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Gorey: The Secret Lives of Edward Gorey

From 19 critic and 124 member reviews
Members say: Clever, Great acting, Absorbing, Quirky, Intelligent

About the show

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. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

"A most pleasant evening...Travis Russ, writer and director, charmingly presents an interpretive drama about the prolific and darkly whimsical genius illustrator through three actors...The bittersweet of Gore’s loneliness lingers long after the performance. Kudos to actors Andrew Dawson, Phil Gillen and Aidan Sank for making the multi-dimensional and enigmatic genius so congruent, so real." Full Review

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Enchanting, Funny, Resonant, Relevant, Great acting

See it if You want to see good theatre. Great acting, writing, and directing. Whether a layman or theatre connoisseur, this is a great show to watch

Don't see it if You're don't like stories, but This one is good for any crowd.

Also Edward Gorey is an interesting topic to exclusively explore. His life ... Read more Read less

Relevant, Masterful, Entertaining, Delightful, Absorbing

See it if You like the subject matter and your curiosity is open

Don't see it if You are not opened minded

Riveting, Excellent acting and directing, Moving, Clever, Absorbing

See it if you think theatre can be both magical and moving. Intelligent direction and acting. "Gorey" could very well be the sleeper of the season!

Don't see it if you do not know anything about Edward Gorey.

Intelligent, Hilarious, Great writing, Great staging, Great acting

See it if Like a refreshingly intelligent play filled with heart

Don't see it if You like lots of special effects and action

Great writing, Great staging, Great acting, Delightful, Absorbing

See it if You enjoy delightfully creative storytelling featuring projections, great music, and tightly knit ensemble work.

Don't see it if You don't enjoy delightfully creative storytelling featuring projections, great music, and tightly knit ensemble work.

Intelligent, Great writing, Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you like shows that are well-acted, intelligent and interesting. It was a superb, tight production with a talented cast. Great sets/staging.

Don't see it if you don't like theater.

Intelligent, Great staging, Great acting, Delightful, Clever

See it if you love deep personal insights so specific that they are universal. Based on his notebooks, letters etc and imagination 3 men create Gorey

Don't see it if you want singing, dancing or guffaws. This is an intimate show in every sense of the word. Small theater, small cast, deeply personal.

Charming, Delightful, Clever, Absorbing, Ambitious

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.

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

See it if love a great show and are ready to really enjoy a show up close. It was exquisite. I support the theater and I love these small venues.

Don't see it if you don't want to try something new.

Intelligent, Great writing, Great acting, Enchanting, Absorbing

See it if U want to be moved by a gentle, lovely imaginative look into the mind of an artistic genius. Superb & seamless acting in a mesmerizing show.

Don't see it if If a play which celebrates an artistic mind, w/out any wild scenes, but w/subtle emotions, actions & humour leaves you cold (or a gay bent).

Great character study, Exquisite, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you are a creative and curious person

Don't see it if you think Sylvester Stallone is the best choice for chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts

Original, Fluffy, Enchanting, Clever, Absorbing

See it if You prefer alternative narrative styles.

Don't see it if You want to have a classical conflict and resolution.

Captivating, Intelligent, Delightful, Clever

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.

Intelligent, Quirky, Artistic, Enchanting, Absorbing

See it if You love bio shows of peculiar people, such as Gorey, portrayed by their younger and older selves with lots of time jumps.

Don't see it if You're not interested in art, illustration, writing or know absolutely nothing about Gorey.

Intelligent, Great acting, Clever

See it if You enjoy an informative and interesting Biographical Show with wonderful acting...very Inventive!

Don't see it if You don't enjoy an inventive smart Show!

Great acting, Funny, Entertaining, Clever

See it if You like clever dialog and inventive writing.

Don't see it if You don't like biographies.

Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Insightful, Creative, Inspiring

See it if you're an artistic-type, you want to be inspired, and you enjoy the work of Edward Gorey. And you're kind of a "loner."

Don't see it if You want a splashy theater extravaganza OR you cannot stand when they use projections at all in theater.

Also If you enjoyed Grey Gardens (and who didn't enjoy Grey Gardens), I'm s... Read more Read less

Great acting, Absorbing, Great staging

See it if you are interesting to know about a creative genius.Marvelously portrayed by a very talented actors.

Don't see it if You do not like theater.

Delightful, Entertaining, Enchanting, Clever, Absorbing

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

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

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.

Intelligent, Quirky, Original

See it if You are a fan of the great illustrator & eccentric; love explorations of life through found documents; love writers.

Don't see it if You are unnerved by penguins (or illustrations of them.)

Great acting, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Funny, Quirky

See it if you wonder if the man behind the whimsical images and lines was as interesting as his work (hint: he was.) If you appreciate great writing.

Don't see it if you don't care about Edward Gorey and only like linear storytelling.

Intricate, Great staging, Great acting, Enchanting, Clever

See it if you like inventive plays that make you think. It's a gem of a show- it starts simply but is surprisingly complex in text and staging.

Don't see it if don't like stories that aren't linear.

Great acting, Clever, Entertaining, Enchanting, Absorbing

See it if You like well acted shows with a well written and directed script.

Don't see it if You don't like non linear story lines.

Resonant, Quirky, Great acting, Funny, Absorbing

See it if You want to hear and see more about the writer/artist. It has moments of humor and silliness as well as melancholy and sad nostalgia.

Don't see it if You have no idea who Gorey was. You need to know at least a little of his work to appreciate this show.

Cast & Creatives (11)