Happy Talk NYC Reviews and Tickets

73%
(132 Reviews)
Positive
67%
Mixed
26%
Negative
7%
Members say
Great acting, Disappointing, Funny, Entertaining, Thought-provoking

About the Show

Susan Sarandon stars in Jesse Eisenberg’s funny and devastating play for The New Group, which reveals the absurd lengths people go to save themselves in the name of saving others.


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Member Reviews (132)

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689 Reviews | 152 Followers
69
Quirky, Indulgent, Great acting, Disappointing, Confusing

See it if you're a fan of Sarandon, Ireland or Eisenberg, follow the New Group, enjoy easy laughs & exaggerated characters, like domestic drams

Don't see it if you expect a powerful evening of theater or meaningful plot, like to discern writer's intentions, don't enjoy sudden character changes

MJK
677 Reviews | 188 Followers
60
Convoluted, Cliched, Mildly entertaining, Unconvincing, Disappointing

See it if you want to see Sarandon (mostly miscast) and Ireland (wonderful, quirky & moving, as always) as a would-be diva & her subjugated devotee.

Don't see it if u expect more than a heavy-handed, clichéd, sitcom-style "intrigue" that starts strong, drags on too long & ends darkly & abruptly.

687 Reviews | 114 Followers
67
Well acted, Cliched, Slow, Thought-provoking, Disappointing

See it if Eisenberg's amusing/creepy dramedy often hit its mark but loses focus a great deal Well played by leads despite Sarandon's low-key approach

Don't see it if Elliot's restrained direction hurts an already tepid story while Eisenberg's many plot lines are left problematic Questionable ending mars

617 Reviews | 274 Followers
64
Fact that talk-back explaining play w jesse eisenberg the playwright was better than the play tells you a lot

See it if shows how mother's obsession w acting coincides w self-absorption, misanthropy, losing touch w reality, fine comedic M Ireland as caregiver

Don't see it if watered-down "Sunset Boulevard"/broad flabby comedy w/o much bite until unexpected ending; S Sarandon brings little depth 2 lead

602 Reviews | 225 Followers
60
Unbelievable, Phony, Excruciating, Disappointing, Cliched

See it if You love seeing shows by celebrities, starring celebrities.

Don't see it if You hate phony, stereotypical characters in situations that are not believable. Good actors (not including an adequate Sarandon) are wasted.

480 Reviews | 715 Followers
76
Uneven, Predictable, Great characters, Entertaining

See it if you like shows with interesting, well-drawn characters, or you’re looking for something relatively quick and easy to watch.

Don't see it if you prefer something very light or very heavy. This rests somewhere in between. Though there are interesting characters, one is unnecessary. Read more

533 Reviews | 488 Followers
80
Thought-provoking, Relevant, Resonant, Great writing, Great acting

See it if you want to see another brilliant performance from Marin Ireland in a play that disarms you with comedy and then goes in for the kill.

Don't see it if watching harmless delusional rich white people (who of course end up being not so harmless) would be upsetting.

470 Reviews | 112 Followers
92
Entertaining, Great staging, Great acting

See it if You're a huge fan of Susan Sarandon; want to see her in a very intimate theater. Her "wave" at the end is haunting. Show flies by.

Don't see it if You don't like modern dramas; if you would be upset to see the rage that happens at the very end (and the mess that's made).

Critic Reviews (38)

The New York Times
May 16th, 2019

"Ms. Sarandon might not be ideally cast in the role of the flamboyantly dotty Lorraine...As embodied by Ms. Sarandon in this wobbly New Group production — directed by Scott Elliott and also starring the invaluable Marin Ireland — Lorraine always seems a bit abstracted, as if she had other, darker things on her mind than the glories of musical comedy. So, to put it mildly, does 'Happy Talk.'...Mr. Eisenberg’s play and Mr. Elliott’s direction never seem to settle on a cohesive tone."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
May 16th, 2019

"The only good thing to be said about Jesse Eisenberg’s dismal new play is that it’s a real value: It’s two bad plays for the price of one...There’s something superior and even cruel about the play’s sense of humor, which mostly derives from Lorraine’s unabated awfulness...The comedy of 'Happy Talk' is so sour and the drama so ham-fisted and misdirected that I found myself weirdly grateful for Oreskes’s Bill, a character who spends the play grimacing in an armchair."
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The Hollywood Reporter
May 16th, 2019

"Alternately amusing and discomfiting...'Happy Talk' proves genuinely enjoyable in its first half, with Sarandon clearly having a blast as the self-centered diva...It's when the play turns darker that it becomes increasingly tiresome and unconvincing...Though Scott Elliott's staging fails to provide stylistic cohesion to a play in need of further development, the evening nonetheless has its pleasures, thanks in large part to the terrific performances."
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AM New York
May 16th, 2019

"At the very least, 'Happy Talk,' a wobbly living room drama by Jesse Eisenberg, ought to make theatergoers eager to revisit the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical 'South Pacific'...Eisenberg’s plays function best as detailed portraits of complex and often difficult people. Many of the narrative elements of 'Happy Talk' are clumsy, creepy and heavy-handed. Nevertheless, 'Happy Talk' is often absorbing."
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Theatermania
May 16th, 2019

"If only we had reason to care about these relationships. Eisenberg writes the majority of his play like a drawing-room comedy and uses that as leave to design Lorraine as the perpetual punchline to a single joke...Exposing an unhealthy trope that you yourself are exploiting for laughs does not earn profundity points...Shock is a valuable dramatic tool, but not independent from genuine insight and a fundamental shift in perspective."
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Lighting & Sound America
May 17th, 2019

“The pièce de résistance of the play's credibility problems is the plot...By the time ‘Happy Talk’ completes the transition from acid comedy to psychological thriller, it may very well be too late...I suppose you can view 'Happy Talk' as a parable of the dangers of narcissism...But the playwright's way of pinning down his characters, as if in a butterfly collection, makes his play something of an ordeal...Ultimately, ‘Happy Talk’ is undone by its dismissive attitude toward its characters.”
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New York Stage Review
May 16th, 2019

"Although the play suffers from a hasty, not entirely convincing conclusion, the characters are vividly composed, and director Scott Elliott provides a smoothly paced production...Perhaps Sarandon was experiencing an off night at a recent preview, but her portrait of a possibly crazy lady was not entirely convincing to me."
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New York Stage Review
May 16th, 2019

"Under Scott Elliott's nimble direction, Sarandon and Ireland do superb, nuanced work traversing the different roles and responsibilities suggested in Lorraine and Ljuba’s friendly, fraught relationship...Eisenberg crafts characters and dialogue that will prove instantly accessible, and very funny, both to those intimately acquainted with the milieu he’s sending up and the presumable minority of audience members who aren’t."
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