The New Group presents two-time Tony winner Matthew Broderick in Wallace Shawn's drama about a group of friends gathering to celebrate a past theatrical endeavor in a dystopian future. More…
In 'Evening at the Talk House,' everyone's invited to join the company of Robert's (Broderick) underappreciated masterpiece, 'Midnight in a Clearing with Moon and Stars,' at a get-together to commemorate its 10th anniversary. To recall that wonderful creative atmosphere which they all miss so much, Nellie (Jill Eikenberry) will host this celebration at their old haunt, the Talk House (which, despite everything, remains open). Remember when you felt you could do anything, when there was still nothing to fear? Yes, things have changed a bit, haven't they? Please come. We need each other.
"Insidiously brilliant, humorous, sardonic play...The production, finely tuned and directed by Elliott, has a stellar ensemble whose spot-on performances bring a number of chilling messages to us in the 'here and now'...An excellent Matthew Broderick as Robert unfolds the complexity of his character, an ironic, insightful, equivocal, caddish, diffuse, emotionally disaffected playwright...This is a terrific must-see production that makes for thrilling, terrifying entertainment." Full Review
"Few plays begin with more gracious verve than Wallace Shawn’s achingly brilliant 'Evening at the Talkhouse'...To go into specific detail would diminish the wondrous thrills to be had in this endlessly fascinating play. Suffice it to say: when the actors take their bows, mysteries linger, along with Shawn’s persistent haunting vision of world that may be closer than we think." Full Review
"A terrific production...Where 'Talk House' achieves its unique power is in the slippery subtlety of its contradictory arguments. Surely Shawn would not waste his time writing a cautionary tale for a world beyond caution, or making it so deceptively funny (until it isn’t) if he did not believe in the power of words to do more than moo...And yet 'Talk House' is uncommonly pessimistic about the theater: It’s late in the day and it’s all gas. Worse, plays may be a part of the problem." Full Review
"The fine ensemble acting and well-known faces immediately make the audience feel like they’re in their customary universe, with people they know well...The genius of 'Evening at the Talk House' is that it’s a play that makes you think about depressing things and allows you to laugh at the same time...This is a rare theatrical event that made me think but didn’t make me bleed. Go see for yourself." Full Review
"Shawn has no compunctions about letting his characters talk on and on and on…A lot of the chatter is amusing, quite innocuous at first, but as might be expected with Shawn, it evolves into something rather ominous…Scott Elliott has put together a stellar company that gives validity and vibrancy to Shawn’s tricky writing…The talk at the ‘Talk House’ threatens to become toxic, with an intelligence and perspicacity that, while sometimes unwieldy, demand our attention." Full Review
"It’s a stunning piece of theatre, one that resonates long after you leave it behind...It ends tragically, but I found the journey through it absorbing and provocative; words that suggest a beautifully written and performed very dark comedy that informs us, entertains us, and succeeds in making us more keenly aware of how united we must be in order to resuscitate what we once thought of as the best of all possible worlds." Full Review
“The cast is stellar...At first, the play seems like an investigation of sophomoric indulgence regarding older, white, privileged, rich folks...But as the platters of shrimp cocktail and towering cheese trays are consumed, a quiet dystopian trope invades…The evening is neither uplifting nor a place to forget about the horrible swirl that is our personal political caldron of late, but as usual Shawn's work does provide grist for every brain cell you have and then asks you to look for a few more." Full Review
“The art of dystopian drama is crafting a reality that feels familiar to the audience, so that we can easily draw a line between our world and the one onstage. Shawn has created a world that is uncanny, especially for anyone who frequents the New York theater...Shawn seamlessly blends deathly serious themes with his unique brand of absurd humor…'Evening at the Talk House' isn't really a disturbing look at our possible near future, but our very real present.” Full Review
"Watching 'Talk House,' I had the uncanny sensation that Shawn has turned his theatrical nightmares into our waking reality...Staged with sly humor and creeping perversity by Elliott, 'Talk House' is elliptical, weird stuff. Unless you’re already a fan, you may find it opaque or off-puttingly cryptic. Those of us who’ve loved Shawn for years, however, will simply note that he’s moved into documentaries." Full Review
"'Evening at the Talk House' is sure to cause discomfort in the audience, because it’s an indictment of us all...While some find this sort of engagement intellectually challenging, others would rather not be faced with what is really a troubling moment of forced reflection. Either way, it’s a well performed and superbly written piece on Derek McLane’s gorgeously cozy club room set that sneaks up behind the viewer before seizing him by the throat." Full Review
"The most insidious societal changes don’t occur through quick or violent means. Rather they are so quiet and unobtrusive one never notices them until it is too late. This chilling point is brought home in 'Evening at the Talk House'...The cast is excellent...Scott Elliot’s direction is nicely restrained, allowing the power of the text to take hold and turn a simple premise into something sinister." Full Review
"The stellar cast includes notable names...Under Scott Elliott's direction, the 100-minute piece plays out as a 21st Century twisted version of the kind of leftist conversation that once dominated the corners of Greenwich Village's basement bars and coffee houses...In 'Evening at the Talk House,' the danger of live theatre may have been what led to its demise, and the power of populist fascists may have led to the demise of those who would passionately build it up again." Full Review
"'Evening at the Talk House' may not rivet the audience with chatter about trivial sitcoms in which his characters have appeared or been involved. But it has the impressive effect of confirming Shawn as remarkably prescient. He’s sussed out the 'normalizing' of destructive behavior settling over us as we speak...As directed with silken menace by Scott Elliott, the actors acquit themselves with aplomb, perhaps Broderick chief among them." Full Review
“Under Scott Elliott’s smart and conscientious direction, the cast uniformly explores the depth of each character, delineates the character’s conflicts, and successfully helps to move the plot forward…Engaging theatre, although ‘Evening at the Talk House’ is not without complications...The reference to today’s political climate is obvious and deeply disturbing. This consonance with the present makes 'Talk House' an important conversation as freedoms seems to disappear daily." Full Review
"In spite of occasional slow spots, Shawn is masterly at writing literate, even poetic, dialogue...If at times his points are familiar, the leisurely world he puts on stage is both relaxed and deeply unsettling...Ultimately, though, what makes 'Evening at the Talk House' so memorable is less the shock of ordinary people blithely engaging in murder, but the prospect of an entire civilization facing its demise." Full Review
"Shawn is not so starry-eyed as to believe that the theater can save us from the increasing social isolation and economic precarity...Shawn is perhaps the most cynical American playwright working today, and also perhaps the most important. He specializes in splattering the tastefully appointed habitats of the haute bourgeois with blood, making rudely visible the violence undergirding the broad-mindedness, compassion, and refinement cherished by the likes of us East Coast liberal elites." Full Review
"A play like 'Evening at the Talk House,' with its dystopian vision of America tomorrow or the next day, usually hinges on how well the playwright draws on the details of how we live right now, and it must be noted that some of Shawn's ideas simply don't resonate...Still, 'Evening at the Talk House' casts a spell of creeping dread, aided by a wildly varied cast...The director, Scott Elliott, handles the diverse cast well." Full Review
"'Talk House' is deliberately vague about the way the society it depicts differs from the one we currently inhabit. Yes, leaving the murdering sketchy adds to the terror–both for the characters and for us. But there are occasionally tantalizing morsels that suggest the 100-minute play might have felt more filling had Shawn cooked up some more aspects of his imagined world...Director Elliott is effective in creating an atmosphere of conventional conviviality...and then of growing dread." Full Review
"Framing the best performance by Broderick since 'The Producers,' 'Evening At The Talk House' plows terrain familiar to us onlookers at The World According Shawn...It’s a horrific, unsettling worldview...Even more frightening, it seems to have been outpaced by the real events Shawn is commenting on, turning satire – fake news – into documentary – real news. 'Evening' loses focus and doesn’t seem to know how to end. That simply adds to the horror factor, however." Full Review
"Though overwritten, Shawn’s play is a shrewdly pointed satire about civilization's tectonic shifts both culturally and politically…The performances are all first-rate…The production, directed by Scott Elliot, takes far too long to hook us in. But when it does, we're fascinated. Unfortunately, the ending comes too abruptly, and many in the audience are left shaking their heads. Bottom line, Wallace Shawn is a great thinker. I just wish his playwriting could match his intellect." Full Review
“It's a Wally Shawn play and so it's a talky play but under Scott Elliott's solid direction, an expert cast brings it almost to life…Playing against type as a bitter former theater director who has found a refuge in doing what sounds like a tacky TV series, Broderick shakes off the lethargy that dragged down so many of his post-‘The Producers’ performances. Shawn isn't given to idle sentimentality." Full Review
"'Talk House,' which features a talent-stocked ensemble led by an excellent Matthew Broderick, covers territory that Mr. Shawn dug into more deeply in his harrowing 'Designated Mourner'...The insiderly conflation of theater-world superficiality and the depths of institutionalized evil can feel forced and gimmicky. And the ensemble hasn’t yet fallen into the natural common groove that might mitigate that impression...Ms. Shear stands out...Mr. Shawn is as good...And Mr. Broderick is first-rate." Full Review
"The play digests so easily and un-queasily that it can feel like it was barely there at all...'Evening at the Talk House' ought to be a body slam. Instead, it barely beats you up at all...Despite some lovely performances (Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker, especially, and a perfectly cast Broderick) the stakes seem perilously low, which is odd considering that the collapse of civilized society or at the very least an assassination or two threatens." Full Review
"It sounded so promising: a New York premiere of a work by the provocative and often amusing Wallace Shaw...Despite the underlying menace, the guests prattle on about TV shows and other gossip. One topic is the mysterious recent poisoning of at least two actors. The lights go out, but the talk continues. The play grinds to a halt with an ending that seems almost arbitrary. Somewhere lurking inside this disjointed mess lies an interesting play. I wish Shawn had waited until it emerged." Full Review
"It’s one the main pleasures of the work, which can be alternately maddening, terrifying and a bit boring, that we’re never quite sure where we’re traveling – or where we’ll end up...Too much of the play is devoted to inside-baseball chatter about fictional theatrical and television figures. But every now and then, the subject abruptly changes to the geopolitical, and one sits up, pricks up one’s ears, and wonders how much of the dialogue Shawn wrote since January 20." Full Review
See it if you enjoy Wallace Shawn and a show that is all talk. Profound and uncomfortably relevant. Great writing and acting!
Don't see it if you don't enjoy shows that are slow and thought provoking.
See it if A very entertaining circus The plot is thin But the staging lighting talent More then makes up for it
Don't see it if You don't like special Effects and noise and some chaos
See it if You enjoy ensemble talk drama, interesting talk about theater and odd punishment for vague crimes.
Don't see it if you don't like very talky plays and sometimes confusing lines of thought.
See it if you're a listener--it's not for nothing that it's "Evening at the Talk House." Not much happens, yet challenging and disturbing ideas emerge
Don't see it if you want physical action, song and dance, or action-packed plot
See it if I found this play fascinating and was totally absorbed by it. It worked on many levels : I especially loved the sinister doings just below
Don't see it if the surface interactions. The New Group gave it a fine production w/ Matthew Broderick plowing charmingly through gobs of text. 8 actors A++
See it if You don't mind talky dramas with deep thoughts. Shawn is a brilliant mind and I liked where he took the story.
Don't see it if You need more action and pace in your narratives. This is a heady show that requires a lot of active listening.
See it if You are a Wallace Shawn or Matthew Broderick fan. You enjoy interactive theatre (get there early to hang on the set with the cast).
Don't see it if You would rather avoid challenging ideas--including some that are prescient.
See it if you like social criticism that isn't above connecting with a good sucker-punch and sense our culture is on the slippery slope to hell.
Don't see it if you're afraid to take an unflinching look at yourself, your friends, your secret bourgeois fantasies... and your nightmares.
See it if You appreciate dystopian visions subtly presented by an excellent cast. Wonderful writing by Wallace Shawn. Disturbing and timely.
Don't see it if Don't like to see downers and don't want to think of what we can sink to while maintaining a civilized facade. Warning -- it's depressing.
See it if Interesting show about a dystopian future that sounds all too plausible. Some nice performances.
Don't see it if Too much Matthew Broderick. The show opens with a 15-minute monologue by him. I nearly fell asleep. No sure what the point was.
See it if you wish to see M. Broderick play M Broderick for the first 10 minutes. The set is wonderful.M.B is superb in that time period (see more)
Don't see it if Talent is wasted. The premise is not realistic.. The 75 minutes is more like 100 minutes (should be an intermssion but alas it would (see m
See it if you are looking for an intelligent evening at the theater. Cleverly addresses a futuristic America that is actually closer than we think.
Don't see it if you don't like plays that are fairly talky and lack action.
See it if If you woud like an insider's look at theatrical folk. An intimate, casual look at life in a dystopian future. Great for fans of the leads.
Don't see it if If you don't like very talk-y shows (it's aptly titled), this is not for you. A bit heady at times and ultimately dark.
See it if You want a show that has several interesting - albeit confusing -layers. It is definitely a thought-provoking experience.
Don't see it if You're expecting a delightful night of theatre. Very talented actors but the characters don't pull you into their world.
See it if like Wallace Shawn's writing; want a semi-comedic, dark look at the near future with a very good cast; staged so you feel like part of show
Don't see it if don't like Matthew Broderick (I don't, but he's ok here), want a real plot; the script is verbose; there's alot of talking
Get alerts about your favorite artists and theater companies