New York | 1h 45m | Already closed

Girls & Boys

From 35 critic and 136 member reviews
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. More…

An unexpected meeting at an airport leads to an intense, passionate, head-over-heels relationship. Before long they begin to settle down, buy a house, juggle careers, have kids – theirs is an ordinary family. But then their world starts to unravel and things take a disturbing turn.

1h 45m | Already closed | Minetta Lane Theatre (West Village)

Front Row Center

"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." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"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." Full Review

New York Daily News

"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." Full Review

The Observer

"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

This Week in New York Blog

“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.” Full Review

More Than The Play Blog

"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.” Full Review

Stage Buddy

"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." Full Review


“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 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.” Full Review


"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." Full Review

New York Stage Review

"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." Full Review

Daily Beast

“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.” Full Review

New York Stage Review

"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." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"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." Full Review


“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.” Full Review

The New York Times

"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." Full Review

AM New York

“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.” Full Review

Theater News Online

“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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

The Wrap

"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." Full Review

Financial Times (UK)

“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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

New York Magazine / Vulture

"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." Full Review

Stage Left

“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.” Full Review

Gotham Playgoer

“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." Full Review

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Must see, Thought-provoking

See it if You love a brilliant story well told by a consummate actress.

Don't see it if Everyone should see this play.

Wow! amazing show all around!!!

See it if Brilliant writing, Carey Mulligan was absolutely amazing, & wonderful set design. One of the best pieces of theater that I have ever seen!

Don't see it if no criticism

Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Intelligent, Must see

See it if you want to be wowed by a great actress taking over a stage for 90 minutes in a profoundly moving and upsetting play.

Don't see it if you need to see a comedy - this is not it and I totally get needing a comedic boost.

Also The staging and lighting were masterful. I have already told people to... Read more Read less

Enchanting, Great acting, Must see, Masterful, Riveting

See it if you want to witness a master class in storytelling, from the playwright to performer to designers.

Don't see it if stories about violence may trigger you, you're not into solo shows.

Also I had no opinion about Carey Mulligan before seeing this. She is a rev... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Edgy, Intense, Entertaining, Great acting

See it if You like Carrie Mulligan. If you like singular story telling. You like women in strong roles.

Don't see it if Need a happy show.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Masterful, Must see

See it if you love theater and are starved for brilliant performances. This is a must see. even though you will miss some words it does not matter

Don't see it if you cannot handle tough subjects. you are not engaged by brilliant acting, you need dazzle in "stuff" instead of the performance

Ambitious, Great acting, Masterful, Profound, Must see

See it if you are a fan of Carey Mulligan. If you like tour de force performances by actors at the top of their game. She is fantastic.

Don't see it if you don't like one person shows or are triggered by disturbing material.

Great acting, Riveting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Masterful

See it if You want to see great acting from the sublime Carey Mulligan. A stunning performance in a role that is challenging in its complexity.

Don't see it if You don't like one person shows. Or disturbing material.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Profound

See it if you like one-woman shows of substance.

Don't see it if you are put-off by intense, real-life issues.

Also Amazing. I left with my mouth open.

Thought-provoking, Great acting, Absorbing, Edgy, Excruciating

See it if If you like a show with lots of meaning and purpose, well acted.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy an incredible monologue that makes you think

Also Phenomenal actress. Mesmerizing and well focused. I have seen her in v... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Riveting, Intense, Great writing

See it if You want to see a spellbinding one person show. A real roller coaster of emotions. Truly amazing performance!

Don't see it if You’re not ready for a hard punch in the gut. This one is going to stay with you for a while.

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Dizzying, Moving

See it if You want to watch a masterful actor hold the stage and tell a shocking story. It feels like there are dozens of people on stage.

Don't see it if You can't handle brutal surprises.

Ambitious, Intelligent, Profound, Great acting, Great writing

See it if you're looking for something intense/powerful; if you've ever been in a relationship

Don't see it if you're looking for something light and casual

Great acting, Resonant, Relevant, Intense, Edgy

See it if you want to see amazing acting by Carey Mulligan. Looking for a darker show. It starts off nice but turns into a much darker show later

Don't see it if If you aren't able to handle darker material especially concerning young children.

Absorbing, Funny, Edgy, Great acting, Riveting

See it if You like or are interested in one-person plays, You want to see Carey Mulligan knock it out of the park.

Don't see it if You don't like one-person plays. You want to see something upbeat.

Absorbing, Great writing, Great acting, Must see, Resonant

See it if You want a remarkable performance in a surprising work. Don’t read about it. The story is one that should unfold without preconceptions.

Don't see it if You don’t like one-person shows, need lots of visual action, are easily offended by profanity and sexual situations, or need consistent tone

Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Riveting

See it if you'd like to see a stellar solo performance by Carey Mulligan in this memory play of a harrowing story.

Don't see it if you don't like solo performance or stories with a very unhappy ending.

Also There are many funny moments when Mulligan begins to tell her story. H... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Masterful, Profound

See it if great one-woman performance, wonderful writing, provocative story.

Don't see it if you don't have a long attention span.

Also Carey Mulligan is a brilliant actress who commands the stage alone for... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Great writing, Riveting

See it if You appreciate great writing, with a great actor, telling an intense story.

Don't see it if If you don't like on person shows,

Absorbing, Great acting, Riveting, Relevant, Intense

See it if solo show where the character describes her life; funny moments in beginning & then turns very dark - intense and brutal; great acting & set

Don't see it if intense description of very violent act; a bit didactic at the end with some facts and figures being given

Also I was fascinated by the chalky white set (which alternates with monolo... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Masterful, Riveting

See it if You like being immersed in the simple act of story telling and love an emotional rollercoaster

Don't see it if You aren’t a fan of one man shows or prefer something entirely light hearted. Much of the show is comedic until it takes a sharp turn

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Intense, Relevant

See it if you appreciate an engaging raconteur. This is the memoir of one woman who recounts the intense passions and tragedies of her life.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy minimalist sets or dialogue-driven plays. You dislike heavy subject matter and graphic descriptions of violence.

Great acting, Masterful, Resonant

See it if you want to see one of the greatest actresses in the theater - Carey Mulligan. A courageous performance that stunned the audience.

Don't see it if you don't like truly disturbing plays. The writing was contrived at times. Performance much better than the play.

Stunning, Heartbreaking, Captivating

See it if A loving but flawed story about family that climaxes to an unforgettable finale. Carey is downright stunning

Don't see it if One-person show that heavily relies on your imagination and your capability to accept inconvenient facts about men

Also There was a moment where I forgot to breathe for a second. Danny and L... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Ambitious, Edgy, Great acting, Great writing

See it if expertly crafted play and imaginative stage design with a top-notch actress

Don't see it if harrowing nature of storyline cannot be minimized; authentic UK accent may be foreign to some

Cast & Creatives (9)