Closed 2h 5m
Confusions
Midtown E
82

Confusions NYC Reviews and Tickets

82%
(24 Reviews)
Positive
96%
Mixed
4%
Negative
0%
Members say
Clever, Great acting, Funny, Entertaining, Intelligent

About the Show

Part of 59E59's Brits Off Broadway fest, Alan Ayckbourn's 1974 collection of five comic playlets explores the sexual politics of '70s Britain.

Read more Show less

Member Reviews (24)

Sort by:
  • Default
  • Standing in our community
  • Highest first
  • Lowest first
  • Newest first
  • Oldest first
  • Only positive
  • Only negative
  • Only mixed
80
Entertaining, Funny, Clever, Quirky, Refreshing

See it if You would like 5 clever comedic skits with relationship humor and slapstick.

Don't see it if You don't enjoy British humor.

95
Clever, Versatile cast, Ingenious design, Intelligent, Hilarious

See it if you are a fan of Ayckbourn. If you want to see the U.S. premiere of a play written 40 years ago—and acts as a model for some earlier works.

Don't see it if you do not know anything about the British class system. Or if you like to be hit over the head in order to understand humor.

Critic Reviews (30)

June 13th, 2016

"They’re trifles by his later standards...But these five one-acters allow you to see clearly the basic building blocks from which Mr. Ayckbourn constructs his more complex works. And even the silliest of them is steeped in the critical yet compassionate sensibility that is uniquely their creator’s...One of the primary joys of ‘Confusions’ is watching chameleon performers change identities with wigs and accents, while locations are transformed by the rearrangement of simple pieces of furniture.”
Read more

June 16th, 2016

"Funnier than just about anything else to be seen on a New York stage right now 'Confusions' is a dessert platter, five sketches about various aspects of middle-class life…The six talented actors handle their multiple roles so resourcefully that you’re likely to come away thinking you saw at least a dozen different people cavorting on the tiny stage...Has there ever been a playwright who directed his own works more skillfully and imaginatively? I doubt it."
Read more

June 9th, 2016

"With this production, Ayckbourn achieves his original goal. The five actors brilliantly transform themselves into each role with a mere change of costume. Expert farceurs, they draw huge belly laughs from the play's centerpiece, 'Gosforth's Fête,' which proves the highlight of the evening. While there's a dusty quality to it (the porno-groove incidental Muzak doesn't help), it's solidly enjoyable."
Read more

June 10th, 2016

"It's the stuff that great theatre is made of. The stories in 'Confusions' are timeless snapshots of real life that perfectly capture human foibles. They showcase Ayckbourn's remarkable gift for dialogue and his keen understanding of relationships...The cast captures their roles with complete authenticity. As the five actors play multiple parts, they prove their diverse talents...The show's characters are wonderfully developed, and the company doesn't miss a beat."
Read more

June 21st, 2016

"Even if this is a middling example of the playwright's work, there are many priceless moments and one should never pass up a chance to see a company from the Stephen Joseph Theatre, of Scarborough, UK directed by the author himself. For some reason, American actors have never quite gotten the hang of Ayckbourn's comedies, and this production offers a master class in his distinctive comic style."
Read more

June 11th, 2016

"Human behavior in all its complexities is dramatically rendered with depth and humor in a boldly theatrical and inventive manner...Ayckbourn is also the director and his staging farcically mines every bit of verbal and physical comedy with slapstick, sight gags and props...The captivating performances by the extremely versatile company matched with the excellent writing makes 'Confusions' thoughtful and very entertaining."
Read more

June 8th, 2016

"The five intertwined skits that comprise Ayckbourn’s 'Confusions' are by turns hilarious and poignant. Fast-moving and deftly acted, the five-character ensemble whips through a myriad of scenarios...'Confusions' is entertaining, and although a few sharp barbs about gender and monogamy are exchanged, there are more laughs than insights. Overall, it’s a fun piece of theater."
Read more

June 8th, 2016

"'Confusions' consists of five playlets…They mostly hit their marks with only one major misfire…Ayckbourn’s direction is well-paced and unobtrusive…Except for 'A Talk in the Park,' Ayckbourn keeps the audience chuckling throughout. His humor is not side-splitting, but it is consistent and his well-drawn characters keep us engaged. Situations are sometimes contrived but we hardly notice. He has a gift for making the outrageous seem like a matter of course."
Read more

June 9th, 2016

"It's a period piece, but interesting for the way it contains the seeds of Ayckbourn’s style and ideas ready to burst into full bloom...The best thing about it is to see the subtle thematic connections that more often than not make these essentially separate one-acts feel like parts of a unified whole...Billington's waiter is so funny in ‘Drinking Companion’ that you'll be glad that his character will carry over into the next and best play, ‘Between Mouthfuls.’"
Read more

June 9th, 2016

"The splendid cast plays many parts...Ayckbourn, with the precision of a brain surgeon, has created a collection of characters whose communication is not communication at all. It is myopic speech-o-fying at its best...If we are smart, we will see ourselves as compatriots of this lot and leave considering our own lives and relationships. If not, we will simply leave the theatre talking about what a clever writer that is Ayckbourn. Which sounds better to you?"
Read more

T
June 8th, 2016

"This critic was quite frankly quite bored...It all seems just too dated and irrelevant...While it is therapeutic to laugh at ourselves and our foibles, there needs to be some other payoff to two hours and fifteen minutes of tom foolery. Under Mr. Ayckbourn’s careful direction, the ensemble cast is brilliant and does its individual and collective best to breathe new life into these five plays. It is the vintage of the plays and not the craft of these fine actors that weigh down the effort."
Read more

June 9th, 2016

"Much like watching a Neil Simon comedy of the same era, seeing these comedies about marital dysfunction, adultery, male chauvinism, romantic disappointment, and related subjects—mostly about women getting the short end of the stick—allows us to compare attitudes of those times with ours...Mildly enjoyable as the plays are (the laughs are mainly of the chuckle variety), the chief reason to see them is the marvelous comic versatility of the five-member ensemble."
Read more

June 10th, 2016

"In play after pensive, droll and acid play, Ayckbourn anatomizes how we fail to understand and trust our lovers and friends...'Confusions' is a series of five one-acts. Several of the vignettes are loosely interlinked...Ayckbourn directs with a reliance on vivid performances, evocative costumes and cheap furnishings. The actors he has assembled are gutsy and supple...What’s most interesting is the persistence and evolution of Ayckbourn’s themes and interests."
Read more

June 9th, 2016

"Ayckbourn rarely falls below a certain laugh level. Many of his rib-tickling jokes—and the situations from which he derives them—involve rancorous marrieds. That’s the case with two of the five one-acts stuffing this jolly evening…Ayckbourn, a rare playwright who knows exactly how to direct his own work, does just that with endlessly skilled actors."
Read more

June 9th, 2016

"Hysterical yet thoughtful theater…'Confusions' succeeds on many levels. The actors’ comedic timing and moment-to-moment dramatic skill inspired by the director/playwright never lose energy, substance or intention. The artistic design, the order of the plays in the program, the staging, sets and props, as well as the musical interludes between the acts are well balanced and stylistically inspiring. This is a fine production which manifests Ayckbourn’s acute vision throughout."
Read more

June 9th, 2016

"[It is] as if Mr. Ayckbourn were accumulating evidence to prove human beings are isolated but never bothered to consider the emotional meaning of that isolation."
Read more

June 8th, 2016

"The structure of 'Confusions' is so simple and ingenious, you wonder why it’s not used more often…It allows the characters to expand and surprise us, and, this being Ayckbourn, make us laugh. A lot…It helps that the actors are all splendid, changing their appearances and characterizations from episode to episode...Ayckbourn’s smart, funny variations on the battle of the sexes are forever fresh, and 'Confusions' solidifies his reputation as a master observer of human foibles."
Read more

June 30th, 2016

“Playwright Alan Ayckbourn is at his best when commenting on social situations, as proven in a delightful revival of his 1974 quintet of one-act comedies, ‘Confusions.’ The different stories link together loosely and focus on the idea of being emotionally alone...Ayckbourn guides the different stories with a sure hand, bringing forth the proper emotions and atmosphere for each. Add to this the excellent cast in their multiple roles, and the result is very enjoyable indeed.”
Read more

T
June 8th, 2016

"The truth is what really connects these one-acts in Ayckbourn’s delicious sense of the ridiculous…Ayckbourn does a good job directing a talented and versatile cast…But one can’t help wondering what an extra set of eyes and ears might have done with Ayckbourn’s caustic wit…At the end of 'A Talk in the Park,' Ernest says, 'Most of our lives are noise, aren’t they?' It’s when Ayckbourn makes some sense out of all that noise that 'Confusions' is most effective."
Read more

June 8th, 2016

"The performers never utter a false note, and seeing them put their expertise to work is a joy in itself...Mr. Ayckbourn has a keen ear for how people talk, for how they are, and his dialogue flows effortlessly. Yet he doesn’t take us very far with his insights…Nothing happens that challenges our expectations. Also, much of the writing feels dated and corny, like the setup to a joke whose punch line we know even if we’ve never heard it…I just prefer something a bit more substantial."
Read more

June 9th, 2016

"A masterly series of vignettes in which characters try hard to maintain normalcy and decorum, but when a single truth is revealed through an ill-timed but dramatically funny mishap, a more personal and meaningful internal world is uncovered. The cast of five skillfully play a handful of characters...Ayckbourn also captures how communication is about energy and not necessarily words."
Read more

June 9th, 2016

"This outstanding production was well worth waiting for...Because 'A Talk in the Park' is so different from the other four plays, some critics over the years have contended that it should not have been included...I actually consider it the best of the five plays, the one that is the most thought-provoking, and the one that leads us to reassess the other four in a different light...The five-person ensemble cast is absolutely brilliant with each called upon to play diametrically different roles."
Read more

Z
June 9th, 2016

"This staging loses little in crossing the Atlantic at a distance of four decades, due to the universality of its sharp observations about the human condition...A quintet of highly capable actors play some 20 different roles with panache…The play abounds with intelligent dialog, astute social commentary, and adroitly constructed characters who segue into successive scenes. Yet it never becomes 'too clever by half.'"
Read more

B
June 2nd, 2016

"The actors get ample opportunity to demonstrate their superb timing and talent for physical humor…The first two plays run on a bit too long after making their point. The plays that precede and follow intermission are the most entertaining. For me the dry patches were more than compensated for by the hilarious moments."
Read more

July 15th, 2015
For a previous production

“'Confusions' is revealed unquestionably as a period piece steeped in the sexual politics of the 1970s. A quintet of five playlets that share the occasional character but which together lack a cumulative force...Even minor Ayckbourn, however, can have much to recommend it and at its best 'Confusions' achieves his signature trick of combining heightened comedy with moments of bitter domestic unhappiness. A lively cast play to the show’s ensemble strengths."
Read more

T
July 17th, 2015
For a previous production

“Don't be confused but ‘Confusions’ is not so much one play as five one-act plays within one play...All five plays are a delight, individually and collectively, and writer-director Ayckbourn has picked a particularly wonderful cast to maximise the twists and turns, surprises and inevitabilities of his splendid revival. You will laugh from start to finish, so book now for ‘Confusions’: it makes perfect sense.”
Read more

July 19th, 2015
For a previous production

“Thanks to an exceptional cast, the evening fulfils its original brief of a masterclass in comic acting. It creates the impression of an entire repertory season compacted into a couple of hours, as the five performers morph through a bewildering range of wigs, costumes and accents. More than a disparate five-finger exercise, ‘Confusions’ becomes the middle-England equivalent of Schnitzler’s pass-the-pox satire 'La Ronde,' in which only the laughter is infectious.”
Read more

July 16th, 2015
For a previous production

“Crammed with characteristically deft touches of theatrical game-playing, and some hearty laughs, but mostly lacking in real emotional weight. The cast is impressively versatile...But, while the technical conceits of the writing are innovative in this form of theatre, we are still left with a piece which functions largely on the shared understanding of some now rather dated sitcom stereotypes and social observations.”
Read more

July 16th, 2015
For a previous production

“This is vintage Alan Ayckbourn and forty years on reveals more of the depths hinted at when this wine was young...This production has turned ‘Confusions’ into a period piece. Of course there is still the classic high farce which made him so popular over the years....Funny, touching and clever it is a splendid vehicle for a multi-talented quick character-change cast.”
Read more

July 15th, 2015
For a previous production

“It celebrates, then, with this collection of one-act plays that exhibit all human life: the funny, the sad, the hopeful, the hopeless, the joyful, the pathetic – everything we've come to expect from an Ayckbourn play. There is dark and light in equal measures...Ayckbourn fans will remain enthralled at the sheer skill of the observational writing throughout the five pieces that make up ‘Confusions.’”
Read more

Watch This Next (3)

66
Middling
2 Reviews
Ends Jul 18
NYC: West Village

Seven world premiere short plays by seven well-known playwrights in NYC's Meatpacking District.

Buy
88
Excellent
47 Reviews
Opens Dec 20
NYC: Midtown W

A hit in London, Sondheim's classic musical (with a new twist), stars Katrina Lenk and Patti LuPone.

Buy
Score it Buy
Unreviewed
Opens Oct 21
NYC: Midtown W

Winnie the Pooh and friends embark on fun adventures, in this new musical with life-size puppets.

Buy