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Gorey: The Secret Lives of Edward Gorey

Members say: Clever, Great acting, Absorbing, Quirky, Intelligent
83
Critics
80
18 reviews
Members
83
121 reviews
 

Life Jacket Theatre Company presents an encore run of this play about author/illustrator Edward Gorey that fuses fact and fiction, and features projections and inventive storytelling.... Read more

This bio-show centers on the enigmatic and endearing artist at different stages of his life over a 50-year period. The play sheds light on his dark imagination, personal demons, and heartbreaking loneliness. The result is a collection of fragmented memories that are lyrical, revealing, and often funny, and help audiences understand the man behind the literary myth.

 


Reviews (139)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
80
Avg Score

80
Time Out New York

"Russ’s lovingly crafted play is less concerned with the nitty-gritty of Gorey’s publishing career...and more with his breezy evasions and elliptical musings on an eccentric, solitary life...The mood flits gently from whimsical to melancholy and dryly bemused...For the proud owner of the anthology 'Amphigorey' and its sequels, 'Gorey' (handsomely produced by Life Jacket Theatre Company) is a visit to an old friend who always amuses and sometimes surprises." Full Review

80
The New York Times

"The offbeat illustrator proves a rich subject for a play, and writer-director Travis Russ’s 'Gorey,' does his archly kooky world justice...Mr. Russ’s decisive idea is to have three actors portray him at various stages of his life...The three constantly interact with one another, a lovely way to suggest Gorey’s inner questioning and the evolution of his sensibility through the decades." Full Review

80
Lighting & Sound America

"An odd, but beguiling, entertainment...Russ, taking an approach that might have pleased his subject, has assembled a series of brief, teasing scenes, into a collage-like portrait...All three actors are at home in their roles, fully convincing us that they represent one personality at different stages of his life...'Gorey' succeeds in bringing the man to life, highlighting his innate strangeness and arguing effectively that it may have been inseparable from a persistent loneliness." Full Review

75
The Huffington Post

"Throughout its 75 minutes at The Sheen Center, it is playful...For the most part, the Gorey stand-ins—starting and finishing each other’s sentences, as directed with ease and amusement by Russ—review his often hermit-like life...Not that much stage time is given over to the odd fellow’s inspirations, executions and grim, if not Grimm, themes...The absence of more discussion feels like a significant lapse." Full Review

80
Theater Pizzazz

"Russ has combed through journals, interviews and letters creating an entertaining portrait of the creator of classic, droll, macabre books...As sympathetically played by Andrew Dawson, Aiden Sank, and Phil Gillen, all superb, the piece takes us backward and forward in time with cast often sharing the stage and interacting...When one waxes sentimental, the others look on with affection. Memories are corrected and embellished...A grand outing." Full Review

70
The Observer

"It’s an intriguing lure into the unhinged world of an erratic queer potato, not unlike a friendly invitation from Jack the Ripper to explore a squalid, unlit alley in London after midnight…With three men playing the same role, the play sometimes seems muddled and lacks focus. Still, at 75 minutes with no intermission, it’s an easy-to-take evening about an offbeat individual who could easily be called the American Lewis Carroll that is fascinating enough to make you want to learn more." Full Review

70
Front Row Center

for a previous production "Gorey is exposed as a hoarder with seven cats and no libido....The playwright’s biggest gamble is that Gorey is portrayed by three different actors simultaneously...Visually, this trifecta is effective...Intellectually, there are some missed opportunities. With a setup that’s ideal for reflection, we get only a couple tastes of what clever turns there could have been...One man’s muddle is another man’s treasure, and so the evening is full of little gems to discover.” Full Review

85
Bob's Theater Blog

for a previous production "There are insights into Gorey’s creative process and a raw look at his abiding loneliness…There are moments of humor as well as pathos in this amiable production, but little in the way of a narrative arc. The actors are all appealing. My only quibble is that the play assumes a prior knowledge of Gorey’s work and would probably be puzzling to anyone who doesn’t have that." Full Review

90
TheaterScene.net

for a previous production "Playwright Travis Russ has comprehensively and ingeniously rendered Gorey’s life and career in this affectionate concise dramatization...Mr. Russ also is the director and his staging perfectly complements his writing. The expert placement of the actors combined with the outstanding technical elements achieves a visual liveliness as well as emotional depth...Fantasy and memoir are on dazzling display." Full Review

95
Theatre is Easy

for a previous production “Andrew Dawson, Phil Gillen, and Aiden Sank are not only amazing performers on their own, but in these circumstances they are vital and their talents add so much to the experience...Director and writer Travis Russ deserves his own individualized ovation as well...From the three insanely talented men who perform the show to the intricately designed puppets that emerge for a scene, I was inside Gorey's world—his brain. It felt real, it looked strange, and it was brilliant." Full Review

80
Off Off Online

for a previous production "A delicious observation of a well-lived, if secret, life...Writer and director Travis Russ has crafted an engaging script, assembled a trio of charming and vibrant actors and a production team that bring to life a vision of the artist, brimming with creativity...There is a moment or two near the end where 'Gorey' falters and seems unsure where it should end...For the greater part of the evening, 'Gorey' is smart and cleverly crafted." Full Review

75
Let's Talk Off-Broadway

for a previous production "Interweaving is the essence of 'Gorey,' the dense fabric of his life composed of friends, passions, compulsions, creativity, and incidents large and small...The play needs more dramatic tension. There’s wry wit, charm, insight, gossip, illumination and mystery–but no suspense...One thing is missing: Gorey’s drawings...This is a real loss...Still, the play creates a mind expanding full world and I feel glad and lucky to have spent time in that imaginative place." Full Review

95
Manhattan With a Twist

for a previous production "This play written and directed by Travis Russ should be at the top of your must-watch list this month. Funny, direct, ugly and beautiful all intertwine to create one of the best examinations of an artist’s life that I’ve seen on stage. It’s never corny, doesn’t take itself too seriously, but there’s no denying that its subtle philosophy and bold approach will have you researching Gorey’s work once the play is done." Full Review

85
Culture Catch

for a previous production "Russ’s play, using a combination of Gorey's own words and the playwright’s reimagining, also fills in the complexities and contradictions, the yearning, loss, and humanity, contained in the space between 'strange' and 'fabulous.' All three actors are excellent separately and together, and play their 'Teds' as discrete parts of a whole, producing a touching production that is charming, warm, and at times melancholy...Gorey fans will enjoy this vision of a life and its art." Full Review

85
Theater Pizzazz

for a previous production “The three men do a fine job of seamlessly transitioning between their actor selves and their respective portrayals of Gorey. Each crafts a characterization that seems to fully lift up the essence of Gorey...The author calls the play a 'fantasy memoir,' and I could not think of a more appropriate classification...As we discover the man behind the myth, we leave the theater with more questions than we anticipated, and isn’t that always the goal?” Full Review

85
Plays to See

for a previous production "The audience is taken on a poignant, funny, sometimes dizzying journey through this fascinating, reclusive, and ultimately often tortured life. We learn all at random through the hilarious, wistful, resentful and completely absorbing performances by the three actors...Without giving away the ending, there seems to be two of them, each actually fine...Overall, this is a delicious play about a fascinating man." Full Review

80
AXS.com

for a previous production "Every one of the actors is excellent in their parts--warm and affable and immediately endearing to the audience...'Gorey' is a play that anyone who is a fan of the artist will likely enjoy. Whilst there is more emphasis on Gorey's possible homosexuality than is strictly documented, the play is well done and incorporates enough facts to make one feel as if they are spending 65 minutes with Gorey himself." Full Review

95
The Artswire Weekly

for a previous production “I am happy to say that whether this is truth or fiction, the entire production of ‘Gorey’ is wonderfully inspired itself...Each actor is quite magnificent, echoing each other every so lightly while keeping an originality all to themselves...Each moment of dialogue and movement is crisp and filled with small bits of magic and wonder...Get down to HERE Arts Center and see this beautifully rich and powerfully sincere 'fantasy memoir' of a fascinating man.” Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
83
Avg Score

90
Captivating, Clever, Delightful, Intelligent

See it if You have a passing knowledge of this man and want to know more. Clever staging--a device that uses three actors to portray Gorey--worked.

Don't see it if You know nothing about Gorey--this doesn't give enough basic information to make it worth your while.

82
Absorbing, Quirky, Intimate, Great character study

See it if you are interested in Gorey and experiencing the clever way his life is revealed in this production.

Don't see it if you prefer stories and action or if you just don't find Gorey interesting

88
Enchanting, Intelligent, Masterful

See it if you want to see a thoroughly imagined portrait of a fascinating man done with great skill and heart.

Don't see it if you want larger issues dealt with. This is one man's life.

84
Funny, Clever, Great acting, Quirky, Entertaining

See it if you like Edward Gorey's work, are interested in a show about an eccentric artist/author's life, are interested in the life of a gay man

Don't see it if you don't like biopics or intimate venues. It's a charming show, well acted by 3 actors, in a nice, small theater.

Also I wasn't familiar with Gorey's work before seeing it and I still enjoy... Read more Read less

70
Interesting

See it if Three actors playing the same person is well done. Some interesting nuggets presented. Come well rested and ready to pay close attention.

Don't see it if you want a play with action. It can get a little tedious at times.

75
Ambitious, Disappointing, Entertaining, Upbeat, Friendly

See it if You're familiar with Gorey's work & comfortable with a light, friendly & well done if uncritical portrait.

Don't see it if You're expecting an in-depth portrait, secret lives or any sort of dramatic bite or great insight.

Also The Secret Lives of Edward Gorey is a pleasant, almost bouncy evening,... Read more Read less

65
Overrated, Amusing, Shallow

See it if you want to see Gorey talking to himself, while revealing very little about his life, art, or process.

Don't see it if you're looking for a deep exploration of an interesting man.

85
Delightful, Great acting, Intelligent, Quirky, Entertaining

See it if You want to see a portrait of an artist told in an artistic manner. You like whimsical plays. You like biographical plays.

Don't see it if You want a traditional biography play told in chronological order. You prefer more traditional staging & presentation.

70
Entertaining, Pleasant, Simple, Sweet

See it if you're familiar with Gorey and want to see an intimate take on what he was like as just another human being.

Don't see it if if want to learn a lot about Gorey or see something really exceptional in terms of theatre.

Also Plays like this are a little tough to critique. They don't offend you ... Read more Read less

79
Delightful, Great acting, Quirky, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if You are a fan of Gorey or not. You want to laugh. You want to hear the life and times of Gorey. You want to be entertained.

Don't see it if You don't like historical plays. You are not interested in his story. You are not a fan of Gorey.

Also I am not familiar with his story but I thought it would be an interest... Read more Read less

79
Quirky play about a quirky man., Interesting, but a bit of a jumble., Great set, lighting and projections., Staging is effective, but there's some over-acting., Absorbing throughout.

See it if You enjoy Gorey's work and want an engaging look at the man behind the eccentric drawing/writing. This is enjoyable and non-traditional.

Don't see it if You want linear storytelling, don't like stories about eccentric personalities, are offended by gay themes, never seen any of Gorey's work.

Also You don't HAVE to know about Gorey or his work, but it would be more e... Read more Read less

88
Absorbing, Clever, Exquisite, Great acting, Great staging

See it if You are interested in Edward Gorey and enjoy creative staging and impeccable acting.

Don't see it if You don't like biographical shows or plays without a lot of fireworks.

70
Absorbing, Clever, Well acted, Unfocused, Well staged

See it if you are a Gorey fan. Play requires prior knowledge (shld show a video of a G book's drawings and recite text). Quirky man gets quirky play.

Don't see it if you want deep insights. Some parts failed, like ballet and animated interaction. Still, many effective moments and humor...and the fur coat!

90
Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy eccentrics and eccentricities; artists from Balanchine to Leslie Gore. You needn't know Gorey going in; you won't want to leave.

Don't see it if you like order in your life, need all your things put away, and never blamed anything on the Bossa Nova.

Also You don't need to know Edward Gorey when you enter the theater, but yo... Read more Read less

90
Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you want the best 3 man/1 man show playing.Have I intrigued you? If you know anything about Edward Gorey you will love this producti

Don't see it if Edward Gorey does not interest you.

75
Creative, Clever, Great staging, Great use of multi-media

See it if you are curious and don't know anything about Gorey. I walked away with a sense of who he was and wishing I knew about him.

Don't see it if you don't like the format of story telling even though this one is done in a unique way

Also I enjoyed hearing about this colorful character named Gorey. The appro... Read more Read less

85
Great acting, Great staging, Interesting, well directed, insightful

See it if you are interested in the works of Edward Gorey and get insights into his life at various stages. Performed by 3 actors, all very good.

Don't see it if you no interest in this complicated, eccentric artist of the macabre.

80
Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if you would like to learn more about the life of Gorey even if you aren't quite sure who he was. The sets and story are imaginative.

Don't see it if you don't like non-linear plots or you knew who Gorey was and didn't like his writing. Seriously, this is a great introduction to the man.

95
Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Delightful, Charming

See it if you're a fan of Gorey, or of short, imaginative shows. You want to see a novel and extremely well-executed take on a bio-play.

Don't see it if this is worth seeing regardless, but you may like it more if you have a little familiarity with Gorey going in.

86
Absorbing, Great acting, Fascinating, Esoteric

See it if you want to learn more about Gorey, as well as about New York in the 70's & 80's, and you're up for a bit of a mystery.

Don't see it if you have no interest in Gorey - you should do some homework first for context. Terrific perfomances, but the message is a little muddy.

70
Funny, Great acting, Slow

See it if 3 Actor cast and set were the best parts. Bio sketch of Gorey at different ages. Difficult to make the presentational style flow smoothly.

Don't see it if If you have no interest in learning about Gorey or dislike a lot of narration and direct address. Could have been better AND far worse.

77
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great staging, Amazing projections

See it if You know Edward Gorey, or like 3 generation stories like fun home, or like beautiful projections

Don't see it if You want an end message, this is just an entertaining show with no lasting moral or such

80
Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Intriguing

See it if you like smaller shows. You like shows that make you ponder about life in various stages. Unique in that the timelines cross.

Don't see it if Can be confusing if you're not paying attention closely.

82
Delightful, Great acting, Slow, Intimate, Whimsical

See it if you want a gentle celebration of art, weirdness, Edward Gorey, and understanding yourself.

Don't see it if you'd like to follow a plot; the play is told in vignettes including puppetry where time is very fluid.

75
Creative, Bittersweet, Best for gorey fans

See it if you accept the enigma of Gorey's creations & can deal with a largely invented story of his reclusive, repressed life; often sad & poignant

Don't see it if you mostly want to see a performance of his eccentric stories and characters; this play barely touches that..