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“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 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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
"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
“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
“‘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
“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
"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
“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
"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
“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
"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
"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
“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
"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
"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
“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
“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
“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
“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
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
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
See it if You like Amber Tamblyn: she was really terrific. You are willing to wait through a not great act to get to the good stuff - a real slow burn
Don't see it if You are easily offended by language, talk of sex, or drunkenness. You want all likeable characters.
See it if Gionfriddo's take on modern women's economic/sexual choices loosely based on Trollope novel Teaming with ideas yet nothing seems to cohere
Don't see it if Overly long & slow build up hinders early compassion for characters; sluggish direction by DuBois Action picks up with Frank Wood's entrance
See it if you're interested in a play that deals with money and class in a fresh and interesting way; you want an Amber Tamblyn acting masterclass.
Don't see it if you prefer plays with more sets or characters. This is a single-set, four-character piece that is funny and intense, but moves slowly.
See it if seeing a play with good acting is more important than one with a fleshed-out plot; you enjoy character study plays
Don't see it if you want a play that ends someplace different than it began; you want the characters you're watching to have any redeeming qualities
See it if you enjoy examining unusual romantic relationships seen from different perspectives and watching interactions between unique personalities.
Don't see it if you prefer well developed characters and a strong, well weaved story line and do not particularly enjoy stories about dysfunctional people.