Girls & Boys
Closed 1h 45m
Girls & Boys
83

Girls & Boys NYC Reviews and Tickets

83%
(137 Reviews)
Positive
92%
Mixed
7%
Negative
1%
Members say
Great acting, Absorbing, Intense, Riveting, Great writing

About the Show

Academy and Tony Award nominee Carey Mulligan stars in this new solo drama from Tony Award-winning playwright Dennis Kelly.

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Member Reviews (137)

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65
Confusing, Profound, Relevant, Intelligent

See it if you like an intelligent theater that doesnt necessarily aim to please the Aristotlean way of storytelling and you like profound theater

Don't see it if you dont like storytelling theater and prefer an ensemble driven piece

50
Banal, Disappointing, Excruciating, Tasteless, Loooong

See it if u’d enjoy listening to a coked up girl at a party blather about every detail of her ordinary life. Or to a mom rationalizing with her kids

Don't see it if u r not into listening to a long pedestrian stream of consciousness ramble with a gruesome plot twist at the end. It was like bad improv

Critic Reviews (35)

The New York Times
June 27th, 2018

"Carey Mulligan, one of the most compelling stage actresses of her generation...Mulligan is the entire cast, you are unconditionally hers...Kelly is one lucky playwright to have had her as his interpreter...A dark tease of a tale that never quite rises to its own, earnest ambitions...Kelly has written a careful and intelligent script that covers many bases but lands on few of them with full impact. It begins as a fond portrait of a love affair and ends as a cold assessment of a tragedy."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
June 27th, 2018

"Sensitively directed...and features a haunted, lived-in, and often quite funny turn from its lone onstage performer. What 'Girls & Boys' lacks is a script that elevates its subject matter to compelling drama, or anything resembling art...It has societal problems at its center that it wants to talk with us about, but it has nothing new or particularly interesting to say...An ersatz dramatic event featuring ersatz characters that doesn’t so much explore its themes as cross them off a list."
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The Hollywood Reporter
June 27th, 2018

"Mulligan delivers an unforgettable performance...For anyone interested in the art of stage acting, attendance is mandatory...Much of the piece is a long, at times rambling setup to a horrifically tragic conclusion at tonal odds with much of what's preceded it. But for all the flaws in the writing...the play nonetheless easily holds our attention for an uninterrupted 105 minutes. Much of the credit goes to Mulligan."
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The Observer
June 27th, 2018

"As played to aching, bruised perfection by Carey Mulligan, the unnamed Woman takes us on a journey into darkness that we hope will turn out to be an elaborate lie—but know is not...Both writing and acting are superb, in perfect sync thanks to Turner’s clinical direction and spare but effective choreography. Kelly writes with delectable relish and gusto, not scanting on cascading profanity or visceral imagery. As for Mulligan, she’s magnificent."
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New York Daily News
June 27th, 2018

"Words couldn’t truly capture just how thrilling, shattering, and simply phenomenal Mulligan is...Be prepared to be rocked to the core by this fictional memoir that begins in rom-com territory and slowly but surely fills with dark shadows...Mulligan makes every line, gesture and movement as a wife and mother feel so real it hurts...Kelly’s script, while a bit slack and didactic, is also scalpel-sharp and detailed...Turner guides the sleek and seamless production."
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AM New York
July 4th, 2018

“As suggested by the title, ‘Girls & Boys’ explores contemporary gender relations — as well as the capacity to commit violence. It is heavy-handed in both how it expresses its viewpoints and how it graphically describes gruesome details. Nevertheless, the play (sharply directed by Lyndsey Turner) makes for frequently absorbing and provocative storytelling, built around a fully realized, committed performance by Mulligan.”
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Theatermania
June 27th, 2018

"It's Mulligan's disarming performance, at once hilarious and absolutely tragic, that makes the events that take place so shocking...'Girls & Boys' is a memory play, and Lyndsey Turner's production is awash with them...It's an extremely funny performance, but even as she hits punch lines as though she's secretly been a comic for years, there's a lot going on behind her eyes, adding even more depth to the play's darker, more surprising second half."
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BroadwayWorld
June 29th, 2018

“Mulligan, guided by Turner, gives one of those remarkably naturalistic performances that tricks you into thinking there's little or no acting involved...As in any good romantic comedy (and quite a bit...is very funny), the woman takes an immediate dislike to the man she will eventually marry...But their marriage begins going sour...and things get scary when she says she wants a divorce...No replacement for seeing Mulligan's exceptional performance live.”
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Lighting & Sound America
June 28th, 2018

"The director, Lyndsey Turner, has gotten out of Mulligan the performance of her career so far, and it comes, in part, from treating Kelly's finely wrought words with such tremendous care; this is the sort of story that graces the covers of tabloid newspapers, but as handled here, there is nothing exploitative about it...A simple coming-together of three talents has achieved something vanishingly rare on our stages: an authentic contemporary tragedy."
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New York Stage Review
June 27th, 2018

"The play is wildly different from what I expected when it began. It moved even further from expectations midway through, leading to an exhilarating finish...The crux of the play, which leaves us slack-jawed and shattered by what transpires...Turner proves a perfect director for the occasion...The magic contrived by Mulligan and Kelly makes 'Girls & Boys' an unforgettable evening of theater. Do go, if you can."
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New York Stage Review
June 27th, 2018

"Kelly’s one-woman drama performed by a stellar Carey Mulligan...Simply hearing her talk about these acts is more upsetting than watching multiple murders in 'Medea'...She’s a fascinating unnamed woman to spend 90 minutes with. Kelly packs her monologues with an impressive amount of detail and a wonderfully ever-so-pessimistic perspective...Mulligan is, from start to finish, completely captivating."
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Theater News Online
June 29th, 2018

“Dazzled! Stunned! Devastated! Bewitched! Ravished! Haunted! Mesmerized! Gutted! Wrenched! Heartbroken! Gobsmacked!...All those exclamatory ejaculations apply in the case of Kelly’s seductive ensnarement of a play...The work here is elegant, harrowing and flawless...Here’s the hard bit, though. I didn’t believe much of Kelly’s script...This journey into hell is being narrated by a character not much loved by the author...'Girls & Boys' pulled me violently in different directions."
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CurtainUp
June 28th, 2018

"Not giving his narrator a name struck me as pretentious and what amounts to a tsunami of 'F' bombs smacks of overkill. That said, 'Girls & Boys' is an interesting look at a marriage gone wrong...Mulligan certainly has the presence and storytelling skills to tackle the challenge of drawing us into the scenes from this marriage. Her British accent does require extra close attention to be fully understood but her performance is elegant and vivid and warrants that attentiveness."
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Front Row Center
June 28th, 2018

"Starring, in a triumphant solo performance, the radiant Carey Mulligan...As humans, our humanity towards one another, our perpetuation towards violence, our existence on this planet, are all explored in Mr. Kelly’s extraordinary script. You will laugh and you will gasp and you will sit in shock. That kind of journey can only come from great writing, acting and directing."
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Stage Buddy
June 28th, 2018

"There wasn’t a moment in her performance that Mulligan lost focus or intensity, whether it was detailing the evolution of her relationship to her husband or the scenes woven throughout this extended monologue...Mulligan has serious comedic timing and abilities. She is hilarious; it feels as if she is conversing with you...'Girls & Boys' brings a difficult subject to light, one that is supported by reality and facts. It is a necessary conversation."
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C
June 27th, 2018

"From the moment she begins talking, Mulligan's character impresses us with her intelligence, her forthrightness (expressed sometimes in rather vulgar language) and her acute self-awareness, all traits that will continue to be necessary over the next 100 minutes as she slowly and rather deliberately reveals how her life changes over the next few years."
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The Wrap
June 27th, 2018

"What the woman has to say in her blue-box monologues isn’t very scintillating or clever...'Girls & Boys' is more absorbing in retrospect, after we’ve learned for sure whether the kids are real or if they ever existed. It’s a good thing that Kelly is a man, because 'Girls & Boys' is one of the most anti-male plays out there. Kelly, to his credit, makes a good argument."
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Stage Left
July 17th, 2018

“Mulligan helms the stage commandingly through the bloated hour and 45 minute run time of this play...But ultimately her performance and Turner’s smart direction are not enough to overcome Kelly’s plodding script and labored storytelling device, both of which make a dramatically muddled and unsatisfying impact...I wish Ms. Mulligan was given more to do, and a better fashioned story to tell...Skip it or listen to the audiobook instead.”
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Daily Beast
June 27th, 2018

“Kelly’s script is witty as well as dark, with lovely little moments...Mulligan’s performance is extraordinary, and the monologue is beautifully written but flawed...With no deeper insight into why the husband did what he did, we are left in a slightly blank narrative ocean...The play’s biggest flaw is that we don’t know the truth, and the point of the play isn’t to examine whether the woman is telling the truth. But the truth she tells us still feels incomplete, even if it is the truth.”
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Financial Times (UK)
June 29th, 2018

“The material becomes repetitive. But a gritty performance from Carey Mulligan, rich in self-deprecating charm, along with a script full of sharply observed detail about the way we live now, makes the first hour or so of 'Girls & Boys' into a cheerfully jaundiced portrait of modern romance under Lyndsey Turner’s mostly well-paced direction. However, the play then lurches towards a horrific denouement that, while entirely believable, seems too abrupt and under-prepared."
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T
July 9th, 2018

“Mulligan is brilliant as a wife and mother telling the gripping story of her family in Kelly’s engrossing one-woman show...Kelly and Turner expertly pace the Royal Theatre production, carefully revealing key bits of plot before a critical moment occurs about two-thirds of the way through, setting up the shocking finale...Mulligan is extraordinary as the woman...High-quality, powerful theater...Her story is likely to stay in your mind and heart for a long, long time.”
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W
July 1st, 2018

"In Kelly's eyes, women build things and men tear them (violently) down. This is a simplistic notion, of course, and it's disappointing. In any other actor's hands, it might be reason enough to stay away. But the magnificent Carey Mulligan uses all her gifts to charm us, holding the stage herself for over 100 intermissionless minutes, as she plays a character known only as Woman. She's a natural raconteur...A clunky political speech that goes on too long."
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More Than The Play Blog
July 8th, 2018

"Mulligan takes the audience on the journey of this character from discovery to happiness, uncertainty to risk, and despair to recovery. Her transitions are flawless...Scenic design, costume design, lighting design, and video design all merge to create an effective environment that deeply absorbs the audience into the storytelling and heightens the emotional impact...A unique piece of theatre. It is skillfully written, directed, and produced.”
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Vogue
June 28th, 2018

“The assumption that there is hidden unspeakable violence in the world, provides the pivot for the play...A play that begins in one register takes a very different tack and ends up in a place so shattering that it is difficult to witness...I found that pivot somewhat disorienting, and not just because it shifts the play so dramatically, but because it seems to come from nowhere...But no matter if you buy into the twist, there is no denying the powerfully persuasive performance by Mulligan.”
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Gotham Playgoer
June 20th, 2018

“On the basis of her riveting performance in this exhilarating but harrowing solo piece, I can understand why Mulligan is regarded as one of the finest actors of her generation...She does not strike a false note as she tells a tale that slides down a slippery path from amusing anecdote to tragedy...The level of the writing is high except for a brief turn to the didactic near the end...A judicious trim would have improved the play. Be forewarned that the outcome is devastating."
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The New York Times
February 22nd, 2018
For a previous production

"Mulligan’s unnamed character is dryly funny on any number of topics...Kelly dresses up his narrative in ways that detract from its power, like some overzealous puppeteer...If the play overreaches for effect, there’s no trace of the sensational in Mulligan’s performance, which is accompanied by a playfulness and quick-wittedness that bypass the gathering thesis-mongering of the final passages."
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London Theatre
February 16th, 2018
For a previous production

"This deeply unsettling yet spellbinding new play. It is narrated entirely by the mother, played with ferocious concentration and harrowing anguish and intensity by Carey Mulligan...Though the destination may be sign-posted long before we get there, the journey is nevertheless both gruelling and gripping...Mulligan's control of this narrative arc is astonishing...It's not a comfortable play to watch - yet it’s impossible to look away. It is one of the acting achievements of the year so far."
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The Guardian (UK)
February 15th, 2018
For a previous production

"Mulligan is a joy to watch as she brings her expressive powers to bear in Kelly’s flawed but compelling one-hander...Mulligan is brilliant at engaging with the audience and charting the gradations of the relationship with the husband...Here you have only the woman’s word for it...This doesn’t gainsay the immense subtlety of Mulligan’s performance or the clarity of Turner’s direction...It’s a gut-wrenching piece, but...I’d suggest you need to present both sides of the story."
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The Telegraph (UK)
February 15th, 2018
For a previous production

"If anyone was in any doubt that Mulligan, 32, is a phenomenal talent, here’s the proof in triplicate...She proves a born storyteller, getting us to hang on every word; she displays spot-on comic timing too...Part of the power of the evening lies in guessing where we’re going to end up...The Royal Court is usually at its best when it addresses the subject of violence and here, thanks above all to Mulligan’s tour de force, its main-house offering strikes annihilatingly home."
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What's On Stage (UK)
February 15th, 2018
For a previous production

"Mulligan is warm and engaging, confident and charming, and the tale she tells is full of humour...Here, something unthinkably terrible happens to change the tone and tenor of Mulligan's monologue. It is hard to write about because the shock is carefully and realistically contrived and withheld for a very long time...The play is deliberately cold-hearted, and I sometimes resisted its determination to be so flatly factual. But the subtlety of Mulligan's performance pulled me along."
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The London Evening Standard
February 16th, 2018
For a previous production

"Kelly is particularly concerned with male violence and the social mechanisms that exist to muffle it...A crafty 90-minute piece, which sometimes sounds like a lecture. Yet if occasionally it feels manipulative, it’s also packed with memorable lines...While the production is elegant, there’s a note of controlled fierceness throughout. What’s most arresting, though, is Mulligan’s gift for making a throwaway line devastating...It’s the kind of performance that makes the audience hold its breath."
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Independent.IE
February 16th, 2018
For a previous production

"A piece that takes us on an extraordinary journey from clubby laughter to the bleak arctic wastes that lie on the other side of terrible tragedy. The show is jolly, then it punches you in the gut and it sends out a feminist message of shocking power. Mulligan’s performance retains a moving openness through all these difficult changes of tone...A remarkable return for Mulligan."
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The Times (UK)
February 16th, 2018
For a previous production

"Mighty though Mulligan is, 'Girls & Boys' is an oddly structured and not entirely convincing evening. Its first 75 minutes are rambling and only really serve as a long set-up...The children never take on a life of their own. Nor, really, does the unseen husband whose business gets into trouble just as Mulligan’s takes off. Which means that Kelly zigs and zags too much...Serious subject, seriously good acting, but far too much time spent wondering: 'Why are we being told all this?'"
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The Stage (UK)
February 15th, 2018
For a previous production

"The brutal, blindsiding climax...when it hits, seemingly coming out of nowhere, it’s a queasy experience. It’s difficult to say though, whether the slow, almost banal build up makes this ending worth it...In its every detail, Lyndsey Turner’s production is monotone and monochrome...Mulligan’s performance is calculatedly one-note...The insistence on quiet and stillness becomes disturbing, it isolates the incredibly detailed brutality of the play’s ending. It pays off, just."
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Time Out London
February 15th, 2018
For a previous production

"When it's not being hilarious, this performance can feel like a hundred wildly persuasive opinion pieces mashed together and formed into an uncannily coherent whole...Turner’s production is a knock-out...It transitions, fast...with a kind of unstoppable power that mirrors Kelly’s uncompromising text, and Mulligan’s equally uncompromising delivery...Mulligan’s unshaking, still commitment to her performance feels like a kind of activism."
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