If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka
Closed 1h 50m
If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka

If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka NYC Reviews and Tickets

(95 Reviews)
Members say
Ambitious, Entertaining, Great acting, Relevant, Clever

About the Show

Playwrights Horizons presents a decidedly contemporary riff on a West African fable. 

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Member Reviews (95)

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139 Reviews | 26 Followers
Great singing, Great acting, Entertaining, Delightful, Clever

See it if You want to experience a thought provoking play written by a contemporary playwright with much to offer in the future. The acting, singing

Don't see it if You dislike contemporary plays and new, emerging playwrights. Why go to the theater when you know you just won’t get it. Read more

141 Reviews | 27 Followers
Great use of music, Quirky, Relevant, Funny, Great staging

See it if You like your thought-provoking entertaining rather than existential, you're okay with a wild plot, you love how much music can contribute

Don't see it if You like a realistic plot, you don't like humor in discussions of serious subjects

283 Reviews | 64 Followers
Profound, Edgy, Great acting, Absorbing, Ambitious

See it if you want to see a somewhat modified version of Mean Girls taken to the extreme

Don't see it if the topics of bullying or death trigger you

556 Reviews | 736 Followers
Thought-provoking, Profound, Intelligent, Great writing, Funny

See it if you’re interested in African settings, female-driven shows, or works that explore concepts of beauty and worth.

Don't see it if you prefer dialogue that’s clear as day. This story is told in an almost poetic way. The narrative is easy to follow, though.

52 Reviews | 1 Follower
Delightful, Refreshing, Funny, Great singing, Entertaining

See it if You enjoy music and dancing

Don't see it if Sometimes difficult to understand African accent

175 Reviews | 36 Followers
Refreshing, Funny, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy original work that is part folktale and part moral play with charming performances and make you think about personal perceptions.

Don't see it if You prefer traditional realistic plays.

127 Reviews | 13 Followers
Must see, Entertaining, Clever

See it if you like shows that make you think about this world we live in and all the expectations we have.

Don't see it if you have trouble understanding accents and rapid dialogue.

131 Reviews | 45 Followers
Interesting, Great set, Resonant, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if / to see a modernized African fable; if feminine beauty as determined by society is a subject that interests you

Don't see it if you need an intermission (it's almost 2 hours with none); you have trouble with accents; you like straightforward/linear structure

Critic Reviews (22)

The New York Times
March 10th, 2019

"Sampson makes a contemporary fable about the black female body and its discontents. She also makes, in the Playwrights Horizons production that opened on Sunday under the exuberant direction of Leah C. Gardiner, an auspicious professional playwriting debut...Sampson uses a refreshing palette of theatrical colors to fill in the story...Though the inventiveness does not always pay off Gardiner’s well-acted and swift-moving production usually picks up the slack."
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Time Out New York
March 12th, 2019

"Sampson’s script plays like it’s sledding on a steep hill: You can feel the speed, the writer’s whizzing wit, the swift adjustments in tone and direction. The mixture of folklore-speak and hilarious up-to-the-minute banter is intoxicating...Gardiner’s vivid production is notable for its balance and propulsion. The cast is excellent...The combined effect of the music, the production and Sampson’s play: It's the feeling of being barraged by talent, all of it at full flood."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
March 10th, 2019

"There’s a disturbing, powerful play hiding inside Tori Sampson’s 'If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka,' but it hasn’t worked its way out yet...It could all make for a great, and very scary, play. 'If Pretty Hurts' isn’t quite that play, though it feels like an energetic sketch in that direction...'If Pretty Hurts' needs to actually hurt, but what we’ve been shown has more often felt whimsical than ferocious...It’s got teeth inside it, but it isn’t biting yet."
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March 10th, 2019

"A lovable but chaotic piece of theater, one that's simultaneously energizing and vivacious, and also too loose to be fully successful...The story is somewhat predictable, but there's nothing obvious about Simpson's storytelling style. Her voice is really cool and imaginative, creating a play that pulsates with contemporary vernacular and old-school theatricality...I wish the piece were just a little tighter so it could fully deliver on its ambitious style of storytelling."
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Lighting & Sound America
March 11th, 2019

“Despite definite signs of talent ‘If Pretty Hurts’ has several problems, not least of which is the playwright's try-anything approach, which results in a jumbled narrative. But what makes it something of a trial is its insistence on lecturing the audience at great length...It's not surprising that the director, Leah C. Gardiner, has difficulty imposing some kind of order on these proceedings, but cast often charms, even with in the thinnest of roles."
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Talkin' Broadway
March 10th, 2019

"There's more high-flown poetry than vulgarism in her writing, along with an odd fusion of storytelling techniques...Do such disparate elements coalesce? Well, no...The storytelling's now-naturalistic, now-metaphorical, now-monologue, now-dialogue, now-pantomime, now-dance; and Sampson's principal concern, the unfairness of beauty standards, is stomped into the ground...There are some good scenes...But all that damn meta keeps getting in the way."
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New York Stage Review
March 10th, 2019

"The play is Sampson’s vibrant 90-minute spin on the time-honored 'black is beautiful' maxim...Bringing 'If Pretty Hurts' to its vibrant life is proficiently handled by director Leah C. Gardiner. She sees that all the actors maximize the possibilities in a story playwright Sampson cleverly tells by placing it in Affreakah-Amirrorikah, a land, not unlike America, where racism can, in the worst circumstances, turn in on itself...See Sampson's moving, pressing fable for, well, for its beauty."
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March 11th, 2019

“Dynamically presented and sensationally performed...A surfeit of extraneous devices and a heavy-handed agenda overwhelm and drag out a tender and potentially resonant tale. There’s repetitive jokiness, a lumbering ghostly gospel sequence and an anti-climactic pretentious finale. Amidst the frustrating tangents are bright spots during a straight through nearly two hours....At the core of “If Pretty Hurts...’ is its enchanting tale that’s been waylaid by authorial excesses.”
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