix."
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October 8th, 2015

"Robert O’Hara’s cruelly funny new play, 'Barbecue,' shrewdly turns the formula for the American domestic comedy on its head, forcing uneasy thoughts about the facile presumptions we make about poverty, race and social class, as applied to dysfunctional families."
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October 11th, 2015

"The first act concludes with a major revelation, and the comparatively toned-down second act essentially serves as a discussion of what we've already seen, with a few more surprises thrown in for good measure. 'Barbecue' may be rough and scattershot, but it is intellectually vigorous, often hilarious and quite exciting."
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October 8th, 2015

"A wild theatrical experience that defies logic and explanation. O'Hara has created a true satire, laden with as much humor as there is criticism...The fact that everything is given equal weight and thought, and is presented with such audacious originality, sets it far apart from the competition. Easily one of the funniest plays of the year and one of the most searing appraisals of contemporary culture, 'Barbecue' proves O'Hara can cook with gas."
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October 9th, 2015

"I can say with full confidence that, even if 'Barbecue' takes nearly a full act before it fully roars to life, O'Hara has pulled off a dazzling sleight of hand that makes any number of deadly accurate points about the social industry that produces our perceptions of race and myths of self-invention. Not only is 'Barbecue' filled with surprises; each of them packs a wicked sting."
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October 8th, 2015

"After all the zany chance-taking of Act I, the second act just doesn't offer enough to make the loss worthwhile. Because what's good is so good, it's difficult not to wish that 'Barbecue' were evenly cooked all the way through."
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October 12th, 2015

"'Barbecue' shines with equal doses of comedic gold and intellectual stimulation...Despite murkiness, O’Hara succeeds in planting some questions that linger long after the play’s celebratory ending. He is once again preoccupied with who gets to tell our stories, and luckily in this case it is O’Hara who has the pen."
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October 9th, 2015

"Go see 'Barbecue.' You’ll be intellectually inspired and comedically delighted...In this season of disappointing experimental theater productions, 'Barbecue' is proof of concept. Chances are taken and reality is distorted but, unlike those other plays, it works here. It really works."
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October 8th, 2015

"This is the funniest and most original play I've seen in a long time...This is a big, meaty, uproarious satire that's sure to be another hit...O'Hara has a lot more on his mind than telling his version of such a story with over-the-top familial stereotypes. Both acts are full of surprises...all the actors are terrific....director Gash has helped the cast to seamlessly inhabit their challenging roles and added to the play's pleasures with a deluxe physical production...Thumbs up. Don't miss it."
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October 8th, 2015

"An outrageous, sly comedy. Some of O’Hara’s surprises turn this funny but uncomfortable story of a family who would not win any NAACP Image Awards into something clever and thoughtful. 'Barbecue' winds up much more satisfying theater than it initially promises to be...'Barbecue' manages to roast its raw characters, while at the same time basting the audience in juicy observations about race and class, truth and 'authenticity,' and modern addictions, including to fame."
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October 9th, 2015

"'Barbecue' is a finger lickin’ good, frequently hilarious, marvelously directed, and outstandingly performed satire on racial stereotypes, Hollywood, addiction, rehab, family dynamics, overweening ambition, memoir writing, and the relative value of truth versus lies...Seeing the actors go at this material with turbojet energy, spewing profanities like they were sunflower seeds, and squeezing every moment for total impact, is a joy.”
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October 8th, 2015

"There's a whiff of superiority about his intentions...But then the cunning dramatist pulls a fast one. He shifts gears in as radical a manner as any sleight-of-hand playwright has in recent, and even not so recent, memory...Whether the elongated nature of the first act is compensated for by the second act--which surely depends on falling for the second-act development--is up in the air. But O'Hara can be thanked for taking the risk as well as for much of the furious humor he unleashes."
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B
October 8th, 2015

"Robert O’Hara’s raunchy and raucous new play at the Public Theater is full of surprises...O'Hara's inventiveness does not flag...While the satire is far from subtle, the play is so entertaining that I didn’t mind the heavy-handedness."
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October 8th, 2015

"It’s wickedly funny. But the real delight of “Barbecue” is watching its bold, audaciously structured story unfold...The first act is tough to follow...The actors all perform way over the top and each of them deserves to be there."
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October 10th, 2015

"'Barbecue,' the sly satire that opened this week at the Public Theater, is filled with so many surprises that the ushers won't even hand out programs until the intermission...There is plenty of fun to be had, particularly in the first act, even though it may not be the kind of humor appreciated by the politically correct, among whose numbers I've been known to be on occasion. But even I couldn't resist the dare-you-not-to-laugh antics that playwright O'Hara has his characters commit."
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October 10th, 2015

"'Barbecue' may be a little more flawed but it confirms O'Hara as a playwright you don't want to miss....A flawed play with a strong first act, a sputtering second act, a good cast and solid tech elements. O'Hara tosses a lot of plates in the air and - while many of them crash - it's invigorating to watch...I can't recommend 'Barbecue' as strongly as 'Booty Candy'. But O'Hara is clearly a talent you want to watch develop. By all means go."
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October 10th, 2015

"O'Hara has thrown a lot of ingredients into a big pot in 'Barbecue,' and they don't blend perfectly. But messy as the narrative sometimes becomes, there's something exhilarating about the enthusiasm, and bright humor, with which he explores the possibilities of theater. His play might be flawed, but it's also very entertaining."
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October 18th, 2015

"Robert O'Hara's biting play takes raw concepts of truth, fiction and entertainment and grills them over a well-lit flame. He confronts America's love affair with suffering, the obsessional nature of celebrity and the tricky issues of race and class and skewers them to a crisp...A smack upside the head on the nature of 'reality,' 'Barbecue' is a smart, sassy original."
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October 8th, 2015

"O’Hara has written a comedy about getting reality to fit the truth we’ve previously constructed for it. 'Barbecue' is different and definitely worth seeing -- but after a point, I had to give up listening for anything fresh and just let the playwright bat me around with the figurative stack of Us magazines he so ably wields."
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October 8th, 2015

"I wish I could tell you all about Robert O'Hara's terrific new play, 'Barbecue.' I wish I could tell you about the Brechtian breaks and just why the play is so provocative. But to dive into the details would be to spoil the fun of sitting in the theatre and watching it unfold...He continues to tantalize the audience with the unexpected, constantly shifting any sort of home base...Bravo to the terrific ensemble."
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November 9th, 2015

"Well this is one of the more surprising shows I’ve seen lately. Perhaps its structural twists and turns won’t surprise you, but I was very happy to go along for the crazy and unexpected ride that is 'Barbecue'...So glad I took a chance on this one."
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October 7th, 2015

"O'Hara says a number of clever, layered things about race, class, representation, and the media. The play is very, very funny,..The first act felt a little shrill, and in general, making the poor and uneducated the butt of extended jokes seems pretty cheap. But the ensemble work here is excellent--so is the direction and the set. And for my quibbles, the play's a genuine hoot."
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October 3rd, 2015

"'Barbecue' is both hilarious and thought provoking...Above all, it's great fun. O'Hara's theatrical world is always a bizarre cartoon-like distortion of reality. Director Kent Gash and the large cast has given the play an excellent, perfectly paced production. Highly recommended."
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October 9th, 2015

"With any great performance, or great play, there is always an element of mystery. That is doubly true of Robert O’Hara’s raunchy fun-fest. In fact, the reveals are so terrific that the audience doesn’t even receive programs until the intermission. And for very good reasons. Such good reasons that I’m at a loss to tell you why you should run, not walk, to this wonderful production."
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October 19th, 2015

"O'Hara's eye-popping, meta-theatrical, reality-TV-for-the-auditorium, kitchen sink drama - under the innovative directorial vision of Kent Gash - could be a taste of where theater is going; It taps into today's bizarro zeitgeist and really pushes a insurrectionary mirror echo back in our faces. O'Hara's script gives way to the spectacular cast to fan the fires of an atomic blast of a second act...Self-invention, intervention, exploitation and raw ambition stew below this riotously funny domestic drama."
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October 8th, 2015

"I’ll only reveal enough to convince you that you must see this play, and given that the aspects of this play are divine in every way, it won’t take much...by the end of this two-act, O’Hara has explored a slew of relevant topics, all while telling a story that left my and the entire audiences’ mouths vacillating between two positions: screaming in laughter, and agape in utter shock...Go forth and see good theatre. Go see 'Barbecue.'"
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E
October 9th, 2015

"'Barbecue' was an utterly unique and thought provoking look into stereotypes, similarities and racial identities...A real treat...If for nothing else, see the play for an evening of laughter and a real look at what the line between cultures is."
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