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India Pale Ale

From 113 member  reviews
Members say: Relevant, Thought-provoking, Disappointing, Ambitious, Quirky

About the show

In MTC's new comic drama, a tight-knit Punjabi community gathers to celebrate the wedding of a traditional family’s only son, just as their strong-willed daughter announces her plans to move away and open a bar. More…

As they come together for feasts filled with singing and dancing, one generation’s cherished customs clash with another’s modern-day aspirations, and ghosts and pirates from the family’s past linger in everyone’s thoughts – until one sudden event changes everything. "India Pale Ale" is a play about legacy, life, and longing.

Member Reviews (113)


Relevant, Thought-provoking, Disappointing, Ambitious, Quirky
Avg Score

Confusing, Disappointing, Resonant, Quirky, Thought-provoking

See it if Backhaus' quirky memory play has it's moments via Davis' fluid handle on cast & staging but never coalesces into a solid drama Clever choreo

Don't see it if Edgy, diffuse only sporadically moving Backhaus' does herself no favors with a bizarre plot twist near the finish; begetting a maudlin close

Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Funny, Refreshing, Slow

See it if interested in work by Indian-American writers & actors, like family sagas about tradition vs. new culture, relevant yet heartwarming tale

Don't see it if Don't care about Indian-Americans culture & assimilation, don't like large family sagas, don't want reminders of tragic current events

Slow, Quirky, Disappointing, Indulgent

See it if you enjoy history of different cultures with a dash or two of fiction, as well as the assimilation of cultures in the US & family dynamics.

Don't see it if you want a well written play with fully formed characters; has potential but needs a few more drafts to give it some weight and dimension.

Also The way the play stands now, it is amateurishly acted and staged, bett... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Banal, Excruciating, Insipid, Slow

See it if you know someone in the cast, otherwise stay home.Story has no focus, no through line.I loved that it was about Punjabis & prejudice. But...

Don't see it if you want an honest, clear, thoughtful, entertaining look at life for people of color in America.This ain't it. Pirates? Really?

Thought-provoking, Relevant, Absorbing, Intelligent, Slow

See it if Touching exploration of the Punjabi-American Sikh community in Wisconsin. Gives a look at a little-understood group.

Don't see it if The storylines don't completely make sense. Things are dropped, never to be picked up again. The shocking event may seem contrived.

Ambitious, Slow, Disappointing, Relevant

See it if you want to see a slow, didactic depiction of an American family seen through a loud, colorful Punjabi lens. I'm glad I went.

Don't see it if you are not interested in a talky, did I say slow, story with a Pirate metaphor that really never works.

Also But there are moments here that I think are successful, Some of the di... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Indulgent, Quirky, Relevant, Fluffy

See it if you enjoy a brief look into the American-Punjabi-Sikh culture. Treacly ending works in light of recent tragedies

Don't see it if a playful look into American Punjabi Sikh metaphors doesn't appeal, the ending is a bit sappy

Disappointing, Cliched, Dull

See it if You like simple plays, easy to follow, feel good message at end.

Don't see it if You want a significant plot. If you don’t want to be preached at and lectured to, don’t go. Not much in sets. Very repetitious.

Also Simplistic. Feels very amateurish. Another play about inclusiveness, t... Read more Read less

Good acting, Resonant, Mundane, An annoying" technique" used, A bit trite

See it if you like plays about cultural & family conflicts that minorities have to deal with in the US.

Don't see it if you want to gain new or in-depth insights into cultural, generational and family interrelationships within a minority population in the US.

We have seen it all already, Boring to the point of silliness

See it if You are young and new to theatre, and have not seen this kind of boilerplate coming-of-age story of a late bloomer told before.

Don't see it if you are not particular interested in Indian culture or have had your fill of stories about young peoples' struggles and angst.

Funny, Entertaining, Delightful, Clever

See it if a story about a different kind of family peaks your interest.

Don't see it if think a story about spreading your own wings is less important than the wishes of your family because you aren't gonna like the message here

Intelligent, Overrated, Slow, Resonant, Entertaining

See it if Wonderful to see a culture represented on stage that is rarely shown- great and fun Bollywood dance scene and dream scapes.

Don't see it if confusing and slow plot with uneven actors really holds back what could have been a great bit of theater.

Disappointing, Confusing, Ambitious, Uneven

See it if you want to see more about hate in America mixed with celebration, some humor, coming of age, and moralizing

Don't see it if You like a coherent play that is not overly ambitious.

Relevant, Profound, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Timely

See it if you enjoy plays that involve ethnic (Punjabi) families; you appreciate a good script with superb acting and a few very funny scenes

Don't see it if you might find some of the scenes confusing; you prefer more traditional theater; you only like big Broadway splashy musicals

Ambitious, Disappointing, Overrated, Indulgent, Great acting

See it if you haven't seen plays about the problems of second generation Indian families living in the U.S.

Don't see it if you want to see a tight script, where you learn something new about the problems of second generation Indian families in the U.S.

Disappointing, Slow, Thought-provoking, Confusing, Inspiring theme

See it if you can sit through a slow-moving, uninteresting saga of a Punjabi family to get to an inspiring ending which celebrates ethnic diversity,

Don't see it if you can't endure a lame plot about ethnic assimilation or lack of it to get to a great final few minutes urging acceptance of differences.

Needs a rewrite & stronger direction, Weak lead performance hurts other fine actors

See it if You enjoy new writers even when the work is just so-so. You want to learn basics about 2nd & 1st generation South Asian experience in US.

Don't see it if You want something tight or subtle

Also India Pale Ale is a mish mash of good ideas that don't come together. ... Read more Read less

Scattered, Confusing, Thought-provoking, Disappointing

See it if You're cool with a peppering of stories and ideas that never fully come together. Some parts are creative and cool. Talk back after was best

Don't see it if You need a strongly cohesive, intelligent story. This one feels all over the place - struggling to find its identity.

Thought-provoking, Relevant, Well staged and acted, Entertaining, Confusing

See it if you want something that is ultimately uplifting, albeit sometimes confusing. Relevant to the news [Oct.-Nov 2018]. Plus a dance number.

Don't see it if you feel that second and third generation offspring of immigrants are still foreigners.

Thought-provoking, Topical

See it if you want to see a show that especially resonants with today's shooting at the Pittsburgh synagogue. The ending makes you think.

Don't see it if you want to be thoroughly engaged throughout the play. Some scenes, especially the one in the bar, are riveting; others are not.

Also The talk back added much especially when the actor playing Tim, Nate M... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Thought-provoking

See it if You like plays with a message. You are ok with half the play being super boring. The first 15 min was painful. Bad writing.

Don't see it if You want to be entertained. There where two good scenes and the rest was painful. Story has a nice message but I really was not entertained.

Ambitious, Relevant, Slow

See it if you are interested in the stories and lives of ethnic (specifically Punjabi) families set in the midst of middle America

Don't see it if You want to see a fully developed and coherent script. It's a good story but still needs some work.

Ambitious, Great acting, Great writing, Quirky, Resonant

See it if you want to understand the bonds that a family can hold. Interesting peek into the lives of American Sikhs.

Don't see it if you don't like plays about families that are different than yours.

Excruciating, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Didactic

See it if you're obliged to for some reason. This was a missed opportunity to turn some decent material into a worthwhile play. Instead it preached.

Don't see it if you can.

Ambitious, Disappointing, Confusing, Quirky, Thought-provoking

See it if You are intrigued by cultural differences and want to gain knowledge of how to effectively deal with prejudice and scapegoating. While the

Don't see it if You dislike culturally specific plays that try too hard to convey a message about acceptance. Definitely not your typical musical.

Also play is noteworthy, the playwright seems to try too hard to get her me... Read more Read less

October 23rd, 2018
“A cheerfully instructive work...Even in its bleakest moments, the dialogue is punctuated with the wholesome teasing and perkiness of a family sitcom. The supporting characters, drawn in the same vein...They’re a likably peppy lot, although all that matey ‘yaaargh-ing’ can get a bit tedious. I’m ...
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October 24th, 2018
“It’s not fun to criticize a play like 'India Pale Ale,' which so badly wants to be a model of good citizenship and generosity, and falls so dismally theatrically flat. But from its very opening moments, the sketchily drawn story of the Batra family feels confused about everything from tone to in...
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October 23rd, 2018
"Badly in need of further development...There's very little plot to speak of...There are some amusing moments...But the relentless quirkiness and didactic speechifying reveal a playwright trying much too hard, and neither director Will Davis' amateurish staging nor the ensemble's uneven performan...
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October 23rd, 2018
“A play that has more "teachable moments" than genuine ones...This urgency to moralize only keeps us at arm's length from the family with which we're supposed to be breaking down barriers...The events that unfold neither support each other nor carry their own tension...You feel Backhaus hint at t...
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