Set in Southern Appalachia, Atlantic's world-premiere is a pitch-dark comedy about heartbreak, hell-raising, and healing. More…
In "Blue Ridge" a progressive high-school teacher with a rage problem retaliates against her unscrupulous boss and is sentenced to six months at a church-sponsored halfway house, where she attends to everyone's recovery but her own.
“A brilliant new drama...performed flawlessly by a virtuoso ensemble...’Blue Ridge’ gives us a safe opportunity to get to know six deeply troubled characters...The love and connection between Rosebrock’s characters is the script’s most endearing quality...Rosebrock’s script is brilliant—understated without being vague, and volatile without being melodramatic...Magar’s direction is just as subtle and complex as Rosebrock’s writing...One of the great new plays of 2019.” Full Review
"Beautifully articulated, extremely wise play...Rosebrock sets her plot going in an impressive blend of humor, pathos, theatrics, surprise and heady dramatic spice...Interpersonal eruptions unfold and mount in increasingly incendiary scenes that underline Rosebrock’s command of psychological complexities...Rosebrock’s script receives first-rate direction from Taibi Magar, whose cast members are uniformly flawless." Full Review
“Rosebrock’s muscular, roiling new play...luminously acted...under the swift, sure hand of Magar...In its early stages, Rosebrock’s play nimbly balances on a knife edge between weird, excitingly uncomfortable comedy and deep, hideous pain...’Blue Ridge’ deals courageously in hard, sad human truths, the kind of metastasized stuff that might take a lifetime to heal. Rosebrock’s unsentimental insight and the ensemble’s raw fearlessness make it sting, and Ireland makes it stick." Full Review
“What makes ‘Blue Ridge’ compelling theater is its flawed cast of characters...Everyone in this stellar cast adds critical layers of personality and feeling to the spoken words...This play is not filled with simple exposition...’Blue Ridge’ requires one to pause, to think, to observe, to question, to consider and to feel a wide range of emotions and thoughts. You will laugh along with this dark comedy. You will also be moved as to why and how difficult it is for some people to safely escape." Full Review
"Rosebrock intimately captures the fragile ecosystem of this group home...Rosebrock and director Taibi Magar also show how, even in this obsessively confessional place, the truth can easily be obscured...It all feels chillingly true to life...Rosebrock strings us along with fully formed characters, all given relatable and sensitive performances by this excellent cast." Full Review
“Magar brings an effortless grace to Rosebrock’s flowing script. Nothing seems forced or hurried...A quiet play, but it’s never dull. It has its occasional explosions, and its dialogue is peppered with literary allusions, humor, and unexpected personal details...Characters are well-etched. Firmly anchored by Marin’s Alison...it tells a story that’s surprisingly satisfying in its lack of resolution and surprisingly engaging given its deceptively meandering pace.” Full Review
"A comedy that morphs into an intensely acted drama...Ireland’s remarkable performance brings out the full range and force of Alison’s personality with every gesture and expression. And she is not alone. Rosebrock’s script feels flawed at times in two contrary ways — sometimes aimlessly meandering, sometimes abruptly implausible. But under the direction of Taibi Magar, the production serves as a stellar showcase for some riveting acting by all six members of the cast." Full Review
"A devastating examination of how even smart, strong women can be deformed by a society that raises them to please...Director Magar ably steers the show through various modes, from biting dark humor to emotional outbursts and quiet confessions. Although the script and the accents sometimes wander, Rosebrock beautifully fleshes out all the characters...Thanks to Ireland’s expertly modulated performance, you never turn on her; you just wish she’d find a way to start healing." Full Review
“A character-driven drama...Even if ‘Blue Ridge’ is lacking razor-sharp wit and stunning surprises...Rosebrock succeeds in creating six well-rounded characters with believable flaws and inescapable fates. There are few explosions to be found here, but the simmering tensions brought to bear by a strong ensemble of actors under the tight direction of Taibi Magar provide a satisfying status quo; they are a happy indication of the playwright’s continuing growth." Full Review
"The ensemble’s excellent characterizations in this production lift the piece to palatable...What I appreciated about Ms. Rosebrock’s work is that everything is not explained. After the obligatory exposition, there are historical facts and character traits in each person that exist without any explanation of what they mean or why they’re there. She’s not afraid to let her characters exist without apologizing for them." Full Review
"The first act builds slowly to a surprising climax that I did not see coming. The second act features a gripping emotional meltdown, but then spins its wheels and ends on an unsatisfying note...Director Magar shows an affinity for the material. For me the opportunity to see Ireland emote was reason enough to attend. The rest of the fine cast more than holds its own onstage with her. At its best moments, the play is quite gripping. It’s just good enough that one wishes it were even better." Full Review
"Brave. Raw. Truthful. Compelling. These adjectives have been applied with unusual consistency to the work of actress Marin Ireland for nearly 20 years, so it should be far from surprising that they prove, once again, to be absolutely fitting when describing her performance as Alison, a woman with serious issues of anger, self-esteem and narcissism, in Abby Rosebrock's ultimately harrowing drama 'Blue Ridge.'" Full Review
"The remarkable actor Marin Ireland delivers a big, inventive, overwrought performance that might even be more devastating if it were cut in half...One of the real pleasures of Rosebrock’s writing is that, while Ireland’s Alison has more Appalachian twang than a half-dozen hillbillies, she’s one of the smartest characters on the stage...What is perfectly developed are Alison’s razor-precise and spot-on attacks on the pervasive male patriarchy surrounding her, and smothering her." Full Review
“Rosebrock introduces an interesting mélange of broken characters in her new play...As multidimensional and multi-leveled as these characters are, the playwright never allows them to develop fully...Rosebrock chooses to tackle a myriad of relevant and important themes...Although not one of these themes receives an exhaustive exploration...Magar directs with acute care allowing each actor to explore their character’s conflicts and the resolution of those conflicts." Full Review
“Although the group's meetings often seem more like coffee klatches than therapy...Rosebrock's characters are an engaging lot...Magar's direction neatly exposes each of the undercurrents flowing underneath the group's apparent harmony...Ireland is one of the few unmissable leading ladies in NY, and her efforts go a long way toward making Alison into a fascinating, troubling creature. But ‘Blue Ridge’ often rambles...In this case, the action is dogged by too many nagging questions.” Full Review
“‘Blue Ridge' is at its best when focused on Alison and her issues...Despite a fine ensemble, the other characters aren't as interesting. Neither is the plot concerning Alison putting herself in the middle of a situation she perceives as a woman being taken advantage of by a man in power...‘Blue Ridge’s’ well-written central character, and the actor who is brilliantly portraying her, deserve a richer drama.” Full Review
“You don’t have to be familiar with the dynamics of a half way house or the protocols of a Twelve Step program, but it helps to comprehend fully Rosebrock’s, sometimes confusing, ‘Blue Ridge’...Magar’s direction of the rapid-fire dialogue is so un-modulated that narrative key points get de-emphasized...As staged, character prevails rather than story...Marin Ireland is pitch-perfect...’Blue Ridge’ captures aspects of residential recovery programs with remarkable verisimilitude.” Full Review
"Ms. Ireland pours such mesmerizing energy and inventiveness into Alison’s wrecking-ball antics that you almost forget that this charming, dangerous woman doesn’t quite track as a credibly motivated character. And as the show’s tone veers from anxious comedy into psychodrama, with each of the characters erupting into set-rattling implosion, it becomes increasingly hard to suspend disbelief...None of the cast members oversell the attendant conflicts and confrontations." Full Review
"Even with Ireland and the stellar ensemble on board, ‘Blue Ridge’ fails to live up to its dramatic potential. Despite some powerful and occasional comic scenes, the parts don't add up to a really satisfying whole...While the characters are all interesting their stories are not fully enough explored since they're basically satellites to Ireland's Alison...Numerous questions about their backgrounds and interactions remain as frustrating loose ends.” Full Review
"Economically directed with the steady hand of Taibi Magar and performed by a superb cast led by the incandescent Marin Ireland...It's easy to recommend 'Blue Ridge' because the performances, particularly Ireland's, are so strong. And it's easy to imagine more forgiving audiences overlooking the lapses in common sense Rosebrock either neglects to recognize or chooses to ignore in her writing...In 'Blue Ridge' the theatricality is unearned. " Full Review
"Can a play feature superb acting, well-judged dialogue, exceptional production values, and a compelling point of view and still fail to catch fire? I found myself asking that question often during 'Blue Ridge'...Director Magar has trouble setting a consistent tone...The pacing frequently turns molasses-slow, only to speed up at moments of increasingly predictable revelation....Rosebrock could spend some more time figuring out exactly what story she wants to tell.” Full Review
"'Blue Ridge' shares with its predecessors several thematic concerns…as well as an offbeat female lead. However, it mostly flounders in a haze of thickly authentic hillbilly accents, tediously laconic characters, tenuously amusing repartee, and thinly contrived plotting…Alison is another of the edgy, emotionally vulnerable, volatile women that have made Marin a…critics' favorite…Taibi Magar…is unable to invest this material with life, or to make organically credible its more 'dramatic' scenes." Full Review
"Strained...The play ends on an inauthentic note of unearned emotion...The production is directed steadily by Magar, who does her best to uncover the emotional core of the piece – but alas to limited success...Same for the attractive and talented cast. Despite some courageous work, these actors – particularly the typically excellent Ireland... ‘Blue Ridge’ in the end feels overlong, overwrought, and unbelievable.” Full Review
"Under the diffuse staging of Magar, the actors attempt to make the most of their poorly defined characters. Their herculean efforts mainly go for naught, although Beltran brings a swaggering charm and Ireland is superb as the clearly damaged Alison. The actress delivers a riveting, emotionally intense turn that seems to expose her character from the inside out...But there's only so much even this talented, protean performer can do to alleviate the general torpor afflicting this lifeless drama." Full Review
"Ireland is exceedingly well cast as a woman grappling with explosive rage issues in 'Blue Ridge'...At best an intriguing portrait of a troubled woman, 'Blue Ridge' is not otherwise a satisfying play, due to a sadly underwritten script as well as to its flat staging by Taibi Magar...'Blue Ridge' is a case of a good idea insufficiently dramatized: Composed in a realistic manner, the play never leaves the house’s common room until its final scene." Full Review
See it if you believe Marin Ireland is walking in the footsteps of Meryl Streep. You like tight ensemble acting & intelligent, emotional scripts.
Don't see it if rapid-fire, overlapping & charged dialogue, 12-step process, single set dramedy at the ever reliable Atlantic is just not enough for you?
See it if Great actors depicting heartwrenching characters dealing with trauma, purpose, and the ties that bind
Don't see it if You want a happy play (although there are plenty of laughs), a traditional narrative, or want to avoid themes of abuse (in many forms).
See it if you like well-written, well-acted play about people going through rehab, but laced with humor as well as interpersonal conflict
Don't see it if you are out off by language or behavior or if you want a neat, fully upbeat conclusion
See it if you enjoy theater that explores deeply fraught themes with humor and empathy, and an incredible performance by Marin Ireland.
Don't see it if you have no interest in themes of mental illness.
See it if Clever writing, interesting and unexpected plot, great acting, uncomfortable subject but surprising twists.
Don't see it if The subject matter is complicated--if you have issues with addiction and trust, this may be hard on you.
See it if You like dramedy and the challenge of troubled individuals working to be less troubled
Don't see it if Intimate dramas of human struggle, both intrapersonal and interpersonal, does not appeal to you
See it if you are interested in seeing people struggling to better themselves. Surprisingly funny moments. Touching. Great acting.
Don't see it if you don't enjoy single set plays that have a single dominant theme of rehab that runs strongly throughout.
See it if you want a play about people in pain that subtly challenges what you think about feminism and racism without beating you up with dogma
Don't see it if you don't like sad, intense plays; you prefer perfect political correctness
See it if Rate the play 70-75, the performances 80-85. Worth seeing even though not a totally satisfying experience.
Don't see it if Unsympathetic protagonists & unresolved endings don't appeal.. If you can't get past the play's weaknesses to enjoy the acting.
See it if For new voices in writing about real life and actors who inhabit the challenges of playing it real
Don't see it if Stories of anger, hurt, and flawed humanity are not your thing. These are hard characters to like or watch.
See it if You’re interested in life’s mistakes, atoning, repeating mistakes, great acting, cliched characters, and less than developed characters.
Don't see it if You want a fully fleshed out story or characters, want to remember what you laughed so much at (I couldn’t, but it was really funny), or...
See it if u want to see a wonderful cast, esp. the always wondrous Ireland, portray broken people dealing w/recovery, insecurity & socialization.
Don't see it if you want to avoid a play that is as flawed as the residents & caretakers of this halfway house; you need a play with a point & a purpose.
See it if you like the actors and prioritize good dialogue over good plotting
Don't see it if you want a plot-driven play with clear motivations, actions and consequences that has a legible central theme
See it if You like dramas of stressed out people in recovery dealing with their demons and each other. Excellent cast, standout Marin Ireland.
Don't see it if You don't care for navel-gazing, 12-step programs, fast talking Southerners and drama queens.
See it if Interesting look at selfishness, forgiveness, rehab, power with fine performances particularly Ireland.
Don't see it if Scenes often have what seems like all talking at once. Dialect often tough to pick up. Big reveal was so what due to the way it was revealed
See it if great acting trying it's best to improve a poorly written script
Don't see it if don't like poor direction and poorly developed characters with a pointless and confusing plot
See it if You are such a Marin Ireland fan that you must see and will enjoy everything she is in (as I thought I was — I was wrong).
Don't see it if Halfway through the first act, the story, the staging, the acting led me to conclude that I wouldn’t make it past the intermission.
See it if You could leave the theater feeling these actors gave it their all with finely nuanced performances.
Don't see it if But when you reflect back at the unfolding conflict that erupts in the play, you say to yourself, "was much to do about nothing".
See it if you want to see a brilliantly crafted piece about group therapy, addiction, recovery and conflict with magnificent acting and a tight script
Don't see it if you dislike anything to do with mental health issues and recovery, or don't have an open mind about sex, religion and the AA 12 step program
See it if You can wait for the reveal, u enjoy quick intense dialouge, u enjoy the idea of damaged, imperfect people in seach of their better selves
Don't see it if You want something that's easily explained or has simple good and evil characters, or if you want some happy go lucky
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