See it if You are a fan of Ike Holter's previous work, like examinations of country's crumbling education system, enjoy good performances
Don't see it if You don't like slight exaggerations of real life situations, think that all teachers are perfect, can't stand wishful thinking
See it if you want to see a thoughtful, distressing take on the challenges facing everyone in the public education system in contemporary America.
Don't see it if you go to the theater for a fun escape.
See it if Turbulent teachers' break room in a poor Chicago high school. The adults are a gaggle of losers being saved by a charismatic senior.
Don't see it if you're turned off like me by yet another play -- like "The Humans" -- with an extraneous supernatural element that just doesn't work
See it if terrific actors and fun dialogue on a topic both serious and relevant.
Don't see it if cliches annoy you.
See it if you like one person plays
Don't see it if you are looking for an intelligent play.
See it if You want a fun passionate show, with diverse, well drawn characters, action and enthusiasm.
Don't see it if You care more about details, logic, credibility and consistent characters than a fast paced entertaining story.
See it if You want a play about race relations with a gay subplot shoehorned in for no reason. Or you enjoy cliched plots that feel like a bad sitcom.
Don't see it if You're going to have a heart attack from loud noises. Or you are looking for an intelligent take on culturally relevant topics.
See it if looking for a thought provoking show about the public high school system in under privileged areas. Actors were amazing.
Don't see it if expecting a feel good story with a happy ending.
"A vividly acted production…Mr. Holter has a gift for sharp characterization and crisply funny dialogue with jagged edges...Mr. Holter deftly embeds his finger-pointing in the drama itself…'Exit Strategy' takes a sentimental turn. The amorous relationship between Ricky and one of the teachers also injects a formulaic note into the proceedings. But the pungent dialogue, winning performances and Kip Fagan’s streamlined direction help us overlook the small hiccups in the dramaturgy."
"Holter’s snappy, overlapping dialogue is often very funny...But it is also overly broad (a weakness sometimes exacerbated by Kip Fagan’s direction), and it veers into sentimentality. Although 'Exit Strategy' is about activism, not education, it might be stronger if it engaged more specifically with the issues. Why is this school being closed? Why is it worth saving? The play is committed to teaching, but its lesson plan feels sketchy."
"'Exit Strategy,' a small-scaled, big-hearted and often wickedly funny play, looks at the last-ditch efforts to save a failing Chicago public school from being closed down by the city. Every character rings true, thanks to Ike Holter’s spot-on, affectionate writing and an ensemble cast that’s terrifically in tune...Best of all, there’s no cheap sentimentality or Hollywood-like happy ending. Even so, you leave the theater buoyant. A good show will do that."
"A fierce and (uncomfortably) funny new play…Director Kip Fagan has crafted a highly realistic production that never has us questioning if we're really watching an inner-city public school…Holter occasionally bites off more than he can chew...Holter somewhat undermines the truthfulness of his vision by relying on some tropes of his own. Still, the overall experience is more illuminating than not and a must-see for anyone who cares about the state of public education in America."
"The script leaps from confrontations to rants to shocker revelations, with only the bare minimum of connective tissue...Holter is a talent but, after two hours of such in-your-face dramatics, it's possible to leave the theatre feeling surprisingly dissatisfied…Still, under Kip Fagan's direction a strong cast makes the most of Holter's turbocharged way with words…'Exit Strategy' gives you a rush, and its cascades of words sometimes dazzle, but it falls short of landing the knockout punch."
"A predictable travelogue through the final 9 months of Tumbldn's existence, with major stops at the group's internal friction...Holter's writing still occasionally thrills...But aside from Pam and to a lesser degree Ricky, the characters are sparklingly dull, which doesn't aid the actors in making them three-dimensional...If you attend or work at a school, you might well love it with all your heart. But if you don't, an hour and a half of bland pontificating isn't enough to kindle a romance."
"We worry about the results of years of neglect on the lives of students and teachers but we’re given little to consider as alternatives...As energetically directed...by Kip Fagan...an electrical current courses through the production, with its sharp blackouts and blasts of raucous music...'Exit Strategy's' not perfect but it’s good enough not to need an exit strategy of your own."
"Mr. Holter has ably imbued this tragic situation with humor and dramatic heft…Kip Fagan's steady direction ensures that the events unfold with sufficient tension and speed…The entire cast admirably portrays characters who could easily be sit-comish stereotypes…Despite an unavoidable tendency to come off as an inspirational message play, the smartly staged and well-acted 'Exit Strategy' is well worth a trip to the West Village."