Downstairs
79

Downstairs NYC Reviews and Tickets

79%
(119 Reviews)
Positive
84%
Mixed
13%
Negative
3%
Members say
Great acting, Absorbing, Intense, Thought-provoking, Disappointing

About the Show

Theresa Rebeck returns to Primary Stages with the a new family drama, starring real-life siblings Tyne and Tim Daly, who will be appearing together for the first time on the New York stage. 

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Member Reviews (119)

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67
Disappointing, Slow, Great staging, Funny

See it if If you want to see a family play that deals with family issues. The two Dailey's are good in their roles.

Don't see it if If you want an upbeat fast play that is consistent throughout.

85
Funny, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Suspenseful, Intense

See it if Bro & sis plumb their childhood abuse as they confront a desperate predicament. A thriller with depth & humor. Loved the brother character.

Don't see it if You are not interested in the theme of how childhood abuse affects adult personality. The sister and husband characters are simplistic.

Critic Reviews (24)

The New York Times
November 18th, 2018

“Directed with striking clarity and command by Adrienne Campbell-Holt, 'Downstairs' is a well-constructed play of whipsaw moods that have much to do with Teddy’s instability — a restless volatility that Mr. Daly struggles to embody in a performance that is the production’s most amusing yet least convincing...It’s actually quite entertaining...Procaccino’s Gerry is a magnificent villain — belligerent, dangerous, and so habitually, casually vicious.”
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Time Out New York
November 18th, 2018

"Rebeck wrote 'Downstairs' expressly for the real-life Daly siblings...As an acting showcase, it serves its purpose—especially for Tyne...But as a play, 'Downstairs' needs some renovating. The suspense is hit-and-miss: Director Adrienne Campbell-Holt injects some nifty jolts, but slack pacing often kills the chills. The play toys with intriguing ideas...but the denouement doesn't induce an epiphany. Like its central siblings, 'Downstairs' still seems to be trying to find itself."
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The Hollywood Reporter
November 18th, 2018

“Although the production offers the welcome opportunity for...Tyne Daly and Tim Daly to make their first joint appearance on a NY stage, it offers them little more than a gimmicky acting vehicle...Rebeck ratchets up the tension slowly...The play feels repetitive...its slackness preventing narrative momentum from taking hold...The Daly siblings deliver complex, nuanced performances that somehow keep us guessing about their characters even while we're losing interest.”
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The Observer
November 19th, 2018

"It’s a dark, talky, somber evening by uneven, prolific playwright Theresa Rebeck that will not please anyone seeking a coherent, well-written play in a naturalistic style, but the performances by the Dalys are well worth a trip...Directed with balance and vision by Adrienne Campbell-Holt, 'Downstairs' doesn’t add up to much, but what’s there is riveting and suspenseful."
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Lighting & Sound America
November 30th, 2018

“Primary Stages gets into the star-vehicle business with ‘Downstairs’...Poised halfway between an enigmatic Pinterian power struggle and a conventional thriller, ‘Downstairs’ is not without its plot holes...If some plot points dangle preciously, the climax features a couple of too-neatly arranged developments...Nevertheless, if you enjoy the Dalys at their considerable best -- and you don't mind an oversupply of exposition – ‘Downstairs’ packs some extremely potent thrills.”
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New York Stage Review
November 18th, 2018

“’Downstairs’ is not an entirely satisfying drama. Before the story twists into suspenseful mode, it gets downright sleepy. Campbell-Holt...should have punched up that soft spot in her otherwise solid staging of the play. Still, some distinctive charm and subtle comedy arises amid Rebeck’s chitchat between Teddy and Irene as they fondly reminisce about growing up with their batty parents...While the play is not among Rebeck’s finest, it certainly delivers satisfying dramatic moments."
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New York Stage Review
November 18th, 2018

“There’s good news and bad news about ‘Downstairs’...Good news: It stars the dynamite real-life brother and sister Tim and Tyne Daly...Though they’re cast as siblings, both actors...are playing terrifically against type...Bad news: Despite the Dalys’ best efforts, ‘Downstairs’ is almost as adrift as poor Teddy. It starts as a quietly intriguing dysfunctional-family drama...Takes a whiplash-inducing turn into thriller territory, then settles back very briefly into the brother-sister story.”
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TheaterScene.net
November 25th, 2018

“Ostensibly about domestic abuse, the evidence is all offstage and we must surmise this from the defeated condition of the heroine Irene played by Ms. Daly. Her husband Gerry (John Procaccino) is involved in some shocking, nefarious business revealed to the characters on stage but never revealed to the audience, nor is the confidential project her brother Teddy (Mr. Daly) claims to be working on which will make his fortune. As such, the thrills are all a matter of guesswork, rather than actual.”
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CurtainUp
November 23rd, 2018

“Rebeck has created two interesting characters for the Dalys...The way both ably inhabit these...characters is enriched by the chemistry...And Procacino...is genuinely scary. The problem is that the scare factor...isn't all that much of a tooth clencher...Despite Campbell-Holt and the three excellent actors doing their best to make this old-fashioned domestic thriller genre less creaky but creepy as ever, this is not as satisfying as other premieres presented by Primary Stages.”
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Front Row Center
November 24th, 2018

"I have always been a fan of Theresa Rebeck. She has the ability to knit together fully formed characters and lock them together like small tidal waves...The pacing is nearly Hitchcock. The characters are set up and delivered by each of the actors with sensitivity and restraint...Under the skillful direction of Campbell-Holt, and aided by the brilliant set design by Narelle Sissons, this play brings home the goods. This is a play that gets under your skin for all the right reasons."
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Front Mezz Junkies
December 19th, 2018

“Rebeck’s tense new drama...A strangely compelling and transfixing thriller that floats back and forth bridging genres with quick handed ease, daring us to believe or disbelieve in one thing and then another...Surprisingly and expertly entangled...Rebeck delivers a tense psychological thriller layered with paranoia and the threat of violence erupting at any moment. It’s a bit of a tease, this ratcheting up, threatening us with something bigger than the quick resolution we get.”
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New York Theater
November 28th, 2018

"The greatest thrill of Theresa Rebeck’s thriller is seeing Tyne Daly and Tim Daly act together on stage for the first time...Rebeck is better at creating suspense than at making it pay off...While the mystery is resolved, it’s never fully explained. Much happens off-stage; details are left vague...The lacuna in the script wasn’t a deal-breaker for me."
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Broadway Blog
December 10th, 2018

"A so-so thriller specifically written for the Dalys…'Downstairs' takes a long time setting up its talkative exposition, made to seem even longer under Adrienne Campbell-Holt's too sluggish direction…There's a natural flow to the dialogue, and, once things finally begin to intensify, a feeling of suspense, but Rebeck holds back too much, forcing us to fill in the many gaps…Its few shivers aside, 'Downstairs' is a minor work providing three first-rate players with colorful roles."
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C
November 18th, 2018

"Meanwhile, Ms. Daly, who has made a decades-long career portraying some of the stage and screen's most formidable women - Mary Beth Lacey, Mama Rose, Maria Callas - is wonderfully believable as the seemingly sunny yet ultimately terrified and fragile Irene, a woman who has become scared of her own clothes, her feelings, and especially her domineering husband Gerry (an excellent John Procaccino), whom we meet about halfway through the play."
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Gotham Playgoer
November 21st, 2018

“Despite a interesting premise...the play mostly spins its wheels and dissipates what little tension it builds up well before it finally ends. If there was any point to it, it was lost on me. Despite fine performances by all three actors, I found myself losing interest and patience early on. The slack direction by Adrienne Campbell-Holt didn't help either...I admire the Dalys for trying something different, but wish it had turned out better.”
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The Wrap
November 18th, 2018

"Rebeck’s new play ‘Downstairs’...it’s a very exceptional thriller — one that’s distinguished, in part, because you don’t know it’s a thriller until Rebeck and director Campbell-Holt send out their first shock wave...Has two or three steps up or down a staircase ever provoked such a gasp from the audience? Hitchcock did it in 'Psycho' and 'The Birds.' Rebeck and Campbell-Holt do it with 'Downstairs.'"
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Off Off Online
November 27th, 2018

“Rebeck and her stellar cast keep us guessing through a tense, intermission-less hour and 45 minutes...Rebeck avoids melodrama and endows her work with patches of poetry...Campbell-Holt knows when to be subtle and when to be harsh, exploiting the seeds of doubt...Mr. Daly skillfully walks the line between victim and savior. Ms. Daly pulls off the admirable feat of bringing depth to a character who has been beaten numb. And Procaccino is bone-chilling.”
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Broadway & Me
December 1st, 2018

“Rebeck has a fine ear for dialogue and a knack for coming up with intriguing situations...but she never seems to know quite what to do with them...That’s not the fault of the cast...The Dalys are both charming in their roles...Procaccino chips in with a chilling performance. All three make the show watchable. But not even their collective talents can make ‘Downstairs’ more than that because the playwright hasn’t given them enough to work with.”
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T
November 18th, 2018

"Rebeck’s lean, tense thriller and psychological drama...Rebeck increases the tension because we can see both brother and sister are so complexly intertwined...A thriller and convincing marital and family drama that says a lot in its silences, and with excellent performances from its three actors that make this particular basement somewhere you never want to be again."
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T
December 14th, 2018

“’Downstairs’ unfolds in a series of primarily two-person scenes beautifully orchestrated by director Adrienne Campbell-Holt...Tim and Tyne have the chemistry of a brother and sister who love and care about each other, playing the same; they deliver Rebeck’s sharply unpredictable dialogue with a natural, rhythmic flow, while character actor extraordinaire Procaccino is terrific...’Downstairs’ is one basement that is well worth visiting for 105 eerily enticing minutes.”
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Berkshire On Stage
June 27th, 2017
For a previous production

“’Downstairs’ is moving, funny, and scary, and it gives one many things to think about...Considering the depth of the material, it is ironic that the plot can be explained in one sentence...While there are some good laughs and a happy ending in ‘Downstairs’, it is neither a comedy nor simple...An opportunity to see American theatrical royalty on stage in a new work by one of our finest living playwrights in a beautiful and intimate setting in rural Vermont.”
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Times Argus
June 24th, 2017
For a previous production

"Adding to the stellar quality of the production was the cast comprised of Tyne and Tim Daly...An intimate 90-minute drama that might be best described as a puzzle, with pieces being added here and there until the picture becomes visible...Dorset’s physical production felt authentic and certainly created the right atmosphere...Not only a dramatic powerhouse, but a deeply touching story of family. Rebeck has created unusually authentic and dimensional characters."
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Seven Days
June 28th, 2017
For a previous production

“A stunning drama that keeps the audience in doubt about reality until it strikes a jarring truth that transforms three fascinating characters...The production is not only technically superb but features subtle, engrossing stage acting...Campbell-Holt sustains Rebeck's fascinating test of what's real with staging that fiercely asserts authenticity yet always leaves room for doubt. Campbell-Holt draws nuanced performances from the three actors...A moving, cathartic theater experience.”
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B
June 28th, 2017
For a previous production

“Rebeck can take heart that the play she wrote expressly for the Dalys is a viscerally human story, and easily her most relatable to everyday people...There are several places where considerable time can be sliced out, both with action that lingers...as well as dialogue that continues pounding home a point already made...But ‘Downstairs’ remains Rebeck's best Dorset play to date. It went down into a basement, but reached lofty heights in meaning and passion.”
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