Closed 1h 40m
Daphne's Dive
Midtown W
74

Daphne's Dive NYC Reviews and Tickets

74%
(91 Reviews)
Positive
68%
Mixed
29%
Negative
3%
Members say
Great acting, Absorbing, Disappointing, Ambitious, Intense

About the Show

Signature Theatre kicks off playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes' residency with this world premiere family drama set in a North Philly dive bar.

Read more Show less

Member Reviews (91)

Sort by:
  • Default
  • Standing in our community
  • Highest first
  • Lowest first
  • Newest first
  • Oldest first
  • Only positive
  • Only negative
  • Only mixed
60
Well acted, Overstuffed, Unilluminating, Forced, Disappointing

See it if you only need great acting. Strong ensemble w/Wiley and Rubin-Vega as standouts. The material, tho, is over-the-top. Action's claustrophobic

Don't see it if you want an illuminating script. Why must we endure horrors, including self-immolation (phew, off stage)? Nice to hear PRican stories, tho.

88
Clever, Great acting, Great staging

See it if enjoy a multi-talented cast.live the lives of real people

Don't see it if you do not want to hear about the sadness and happiness that engulfs all of us

Critic Reviews (28)

May 15th, 2016

"A warm-spirited if loose-jointed new play…Hudes has a supple feel for characterization and a wide-ranging sympathy for life’s waifs and strays…Not all that takes place in 'Daphne’s Dive' strikes me as entirely credible…The play’s episodic structure can make it seem like a series of television episodes plucked from different seasons. But with hosannas being sung over the vaunted brilliance of television these days, to describe a play in such terms isn’t derogatory. It’s more like high praise."
Read more

May 15th, 2016

"A slow-burning, vibrantly sketched portrait of a scruffy North Philly booze joint run by love-scarred Daphne. Most bartenders listen to others’ problems, but Daphne’s cheerful reticence about her own demons makes us lean forward. Sweetly centered yet able to project panic and terror in a heartbeat, Aspillaga anchors Hudes’s episodic narrative, which spans 1994 to 2011 and is as much a portrait of a gentrifying community as a splintering group of friends."
Read more

May 15th, 2016

"Hudes displays a strong feel for her well-drawn characters and their hermetically sealed milieu. But that doesn't prevent the play from feeling both overstuffed and undernourished, its melodramatic plot developments rushing by as if the playwright was checking off a list. And while there are some poignant, well-observed moments, too much of the dialogue feels forced and rambling. The piece has been evocatively staged by Thomas Kail and the performances feel fully lived-in."
Read more

May 17th, 2016

"You’ll rarely hear a theater critic say a show should be longer...But 'Daphne’s Dive' could use a little more length and a lot more exposition...Hudes and director Thomas Kail tackle a big chunk of time in 100 intermissionless minutes. But there are stories that beg to be told, and details that demand to be filled in...Hudes has created a group of characters that most anyone would want to share a drink with. One round just isn’t enough."
Read more

May 16th, 2016

“Hudes writes juicy dialogue for these colorful characters...and Rubin-Vega delivers her explosive lines with gusto. Wiley’s wide-eyed Ruby is also a joy to watch as she matures in grace and intelligence. But without a plot or something of consequence at stake, the play slips into the conventional vein of those static ensemble pieces set in diners, barbershops, hair salons, and bars. Not even director Thomas Kail manages to pump some life into that static genre format."
Read more

May 17th, 2016

"Hudes has a fine grasp of the friction created by the social tectonic plates that shift according to the waves of gentrification and governance. Each of these characters is good company — there’s a distant echo here of 'Rent,' and not just because of Rubin-Vega’s welcome presence. It’s all beautifully calibrated under the direction of Thomas Kail...The performances are all of a piece but Wiley is outstanding...She’s an actress you cannot take your eyes off of; she shines."
Read more

May 19th, 2016

“Samira Wiley is first seen as a scrawny 11-year-old and is 29 by the end of the play. It’s to Wiley’s unassuming skill that she’s equally convincing as both...Warmly staged by ‘Hamilton’ director Thomas Kail, the show suggests a real sense of community, with people with whom you’d actually want to hang out...Daphne Rubin-Vega gives her best performance in years. Admittedly her character has many of the best lines but Rubin-Vega has a ball with them.”
Read more

May 19th, 2016

"Quiara Alegria Hudes' new drama begins in 1994 and takes place in a North Philly watering hole run by the guarded Daphne. Seventeen years bring dramatic and traumatic changes for the bar owner and her intimates...Working with go-to director Thomas Kail, Hudes serves a group portrait that packs compassion but lacks cohesion."
Read more

May 15th, 2016

"As much as the ancillary characters help define the community that we follow for 17 years, their sheer multitude makes it difficult to invest in any one journey...We get brief visuals that hint at the characters' inner lives….As Kail demonstrated with 'In the Heights' and 'Hamilton,' community rapport is his specialty, and he builds another convincing example at Signature Theatre…Hudes, Kail, and their accomplished cast have made 'Daphne's Dive' more than the sum of its parts."
Read more

May 16th, 2016

"Much of Quiara Alegría Hudes' 'Daphne's Dive,' chronicling seventeen years in the lives of the regulars who gather at a cheap North Philadelphia corner bar, may seem familiar. But the writing is warm and inviting and director Thomas Kail's very strong cast makes this new drama worth a visit...Without a continuous plot, 'Daphne's Dive' is more of a portrait of lives realized through a collage of events."
Read more

May 23rd, 2016

“It can't be said that Hudes has entirely mastered the chronicle format as, too often, the really good stuff tends to happen offstage...Still, ‘Daphne's Dive’ is never dull, the people are likable...Worth seeing for Samira Wiley alone...It's a remarkable performance...More pleasant than powerful, but it makes for a reasonably lively night out; as theatrical cocktails go, however, it has a few too many ingredients to make a strong impression.”
Read more

May 17th, 2016

"A thoughtful ensemble drama about finding home in an unconventional place...Not primarily plot driven, the play serves as a platform for the exchange of ideas...Despite the heavy subject matter at times, there are a lot of laughs to balance it out...Kail has woven together a lovely multilayered production...While the structure of 'Daphne’s Dive' is a often predictable, it is a compassionate chronicle of the rewards of community."
Read more

May 15th, 2016

"'Daphne’s Dive' is inhabited by seven people who come to vibrant life, thanks to a superb ensemble cast and the woman putting alternately poetic and fiercely realistic words in their mouths: Quiara Allegria Hudes…Director Thomas Kail lets the piece unfold at its own pace, which may feel a little too leisurely for the show’s first 15 minutes. But the momentum builds...Kail and his crackerjack cast ensure that we always believe that these people are deeply connected to each other."
Read more

May 15th, 2016

“To put a metaphoric spin on her title, she dives into these characters pasts and presents, pain and passions. The result is a believable but hardly a feel-good portrait of an era showing a group of people trying to help each other...Under Mr. Kail's direction, the cast taps into the play's most powerful moments….While an intermission would interrupt the script's flow, that flow would have been improved by tightening the script to lose about ten minutes."
Read more

May 17th, 2016

"'Daphne’s Dive' is one of those plays that makes you wonder if anyone read it before they decided to produce it. While the characters are the exact ones we need to see more often on the stage, the play itself was a surface offering. This play told me about these people but never let me in. Kind of like a chef who describes the dish she is about to prepare but forgets to bring it to your table. I want to taste the food."
Read more

May 17th, 2016

"Wiley’s performance is intense and passionate...Her performance keeps the audience connected throughout. The rest of ensemble is top-notch as well...The writing explores each character’s story, the struggles and losses, and delves into complicated motivations...With so many conflicts, Hudes does not always delve deeply into each, but the ensemble rises to the challenge...Hudes’ latest work is an unapologetic and brave look at America."
Read more

May 15th, 2016

"The play attempts to make a case for people to fight for their dreams, and how heroic it is merely to survive life’s daily crap, but its messages—if you can call them that—get muddled in characters whose behavior, replete with passionate explosions, appears forced for dramatic effect. Way before the tortuous, intermissionless hour and 40 minutes are up even teetotalers may begin thirsting for the bottles behind the bar in 'Daphne’s Dive.'"
Read more

May 15th, 2016

"'Daphne’s Dive' is at its best when it’s letting the characters have fun–and letting the audience have fun with them...The play itself–although well-acted and largely well-designed—is least successful when it piles on one too many sorrows...The staging was such that, in what felt like half the time, one performer or another was fully blocking my view of the actor speaking. Otherwise, Tommy Kail’s direction can not be faulted. He brings out the best in the actors."
Read more

May 16th, 2016

“The structure of ‘Daphne’s Dive’, as directed by 'Hamilton' hotshot Thomas Kail, is unhelpfully looser than in past plays...Here, the characterizations feel a little schematic. These are not stock figures certainly, but not as richly textured as they might be...But if the plotting and characterizations don’t quite prop up the bar, there’s an unassailable heart to Hudes’ work...'Daphne’s Dive' isn’t so much a melting pot as it is the rum punch...It’s worth downing.”
Read more

B
May 19th, 2016

“We follow the changes in these characters over the years. Unfortunately, most of their stories are not that compelling and Hudes does not take us very deeply into their motivation. If I didn’t already know that the playwright had won a Pulitzer Prize, I would not have guessed it from the present work. The actors are fine, the set is evocative, the costumes are appropriate, the direction is assured, but somehow, for me at least, the payoff was meager.”
Read more

May 20th, 2016

"The lively character assortment is well worth spending time with, and the acting does justice to the author’s take on them and her overall vision. We get to know everyone better as the play moves along...An undercurrent of social consciousness provides purpose as we note how characters wrestle with personal needs and demons. 'Daphne’s Dive' is clearly a talented work well worth a visit."
Read more

May 21st, 2016

"Characters get rich, run for political office, fall in love, get divorced, get hooked on drugs, and die. But almost all of that happens offstage...Which doesn't leave much for the audience to engage with…Under Kail's sympathetic direction, all the actors so fully embody their characters that it's easy to see how much these people care for one another even when they are fighting. The problem is that the play doesn't give us enough to understand how they got that way."
Read more

May 16th, 2016

“As is typical in Hudes’ plays, there’s a feeling of good will toward the characters...You can perceive she intended the play to be a mother-daughter story...But it’s a relationship that’s not particularly well developed...That sense of wanting something deeper is true of the evening as a whole. Director Thomas Kail keeps things in motion, but mostly they’re accounts of melodramatic events, which typically happen off-stage...The play began to feel like a 'Cheers' episode on steroids.”
Read more

May 16th, 2016

"What binds these characters together is a love of community, and a shared sense of compassion and responsibility for Ruby...Under the skilled direction of Thomas Kail, the spirited cast wins our hearts. Vanessa Aspillaga is an empathetic Daphne; Gomez and Rubin-Vega play their roles with style and flair. Wiley is especially touching as Ruby, struggling to define herself. 'Daphne’s Dive' pulsates with life, Philly flavor, and an authentic sense of community and caring."
Read more

June 5th, 2016

"Well, they can't all be good. You can't fault the acting or Thomas Kail's direction of 'Daphne's Dive.' There's just not much of a play there, so little that one wonders why the Signature decided to produce this...One wonders how the saloon has survived for the nineteen years of the play's action. Over those nineteen years, the characters don't change except to drink more...The cast is so good that at some moments they almost convince the audience that there's a play there."
Read more

May 19th, 2016

“Heavy themes abound, yet in the 100-minute production, the episodic pace grows a bit wearisome, with a stagnant, though realistic looking set and a plot line with little intrigue. The cast of seven impresses, particularly Wiley...If you’re expecting a variation of ‘Cheers’, this is not the play for you. But, it does present a tender, evocative slice of life that is both humbling and empowering in terms of depicting the power of camaraderie and perseverance, no matter your roots.”
Read more

May 15th, 2016

"Mr. Kail’s direction is seamless and—no surprise— Quiara Alegría Hudes’ writing is wonderful. But much of her sly humor is lost here amidst domestic and political polemics, which makes some of the performances seem forced. Still there is fun to be had in Daphne Rubin-Vega’s sly turn as Inez...However, it’s Samira Wiley’s tender and passionate rendering of Ruby, who goes from 11 to 15 to 20 to 25 to 29—and back again!—that gives this play its heart and meaning."
Read more

E
May 18th, 2016

"You gotta love a show where you feel a part of the atmosphere, invited into the culture, all the while moved with the rhythm of the story. That, my friends, is the feeling you feel watching 'Daphne’s Dive'...Kail perfectly masters the pacing of the vignettes, keeping us on our toes...Samira Wiley is the heart, soul and liver of the bar and you simply cannot take your eyes off her...Go on and have a drink at 'Daphne’s Dive' and bring a friend--you’ll have a lot to discuss and reminisce about."
Read more

Watch This Next (3)

83
Great
1K+ Reviews
Open run
NYC: East Village

This family-friendly show celebrates the power of percussion and the sheer joy of banging on things.

Buy
82
Great
500+ Reviews
Open run
NYC: Midtown W

An actor drinks heavily (in the vein of Comedy Central's 'Drunk History') and then tries to corral others into…

Buy
81
Great
30 Reviews
Opens Aug 09
NYC: Upper W Side

Shakespeare in the Park is back this summer with Jocelyn Bioh's joyous adaptation of "Merry Wives."

Buy