Familiar
87

Familiar NYC Reviews and Tickets

87%
(119 Reviews)
Positive
96%
Mixed
4%
Negative
0%
Members say
Great acting, Absorbing, Funny, Great writing, Entertaining

About the Show

Playwrights Horizons presents an exploration of old and new world customs, as a Zimbabwean family prepares for the wedding of their eldest daughter in the Midwest, and clashes erupt over tradition and ritual.

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Member Reviews (119)

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946 Reviews | 387 Followers
87
Great writing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if You like shows that help you learn about other cultures and see things you thought you understood from a different angle.

Don't see it if You're not interested in seeing any kind of multi cultural family.

539 Reviews | 1875 Followers
100
Great writing, Hilarious, Masterful, Original, Must see

See it if One of the best written and pridcuyed plays I've ever seen. The cast was awesome.

Don't see it if Run, don't walk to the theater.

617 Reviews | 274 Followers
90
Sitcom on steroids with vivid zambabwean colors makes for hilarious/memorable show; producers: move this to broadway!

See it if you want rich stew of characters in side-splitting confrontations; sitcom with serious core: dilemma of immigrant connection to home country

Don't see it if you don't enjoy stock sitcom characters (dominant wife, meek husband, stoner brother-in-law), ending too heavy on surprise revelations

602 Reviews | 225 Followers
85
Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Funny, Original

See it if You enjoyed Eclipsed, and want to see what else this playwright has up her sleeve. (Hint: it's a comedy!)

Don't see it if You're not interested in plays about family and culture.

469 Reviews | 258 Followers
85
Delightful, Great acting, Great staging, Hilarious, Resonant

See it if you are interested in learning more about a different culture. Also, if you are interested in tracking the writing career of Danai Gurira.

Don't see it if you are not interested in plays dealing with assimilation. You are not interested in seeing a family play from a different point of view.

470 Reviews | 71 Followers
84
Absorbing, Cliched, Great staging, Overrated, Thought-provoking

See it if You want a serious drama laced with humor

Don't see it if you are tired of shows with too many plot twists and big surprises. Show was good enough without all the extra stuff crammed in.

406 Reviews | 188 Followers
91
Resonant, Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Funny, Delightful

See it if You are a human being and now have or once had a parent, sister or brother, and you all aged together.

Don't see it if You have no heart and only care about yourself.

273 Reviews | 473 Followers
85
Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing

See it if you enjoy comedic family dramas with stellar actors. Danai Gurira is a masterful playwright and if you enjoyed Eclipsed, you'll like this.

Don't see it if ...I really have no reason for you not to see this. It's a great production with fantastic staging.

Critic Reviews (41)

The New York Times
March 3rd, 2016

"By the end of this engrossing comedy-drama, deep fissures within the family have been exposed, fresh wounds are rubbed raw and long-buried secrets are unearthed...Ms. Gurira weaves issues of cultural identity and displacement, generational frictions and other meaty matters into dialogue that flows utterly naturally. Her engaging characters are drawn with sympathy and, under the crisp direction of Rebecca Taichman, 'Familiar' stays firmly on course even as the complications pile up."
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Time Out New York
March 3rd, 2016

"With the stage thus set for maximum culture clash, Gurira lets her characters loose. Do things get crazy or messy? Yes and thank goodness....A less committed cast or a director lacking Rebecca Taichman’s wit and verve might have let 'Familiar' descend into ethnic-sitcom territory or suffered whiplash from the second-act dance between rom-com and identity crisis. But the piece works, throwing red meat to an excellent cast and offering plenty of emotional hooks for the audience."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
March 3rd, 2016

"'Familiar' tries so hard to domesticate its characters with the recognizable rhythms of punch-line dialogue, while at the same time addressing very large issues of assimilation and repatriation, that it winds up doing neither very well, even as it remains improbable throughout...For all its worthy questions, its frequent big laughs, and a few good performances, this is a play that leaves you feeling, in more ways than one, unsure where to look."
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New Yorker
March 14th, 2016

"Fantastically well-realized...I’m sure that Gurira knew that her story risked falling into cliché unless she did what she so brilliantly does here: stay within the reality of the characters and their voices...Gurira has a nearly unerring ear for how to make popular theatre without compromising authenticity...Gurira, like her director, has an incredible sense of comedy and how it plays against pathos. But Tippett takes it to another level; he is one of the best actors I’ve seen in ages."
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The Hollywood Reporter
March 3rd, 2016

"The uneven play is stronger on amusing setup than turbulent follow-through, its second-act dramatic turn relying on forced revelations. But the characters and performances keep you glued through to the moving conclusion...All this often hovers with a wink on the edge of sitcom...Gurira draws the fractured family back together and has them reaffirm their roots in an affecting final scene that helps to minimize the structural bumps that precede it."
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Variety
March 3rd, 2016

"Although Rebecca Taichman has directed her superb ensemble cast to find the humor in these all-too-human disputes, the darker aspects of their conflicting values are clear enough, too...Sorry to say, the warm feelings generated by this open-hearted play turn cold in the second act. Seemingly unsure of where to go with all the plot possibilities she raises, Gurira makes the worst possible choice of darkening the narrative by revealing unbelievable and out-of-character family secrets."
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The Wall Street Journal
March 10th, 2016

"Given the potential of its subject matter, it saddens me to report that 'Familiar' is so familiar...Ms. Gurira has rehashed all the clichés of this well-worn genre as if they hadn’t long since been worn out...I expected much better from the author of 'Eclipsed' than a play whose fundamentally serious plot is smothered in lazy sitcom-style jokes and heavy-handed, creakily didactic dialogue. Fine though the 8-person cast is, the talented actors can’t bring 'Familiar' to life other than fitfully."
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New York Post
March 3rd, 2016

“'Familiar' has a well-worn plot...But the family — inspired by Gurira’s own — is Zimbabwean-American and the playwright’s good ear for dialogue helps make this a sharp look at assimilation...Gurira sets up some expectations — that the white groom will be a problem, for instance — only to smartly deflate them, and the show barrels through at high comic velocity. Even the sentimental ending can’t spoil it."
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