India Pale Ale
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India Pale Ale

India Pale Ale NYC Reviews and Tickets

(113 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.

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Member Reviews (113)

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716 Reviews | 157 Followers
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

688 Reviews | 116 Followers
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

543 Reviews | 133 Followers
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. Read more

512 Reviews | 79 Followers
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?

399 Reviews | 203 Followers
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.

426 Reviews | 99 Followers
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. Read more

404 Reviews | 76 Followers
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. Read more

407 Reviews | 67 Followers
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

Critic Reviews (20)

The New York Times
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 assuming that Ms. Backhaus deliberately shaped her characters in the mold of familiar domestic comedies to underscore their universality...But they seldom register as fully dimensional beings."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
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 intention to narrative focus...It wanders and hiccups and fails to get any sort of real emotional foothold, then latches onto a tragedy in order to catapult its engineless plot forward.."
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The Hollywood Reporter
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 performances help matters. ‘India Pale Ale’ concludes with a lovely offering to the audience but it's not enough to compensate for the otherwise empty feeling this ‘promising’ work leaves.”
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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 the friction between Americanization and Punjabi tradition, and then immediately withdraw as if to avoid the implication that those two things are incompatible.”
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Lighting & Sound America
November 9th, 2018

“’India Pale Ale’ is all exhortation and no drama. The family relationships are not explored, and most of the characters are one-dimensional: The women gossip about relationships while making food, and Boz's brother and ex-boyfriend are a pair of stereotypical bros...In many ways, the play turns on Boz's relationship to her father, but the character barely exists...Everyone is fine, but nobody makes a strong impression...Davis' direction is pacey but lacking in nuance.”
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Talkin' Broadway
October 25th, 2018

“What ‘India Pale Ale’ isn't good at is exposition. That, and organization. Jaclyn Backhaus's drama, an immersive plunge into the deep end of Punjabi culture as transplanted to the present-day U.S., has some rewards down the pike, specifically in the handsomeness of MTC’s production and the revealing to us mainstreamers of an unfamiliar, singular subculture. You just have to take some unprepossessing side roads to get to all that...You just wish it were laid out more clearly.”
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New York Stage Review
October 23rd, 2018

“Often lively, certainly sincere but ultimately lightweight play, which is well directed by Will Davis, and obviously produced by Manhattan Theatre Club as an antidote to today’s promulgated-from-the-oval-office divisiveness and its too often-homicidal repercussions...Despite the rather sizable complication, the play slides to a likable and conciliatory but not sufficiently deep, conclusion...There’s no arguing with the cast’s performances or Davis’ overseeing them."
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November 8th, 2018

“Jaclyn Backhaus' ‘India Pale Ale’ is a revealing window on a world not usually seen on our stages. Unfortunately, the play often feels like it is written in a private language and that this family story is of things we are not privy to like the son Jol who no one will talk about but we eventually find out that he moved to India where he died young. As a result, the play seems longer than its actual running time. Backhaus may still be too close to her material to have had an objectivity.”
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