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"'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 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
"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
"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
"Unfortunately, 'Evening at the Talk House' lives up to its title by being a monotonously verbose exercise whose provocative themes are too muddled to make much of an impact...Never proves compelling with its vague, futuristic scenario. Shawn's understated dialogue becomes quickly tedious, and the oblique story line doesn’t reach any satisfying conclusion...The talented cast fails to breathe much life into their underwritten roles." Full Review
"The shadow of Orwell looms large over 'Talk House.' Only it’s a rather blurry smudge, so it’s not altogether clear what the playwright’s point is...Broderick talks; and then Shawn talks; and then everybody talks and talks. (The play runs about 100 minutes, but a long 100 minutes.) Fortunately, the cast is full of actors who know how to hold the stage—including, yes, Mr. Shawn—so they do manage to keep our attention." 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
"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
"'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
"At first the bonhomie of the pre-show carries into the opening moments of the play...An intriguing concept but the air of casual acceptance of these horrors is so pervasive, it deadens the impact. Yes, that’s Shawn’s point—fascism creeps in on little cat feet. But the acting and direction is so mild, the effect is soporific...The all-star company has been directed to underplay every word and action, except for Shawn and Sriram...It’s a pretty dull 'Evening' with all talk and little action." 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
"Much as Shawn's subject has a fundamental fascination...his play never seems believable enough to accept its premises...Director Scott Elliott...and his noteworthy cast do all they can to make Shawn's attempts at spontaneous language sound other than synthetic. However, the 100-minute play, a sizable, rambling chunk of it played only in candlelight, is eventually murdered by its own artificiality. 'Talk House' may have lots to talk about but it's hard to believe much of what it says." Full Review
"Elliott’s production is a laid-back, intimate affair with little movement and dim lighting...About halfway through, the dialogue becomes increasingly strange and there is mention of a government sanctioned 'program of murdering'...It’s as if Shawn sensed the play was becoming a bore and responded with a dystopian twist. A handful of moments are interesting...But it’s a challenge to stay engaged with this slow-moving, maudlin and ultimately bewildering piece." Full Review
"Shawn's sleight of hand in guiding us from organic discussion to enforced silence is a bewitching magic trick that Elliott has staged at once subtly and to the hilt; both artists prevent us, like the characters, from seeing where we are or where we're going until we're too enmeshed to escape...The problem, though, is that in the end, all the pieces don't come together...Worse yet, at least at the performance I attended, most of the actors were still finding their ways into their parts." 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
"'Evening at the Talk House' starts off serving sugary treats, as the cast mingles with the audience. Sadly that is the best part of the whole show. What this play is trying to say, makes no sense...There is much being said here, but it is so oddly stated that you start to tune out...The direction of Scott Elliott, keeps the play moving...Talented actors here were undernourished with a play that had any substance." Full Review
"Too bad the play doesn't give you that much to chew on...While Shawn's play stirs up a bit of dread, especially considering current affairs, it’s played so bluntly that it's not that disquieting...Under the direction of Elliott, performances in this New Group show are mostly fine, but Broderick struggles to sound like just a regular guy talking in the show’s long opening monologue. The physical production also nags...Furnishings, like the talk in this house, could have been more lived-in." 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
"Mr. Elliott and the entire cast do their utmost to bring out both the humor and horror of Shawn's serio-comedy. But the sly finger pointing at a narrow group within a bigger, ever scarier world doesn't mesh as smoothly and clearly as it should...Interesting as some of the ideas that come to light are, the gradual shift in tone is rather confusing. Except for Shawn and Broderick, none of the characters assigned to these well-credentialed actors are especially interesting." Full Review
“Wallace Shawn has concocted a play that will get you to scratch your head, if only to wonder if this future could actually be ours. But this big reveal of a new reality is quite underwhelming…The play happens to be quite passive; most of the character development occurs through stories of the past. And it starts to become tedious...It's one thing to watch the characters muse about the past if it develops their arcs, but it seldom does so." 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
"It is a bit shocking how relevant 'Evening at the Talk House' is to the political times we now live in, but this is not a gathering that I would have wanted to be invited to...There are too many moments that don’t flow or that feel repetitive...And although the ending in general was not a shock, it also didn’t make much sense either. Although this 'Evening at the Talk House' kept me tuned in, I can’t say I was thoroughly engaged. This is one cocktail party that I wish I had skipped." Full Review
"Hadn’t quite come together when I saw Scott Elliott’s eclectically cast New York premiere...We are casually folded into a world where the theater is dead, blackouts are common, authoritarians rule the world and conversation centers on who’s in and who’s out of inane entertainment...The finale is suitably macabre, but a bit anticlimactic. Missing is the way the best Shawn works tighten the knot that connects our comfortable life to our complicity with cruelty. That thrilling awfulness is lost." Full Review
"It is a very verbose, long-winded affair giving an excellent cast made up of such veterans as Matthew Broderick, John Epperson (aka Lypsinka), Jill Eikenberry, Larry Pine, Claudia Shear and Michael Tucker not much to do. Shawn has written the best role for himself but that is not saying much. While the play may be meant as a cautionary tale, it is also overwritten and self-indulgent. Long before you realize where the play is going you may have lost interest due to all of the explanations." Full Review
"Broderick is especially good at never losing his benign cool while delivering wicked character critiques that savage like an assassin’s bullets. And Shawn and director Scott Elliott are especially adept at scene-setting in the play’s first few minutes. Where he goes off the rails is with his twist...The 100-minute 'Talk House' meanders on and on after the big reveal, with characters being alternately nonplussed and nonchalant." Full Review
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 already purchased a subscription to The New Group for Sweet Charity and this was included. Honestly, just let the ticket go to waste.
Don't see it if You're expecting Matthew Broderick to become engaging again or there to be an interesting take on post-apocalyptic life in the theatre.
See it if I really try to see something good in every production but there's absolutely no reason to see this show.
Don't see it if you have half a brain and can gather from these reviews that this show is ultra-missable.
See it if you're a fan of Messrs. Shawn or Broderick—or nostalgic about LA Law's fab couple (Tucker, Eikenberry); very odd concept that never gels.
Don't see it if you want a cohesive story or to connect with the material, or are averse to dystopia genre or wary of feeling clueless for 100 minutes.
See it if you like fine acting and direction, and provocative unpredictable theater that leaves you with more questions than answers.
Don't see it if you don't like Matthew Broderick and a distinguished cast that you may find disappointing in this unusual edgy piece.
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 to mingle with a star-studded cast on the set before the show; catty dialogue about the entertainment industry in dystopian world
Don't see it if the play more important than mingling; Broderick & Shawn good, others underutilized, one really miscast; the wordiness is tiring
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
See it if you might like a politically prescient show where group of theatre folk gather for a reunion in an Orwellian society..
Don't see it if you don't care for slice-of-life dramas where most of the "action" is talk and most of the "reveals" are events from the characters' pasts
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 need a place to take a quick nap. Although at 100 minutes, it felt like a long winter's sleep. Dull beyond words. Interesting set.
Don't see it if you have a way to avoid it.Most of the actors are good. Way overwritten. Too wordy. Dull as dull can be. Avoid like the plague.
See it if you are a huge fan of any of the cast who are very good.
Don't see it if you are looking for a play with a coherent plot. It was only 100 minutes but it seemed like an eternity.
See it if like me, you love Matthew Broderick or if you like Dystopian dramas by Vonnegut.
Don't see it if you don't want to leave the theater scratching your head or you don't have patience of a disjointed story .
See it if you enjoy great writing and dark thoughts. It will leave you wondering about the person seated next to you. Or is it the one in front?
Don't see it if If you are the one who voted for Trump.