Already closed | 1h 25m | Upper W Side

Bull in a China Shop

From 72 member  reviews
Members say: Relevant, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Intelligent, Disappointing

About the show

Lincoln Center Theater presents a history-inspired comedy about Mary Woolley, the early 20th-century president of Mount Holyoke College, and her long-time partner, Jeannette Marks. More…

Galloping through 40 years of history at the New England women's school, 'Bull in a China Shop' follows the pair as they reform and revolutionize women's education at the height of the suffrage movement. As evolving ambitions and desires strain the couple's relationship, this fast-paced comedy explores how we change the world, how the world changes us, and how we try to grow old together.

1h 25m | Already closed | Claire Tow Theater (Upper W Side)

Member Reviews (72)


Relevant, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Intelligent, Disappointing
Avg Score

Well meaning., Excruciating, Boring, Disappointing, Indulgent

See it if Can't recommend this play at all. The actors are very stilted.Not engaging.

Don't see it if You don't want to be lectured to about feminist issues. Whatever you think of the issues this is not the way to address them.

Also Really hard to stay awake for this. ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Clever, Edgy, Great acting

See it if At first a show about 2 women, their relationship and the women's movement. Their relationship changes due to the women's movement.Clever!

Don't see it if You like a predictable show. These women change toward each other and sometimes sad to watch.

Disappointing, Indulgent, Confusing

See it if You'd enjoy a poorly written tale of a school teacher and her love interest & life.

Don't see it if You value a well-written cohesive storyline. This is amateur hour here.

Banal, Cliched, Disappointing, Insipid, Slow

See it if you want to see a play by a new writer who needs to do a number of rewrites before this play should get a professional production.

Don't see it if you are not comfortable with the overuse of the "F" word—which these women would not use. Also, the title is constantly repeated.

Ambitious, Intelligent, Relevant, Interesting but doesn't quite deliver

See it if You like to see writers being developed

Don't see it if You have no patience

Ambitious, Confusing, Disappointing, Flat, Wasted opportunity

See it if you are sufficiently interested in the lives of women in general and lesbian couples in particular that you can overlook poor writing.

Don't see it if you expect to learn much or be moved by the depiction of two women whose interesting lives deserved a better play.

Also Dropping F-bombs, using "Ms." and dressing women in culottes does not ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Edgy, Great acting, Enlightening

See it if you like straight historical plays with anachronistic language, feminist themes and stellar performances.

Don't see it if you're offended by the "f" word. I myself found its liberal use here bracing and pretty darn funny.

Also Educational look at two real women who were at the forefront of femini... Read more Read less

Intelligent, Relevant, Quirky

See it if You are interested in historical issues concerning the women's movement at the turn-of-the-century.

Don't see it if If you prefer light musicals and simple dramas.

Clever, Edgy, Great acting, Refreshing, Romantic

See it if you are interested in learning about a pair of women whose names you've likely never heard.

Don't see it if are easily offended by profanity, lesbians, anachronisms or light staging.

Ambitious, Confusing, Disappointing, Indulgent, Profound

See it if Endi Graham matches the charisma one would expect from Woolsey; humor sprinkled through play is a relief

Don't see it if play does not hold up to the minimalist staging; one memory scene is not obvious at first and pushed the play off the rails for a moment

Relevant, Educational, Smart, Absorbing

See it if You appreciate women's history Enjoy flawed characters

Don't see it if You are homophobic

Also Strong performance by lead actresses - the author endeavors to tell th... Read more Read less

Relevant, Indulgent

See it if you are interested in learning about women's place in a historical context. sadly, not much has changed.

Don't see it if you want a full-blown production. very spare set and more like seeing different vignettes rather than a play.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if you like historical plays this one the women's movement. Creative staging using minimum props. Great way to start a small production

Don't see it if if you want more from your production. Greater depth in the characters. But Its Lincoln Center!

Ambitious, Relevant, Refreshing, Great acting, Funny

See it if you want to see an unusual topic covered

Don't see it if you expect more historical detail on the topic

Intelligent, Slow, Great costumes

See it if you're interested in the history of women's colleges and the suffrage movement, and don't mind the absence of a linear plot.

Don't see it if you don't want to see a lesbian love story or hear anachronistic four-letter words.

Fluffy, Refreshing, Quirky, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you went to a women's college/to see a play with all women; if you like theater that's still finding its voice, but is promising nonetheless

Don't see it if you need a sharp, well-drawn play; this feels like it could use some maturing, but it's a fascinating subject regardless.


See it if you like feminist plays featuring lesbian characters, and anachronistic cursing and verbiage.

Don't see it if you resent language at odds with the time and place of the piece, in a dull production that fails to bring the best out of the actors.

Great acting, Quirky, Relevant

See it if You appreciate a fresh spin on women's issues and have no issues with colorblind casting.

Don't see it if You don't like lesbians. You don't like cursing. You are confused by mixed references that seem incongruous in the time period.

Romantic, Resonant, Great writing, Funny, Thought-provoking

See it if a smart & gutsy feminist history play, bruising & eloquent on love and politics. Wears its big heart on its impeccably-costumed sleeve.

Don't see it if don't go expecting kitchen sink naturalism. It's beautifully grounded, but presented in a way that's powerfully theatrical.

Cliched, Slow

See it if You like linear stories with good acting and decent dialog.

Don't see it if If you might be offended by too much smooching on the stage.

Entertaining, Funny, Relevant, Anachronistic, Ambitious

See it if you like historical drama w/ contemporary language & diverse casting; biographical stories about women's rights; lesbian romance in academia

Don't see it if you are looking for fully developed plays (the scope is ambitious but at times confusing & lacking nuance); you don't mind spare set design

Thought-provoking, Resonant, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if you are interested in women's education formation or lesbian issues. You like historical pieces. You like thought provoking plots.

Don't see it if You don't like women or lesbians. You don't like linear plays. You don't like sparse sets.

Entertaining, Quirky, Slow, Relevant, Disappointing

See it if you want to cap of women's history month with an intimate historical play that weaves modern subversive language & energy with suffrage mvmn

Don't see it if You need the acting, direction, dialogue to be universally great. It is, largely, quite good, albeit uneven.

Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Great acting

See it if You are interested in the history of the women's movement and two ground breakers -- pres. of Mt. Holyoke and her companion. Well acted.

Don't see it if You want light entertainment. Also if the frequent use of "fuck" by an educated upperclass woman in the early 20th century bothers you.

Cliched, Slow, Dated

See it if you like strong female characters.

Don't see it if you're turned off by feminism. Or if you find modern dialogue superimposed on a period piece jarring to the ear.

Also They used the word "ship" as in shipping. From wikipedia: "Shipping, i... Read more Read less

March 2nd, 2017
"A pugnacious, tender and gloriously funny new play...Inspired by letters between the real Mary Woolley and Jeannette Marks...'Bull in a China Shop' blows every last speck of dust off these two women and their compadres. Onstage in Lee Sunday Evans’s warm, lucid, handsomely designed production, t...
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March 1st, 2017
"With a light hand and welcome irreverence, Turner neatly dispenses with two hoary shibboleths: that history is perforce dry, and feminists unfunny...Turner limns the power issues that can persist, heteronormatively, in a relationship of presumed equals...Not only does Turner prove she has the re...
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March 9th, 2017
"Turner’s is a new voice and one worth paying attention to, even if this play has the didacticism and crudeness that betrays a writer still finding her voice...There’s a ratatat quality to the choppy scenes that undermines the story, as does a subplot involving a student with a crush. Still, I ne...
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March 1st, 2017
“Ultimately, the play makes for an intriguing 90 minutes, and it introduces a voice that will no doubt go on to impress even further. But ‘Bull in a China Shop,’ vibrantly directed by Lee Sunday Evans, is crucially lacking in forward motion and character development. As a result, it never rises a...
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