Members say: Great acting, Entertaining, Funny, Slow, Disappointing

About the show

Two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist Gina Gionfriddo brings her signature style of dark humor back to the Vineyard in this sharp comedy of lost souls grappling with the costs of love, money, and the American Dream.

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It’s Halloween night, and Miranda is desperate for a way out. She’s drowning in debt, may be falling for the man who pays her bills, and is on the run from her date who has threatened to kill her. When Graham and his fiancée, Tanya, offer her a safe haven, a door opens for all of them…but is the promise of a better life a treat or a trick? Featuring Tony winner Frank Wood and Amber Tamblyn in her stage debut.

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See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews


“A whimsical piece of work…For all its honorable ambitions, it turns out to be more of a party than a play…The banter between Graham and Tanya is clever and yet sober enough to make us think that we’ve got a handle on the playwright’s intentions...Miranda (Tamblyn) shows up and the whole play switches gears…All her stories are jaw-droppers…Despite DuBois’ savvy helming, none of this brittle conversation leads to a plot, let alone a resolution, but it is what it is—great gallows humor.” Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

“This dark comedy proves far too inconsequential to justify spending time with its mostly unlikable, weightless characters…The play, sluggishly directed by Peter DuBois, sporadically succeeds in showcasing Gionfriddo’s talent for pungent dialogue...The charismatic Tamblyn provides much needed sparks and Wood garners consistent laughs…Their efforts are probably not enough, however, to prevent theatergoers from wishing they had made the life choice of seeing a different play.” Full Review

The New York Times

“The characters speak a kind of bad-faith dialogue, often mechanical or contrary to logic…‘Can You Forgive Her?’ does not, over the longish haul of its 95 minutes, make much drama out of its question mark…The tone is so wobbly that the play draws laughs when it wants to be taken seriously. The opposite is sadly true as well…Despite its perceptiveness about women and marriage today, the play as a whole suffers from the same self-cancelling vagueness as its heroine.” Full Review

Time Out New York

“Gionfriddo’s new play is called ‘Can You Forgive Her?,’ and after 95 punishing minutes, the obvious answer is no. We cannot forgive the playwright for a haphazard drama knocked together out of unbelievable situations. We cannot forgive the lame characters and thin dialogue…DuBois's direction has no zip or style…Barely a single thing on stage seems right: actors are miscast...The play lingers briefly and sourly in the mind, waiting to be forgotten—if not, you know, that other thing.” Full Review


“Not entirely cohesive, but it does give Gionfriddo space to break new ground on the topics she writes so well…Tamblyn makes an outstanding off-Broadway debut…Unfortunately, despite the glowing jack-o-lanterns that punctuate her entrance, nothing particularly haunting happens for some time following Miranda's arrival. We even forget the supposed stakes of the situation…The story does finally come to a chilling climax complete with spooky shadows and lighting.” Full Review

Village Voice

"'The play is driven by the soul-shriveling contest between happiness and solvency, and how marriage is rarely the solution..These are not new issues, but Gionfriddo works hard to wring postfeminist laughs from them...As we head to a climax, you might be wondering whose story this is, anyway: Graham’s or Miranda’s? Some of that focal blur, and an overall sense of sketchiness, are mitigated by Peter DuBois’s shrewd, compact staging and a feisty, well-balanced ensemble." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"The dialogue has the hard, bright quality that marks it as the playwright's work, but the details are largely dreary, dealing as they do with absent fathers and incompetent, needy mothers...Tamblyn needs to work on her voice; she navigates the play's lengthy exposition on a single strident note...There are memorable moments...but too much of the time 'Can You Forgive Her?' feels rather flat and rudderless, a series of confrontations in search of a cogent theme." Full Review

New York Theater

“Some plot developments couldn’t really withstand a test of plausibility. But you can forgive her–or at least I can–because of all that’s worthwhile...Gionfriddo has a terrific ear for dialogue, and an eye for comic touches…I found much of the script quite funny…Underneath the farcical proceedings, the play allows us to glimpse ourselves in the characters’ differing perspectives on—and ambivalence toward—their obligations: to their parents, to themselves, to money, to love.” Full Review

Broadway Blog

“This slow-to-get-started piece, despite socially relevant thoughts couched in passably entertaining gambits, is structurally shaky and fraught with character and plot implausibilities; its most provocative feature is its title…'Can You Forgive Her?' too often bogs down in exposition, has a ludicrous premise for why Miranda opens up to Graham, makes Miranda both insightful and clueless, and, among other things, takes forever for us to care about the stakes, if we ever do.” Full Review

The Clyde Fitch Report

“‘Can You Forgive Her?’ hardly calls for any rating. It earns polite dismissal with a sincere wish for better luck next time…The dialogue makes little sense and becomes increasingly tiresome…When material is so unmoored, audiences may wonder if the actors suspect that what they’re saying and doing is as bad as it is...The performances were misshapen, the result of a shared attempt to make their individual and collective assignments more palatable or understandable.” Full Review

Front Row Center

“Two-thirds of the way through 'Can You Forgive Her,' the excellent character actor Frank Wood turns up as David, a slightly sociopathic plastic surgeon. If only his character had been around earlier to perform an emergency nip and tuck on the scene that precedes his entrance, this would have been a breezy 75 minutes of offbeat fun. But, a 20-minute expository back and forth between its two leads bogs down the proceedings…The actors all find their moments of subtlety.” Full Review

New York Daily News

"Life is all about hard choices. The same goes for this disappointing contemporary dark comedy...Over 90 minutes that feel longer, characters name-drop Robert Frost and Shakespeare and gab nonstop about choices, money, morals and class as they try to figure out their next moves. The evergreen themes are worth exploring. Too bad they don’t connect in satisfying ways." Full Review


“Tanya and Graham are the central, and least likable, characters…Things get even less interesting with the arrival of David, an emotional blank who wouldn’t be worth our time were he not being played with a cunning edge by Frank Wood…The coincidences beggar the imagination…Ella Dershowitz grows harder and less sympatico...Darren Pettie all but disappears as Graham. Eshan Bay has wild eyes as Sateesh, but he isn’t threatening for a moment in this blunt-edged play.” Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

“Gionfriddo assembles a complicated group of characters together with hopes that the alcohol and drama will erase some of the idiosyncrasies within the story. The script rides well and fast through the middle of the play, but stumbles at moments of transition and engagement. We are left scratching our heads in befuddlement as the drunken drama escalates...The actors are all doing their best finding the solid emotionality within the dynamics, but the view is never clear.” Full Review


“Neither Tanya nor Miranda are especially engaging or witty characters...A rather silly, unbelievable and way too talky farce…If all this sounds loaded with comic potential, it is. But that potential is only sporadically realized and the farcical proceedings are too muddled to work as either farce or satire…The actors all do their utmost to make us care about their not especially sympathetic characters.” Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

"The bulk of Gionfriddo’s improbable play centers on conversations between Graham and Miranda—most of them convoluted and improbable and not terribly engaging...'Can You Forgive Her' seems unfinished, unresolved...The characters are less than believable and less than interesting...There’s a lot to forgive here and it might start with the playwright. There is not much director Peter DuBois and the talented cast can do to fix what ails 'Can You Forgive Her.'" Full Review

Bob's Theater Blog

"Despite the dubious premise that brings these four characters together, despite the awkward structure...the play has its redeeming features, including some wonderful dialogue...I would have guessed that the play was a piece that needed further work, but learned that it was produced in Boston a year ago. Maybe its problems are resistant to further improvement. In any case, I forgive the playwright for not being at the top of her form. Even her second-drawer material can be entertaining." Full Review

The Wrap

"The most fascinating character in Gina Gionfriddo’s new play, ‘Can You Forgive Her?,’ doesn’t show up until about two-thirds of the way through...The dialogue crackles whenever Miranda, David and Tanya are going at each other. It almost never does when Graham is involved, and that’s the first 60 minutes…With the exception of Wood, Peter DuBois directs his actors to bring a sit-com bounce to their performances, which diminishes the material.” Full Review


“Sadly, the admitted strengths of Gionfriddo’s work, including some very funny lines and an intelligent examination of a provocative subject, are undercut by DuBois’ oddly unenergetic and slightly miscast production…The burden of making the play work rests squarely on the shoulders of the character of Miranda. And there lies the biggest problem of this production…Unfortunately, Tamblyn proves to have too little stage technique...She is clearly acting, rather than inhabiting the role.” Full Review

Broadway & Me

"Nowhere near as entertaining as the earlier works that twice made Gionfriddo a Pulitzer finalist...None of this makes much sense...'Can You Forgive Her?' is only 90 minutes but the first hour seemed like two. Tamblyn works hard (perhaps too hard) to make Miranda an irresistible kook but the play only comes alive in its final third when Wood arrives...Wood's character isn't any more convincing than the others but this actor is such a master craftsman that he truly is irresistible." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"A sharp dissection of the American dream, and digging into what that means, in the guise of a dark comedy...The dialogue is witty and well-crafted, and each member of the ensemble brings their own strengths to round out the characters...Tamblyn gives a truly great performance, gracefully steering the play and its ensemble...This complicated web of characters keeps the drama high at an almost farcical pace...Certainly worthy of attention." Full Review

DC Metro Theater Arts

“The tone of the play lies halfway between overblown TV sit-com and absurdist satire, with convoluted plot points, unlikely conversations, and unlikable stereotypes that are less amusing or engaging than they are exaggerated and aggravating…The cast is unsympathetic in its characterizations of the unappealing and profoundly flawed personalities…‘Can You Forgive Her?,’ the answer is a resounding no. It’s hard to forgive, to laugh at, or to care about any of these irritating characters." Full Review

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

“Gionfriddo’s carpentered play is nailed together with so many contrivances it defies credulity. Worse, the bulk of its 90 minutes is consumed with dialoguing about the past, which does not make for much action...Tamblyn is OK, and manages to elicit a few chuckles from the audience, but I’m not sure even a great actress with magical comic powers could do much with the part…There isn’t much dramatic or particularly amusing about this really blah situational melodrama.” Full Review


“While most of the audience remained stony-faced, my companion and I were laughing hysterically throughout much of ‘Can You Forgive Her?,’ a black comedy if ever there was one, by Gina Gionfriddo, at the Vineyard Theatre. It may be that many in the audience failed to recognize it was a comedy, and took it far too seriously, which is somewhat understandable, given the seemingly earnest yet cockamamie story--or rather stories--that unfold.” Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

“Among the most colorful, quirky characters you’ll see on the stage this season…Suffice it to say that it’s delightful to spend an hour and a half with these zany folks, whose antics have been directed with skill and precision by DuBois. ‘Can You Forgive Her?’ addresses substantial themes like love, money, work, commitment and parenthood...Gionfriddo takes us for a wild, entertaining ride and at the same time gives us a meaningful moral." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Indulgent, Banal, Overly ambitious

See it if I can't think of any reason; there was talent up there but...

Don't see it if you don't want to be frustrated by an odd experience with incohesion.

Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Problematic script, Uncertain tone

See it if you like Gina Gionfriddo's writing. Her usual wit and gimlet eye on contemporary social mores are in evidence here, despite uncertain tone

Don't see it if you aren't prepared to overlook some less than believable situations and a production that veers between the farcical and heartfelt

Ambitious, Indulgent, Disappointing, Some interesting themes

See it if you've got nothing better to do.

Don't see it if you're looking for a meaningful theatre experience.

Banal, Confusing, Inconsequential, inane

See it if you like theater where the characters enter, banter and exit with no real plot of any consequence.

Don't see it if you are interested in seeing a play with characters you can sympathize with or have real-world--for the most part--motivations.

Funny, Great acting, Entertaining, Fluffy, Hollow

See it if want some good laughs--it's more of a dramedy than a comedy. Amber Tamblyn is great. Excellent cast, and I enjoyed it, but no substance

Don't see it if want deep meaning or a ton of laughs. It really walks the line between drama and comedy

Banal, Disappointing, Insipid

See it if you have some time to kill. It's not a complete waste of time or difficult to sit through. Just don't expect to be blown away

Don't see it if you need a plot that isn't utterly ludicrous. If casually racist characters offend you.

Indulgent, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if The cast was wonderful,the play not so much. I usually love her writing,but I felt there was to much going on,to many threads

Don't see it if .an interesting 1:45 minutes,wait until she rewrites it.

Loaded question

See it if Amber Tamblyn fan. She looks great and owns the stage. Frank Wood really conveys his character well.

Don't see it if Minor plot. Only likable character barely registers with his cameo. Not worth half the retail cost. Problem is not forgiving. Forgettable.

Also It's the Amber Show.

Great acting, Great writing

See it if I love Gina G's writing and she doesn't disappoint. Performances excellent.

Don't see it if Whilst writing is excellent, not clear point that she was making

Funny, Confusing, Slow, Entertaining

See it if Who do you forgive? It wasn't made very clear. However, Amber Tamblyn and the rest of the cast give a good argument about people's needs.

Don't see it if You don't like being confused.

Funny, Absorbing, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if you want to see a great comedic performance by Amber Tamblyn who plays a drunk prostitute and unravels more and more throughout the night.

Don't see it if you're looking for something serious or profound. It's a good dark comedy, but the strength lies a lot in the strong performances by cast.

Banal, Cliched

See it if there are some decent performances and you would be supporting a young writer

Don't see it if expect to hear an interesting storyline with a message. this is quite a muddle.

Also I was disappointed because I love to support young women writers but t... Read more Read less

Indulgent, Cliched, Insipid

See it if You are interested in other people's drama

Don't see it if If you no longer care to be the psychiatrist for every playwrite

Quirky, Relevant, Entertaining, Uneven, Unfinished

See it if just a lite fun play-nite is enough for you. Dramedy, w/so-so resolution. Bit unfinished, although I don't get why it was panned by so many.

Don't see it if you want high-drama. Amber's NY stage debut is excellent & worth seeing. Yes, she DOES steal the show (felt like role was written that way).

Confusing, Slow, Good writing

See it if for the sharp writing towards the second half of the play.

Don't see it if it was a bit slow in the beginning, and the plot is not well developed.

Funny, Absorbing, Great acting, Intense

See it if You wanted a balance between playing by the rules, making the rules, and rules ruling you.

Don't see it if You only prefer extravagant musicals.

Also Actors were all great, but Amber stole the show. She was funny, insten... Read more Read less

Confusing, Disappointing, Overrated, Slow, Fluffy

See it if You want to see a new drama. To support theatre. To see the name actors work. Frank Wood is great.

Don't see it if You like cohesiveness. You expect strong acting, or is it the directing, or the story? Something's off.

Disappointing, Uneven

See it if You are already a Gionfriddo fan

Don't see it if You want your comedy to be more than a little funny

Also Frank Wood doesn't show up, well-cast as a very quirky character, unti... Read more Read less

Great acting, Entertaining, Smart

See it if You want a clever, fun character piece in a tight one act show. Amber Tamblyn was fantastic. Easy show to digest and enjoy.

Don't see it if You don't like funny character plays. or plays about our inner dysfunction.

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting

See it if Fine cast and writing are important

Don't see it if na

Funny, Delightful, Quirky, Cliched, Entertaining

See it if This is a solid and funny new play with a nice performance from Amber Tamblyn.

Don't see it if This seemed like a step backward for Gina Gionfriddo and was a bit underwhelming as a whole.


See it if You're a die-hard Gina Gionfriddo fan. The last ten minutes are pretty great but it needs major cutting.

Don't see it if The snappy dialogue falls super flat, certain parts are intended to offend but in a pretty dull uninteresting way. Poor directing.

Funny, Banal, Entertaining, Short one act

See it if You're a fan of Frank Wood because he was the best actor on the stage and elevated his minor role. Or if you like plays with minor quirks.

Don't see it if You're expecting a play with something to say because there isn't much here.

Funny, Clever, Great acting, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if You like great acting, funny . It's basically an encounter between people, it resonates something like a sitcom.

Don't see it if Have an expectation that someone shoukd react to a certain way towards their parents loss.

Banal, Disappointing, Excruciating, Dull, Unforgiveable

See it if you're an Amber Tamblyn fan or a fan of such stale topics as single-motherhood, working-class debt & mommy issues (w/o any new insights).

Don't see it if you seek an engrossing, amusing or thought-provoking production. This contrived, unevenly acted, half-baked play has none of those qualities

Cast & Creatives (12)