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Happy Talk

From 131 member  reviews
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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Lorraine (Susan Sarandon) is a saint of the suburbs. On top of trying to save her dying mother, miserable husband and estranged daughter, she’s starring as Bloody Mary in the Jewish Community Center production of South Pacific. When her mother’s home aide, Serbian immigrant Ljuba (Marin Ireland), asks for help finding a husband, Lorraine takes on her most challenging role to date: matchmaker.


Member Reviews (131)

MEMBERS SAY:

Great acting, Disappointing, Funny, Entertaining, Thought-provoking
73
Avg Score

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.

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.

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

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

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

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.

Also It feels like two stories merged together. The scene with the daughter... Read more Read less

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.

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).

84
Thought-provoking, Great writing, Relevant, Quirky, Great acting

See it if You appreciate the intelligent writing of Jesse Eisenberg in a play about a family dealing with illness, and an immigrant caretaker.

Don't see it if You do not like quirky humor, immigration issues, dysfunctional suburban families, disrespectful children, and surprises.

Also Jesse’s play has been getting a lot of mixed reviews. I thought it was... Read more Read less

67
Uneven, Disappointing, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if you are a fan of Marin Ireland or Susan Sarandon. Neither is ideally cast, but it is still a pleasure to see them onstage.

Don't see it if you like plays that stay within the borders of a genre. This one drastically and, somewhat unconvincingly, switches gears near the end.

77
Excellent acting, Great dialogue, Intriguing characters, Interesting musical references

See it if Narcissistic character disordered actress is bad at being: daughter, wife, mother, and friend to illegal immigrant caregiver she employs.

Don't see it if You are OK with a quirky plot with funny lines that starts slow, then speeds to a destructive conclusion for a terribly broken situation.

80
Thought-provoking, Great acting, Absorbing, Entertaining

See it if you're a fan of Sarandon or Ireland—the acting is great, you like funny and entertaining shows with some depth. Charming, underrated.

Don't see it if you're expecting a Pulitzer-worthy play—it's not that, but it is a good night at the theater, you don't like endings that feel abrupt

84
Thought-provoking, Great staging, Great writing, Great acting, Sarandon and ireland are terrific

See it if you like good acting and a well written script.It makes you think about issues in the news--immigration, an aging population.Very funny.

Don't see it if you don't like strong female characters.This play has a lot to say, but does it without preaching or condescending. Go see it!

66
Quirky, Cliched, Insipid, Great acting, Disappointing

See it if Intermittently entertaining. Sarandon was, of course, great. And seeing her up close was special. The rest of the cast was also good.

Don't see it if Not one of Eisenberg’s best. There really isn’t a whole play there. I didn’t get the point. This cast deserved better.

73
Slow, Great acting, Intelligent, Entertaining

See it if you want to see Susan Sarandon

Don't see it if you object to unlikable characters.

81
Busy, Entertaining, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if woman who is variously egotistic, egoistic, manipulative, obsessive, oblivious, & sad lives with 2 seriously ill family members* & caregiver

Don't see it if don't wan't busy story - in addition to dysfunctional family issues, also issues related to immigration

Also * one not seen... Read more Read less

80
Interesting, Predictable, Disappointing, Relevant, Okay

See it if you love the actors in it; they all excel. The story is at least interesting enough for the length of a one-act play.

Don't see it if you justifiably don’t want to give money to an endeavor of someone who advocated voting for Trump to “burn it all down.”

Also In the role of a privileged white lady who puts her whims ahead of a m... Read more Read less

48
Inconsequential silly, Disappointing

See it if You want to see Susan Sarandon; she is good.

Don't see it if You want a well written play; this is not it. Entire play is a set-up for the “big moment“ at end. So contrived, so simplistic.

Also The daughter role is particularly idiotic.

80
Generally well-paced and will hold your attention, Uneven, Bleakly-humorous, Ireland is phenomenal, Overly-busy and predictable writing with little that’s new to say

See it if you're a fan of anyone in the cast (it’s a great one, particularly Marin Ireland); curious to see how Jesse Eisenberg’s writing holds up.

Don't see it if you need groundbreaking dramas with surprises at every turn; are unforgiving of imperfect plotting & writing; can't stomach discrimination.

Also Happy Talk is Susan Sarandon’s momentous return to the stage after 10 ... Read more Read less

73
Implausible, Edgy, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if you want to see Susan Sarandon's superb acting skills, creating a fascinating character.

Don't see it if you're looking for a believable, cohesive plot. Jesse Eisenberg writes some great dialogue, but it doesn't really hold together.

Also Maybe because I was sitting in the front row, I was completely captiva... Read more Read less

75
Great acting, Entertaining

See it if good performances in a play that takes a left-turn towards the end. Marin and Susan are excellent wanting you to embrace both of them

Don't see it if need a bit more substance other than towards the end. raisers some good ideas that need better development

75
Funny, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if Very entertaining play. Dialogues in early scenes between Sarandon and Ireland are worth the price of admission.They are outstanding.

Don't see it if You are expecting a full length laugh riot. There are elements that arise in the latter stages of the play which have a significant impact.

92
Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if Eisenberg’s Sarandon and company are compelling. This is one play that exceeds the critics’ lukewarm response. Humor and pathos.

Don't see it if Darkness that belies a real family is hard-hitting.

69
Confusing, Quirky, Disappointing, Edgy, Ambitious

See it if a fan of Ireland, who's always compelling; up for a dystopian domestic satire; able to hear talkback after w/ Jesse & co., clarifying lots!

Don't see it if you're averse to abrasive dynamics, irritating-at-times characters, or satiric stereotypes; prefer resolution, hope, or drama less fraught.

78
Intelligent, Great staging, Great acting

See it if you want to see Susan Sarandon perform superbly; her every facial expression is nuanced

Don't see it if you prefer musicals; you don't like one act plays


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...
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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 Ta...
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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 prov...
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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 eleme...
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