Kings NYC Reviews and Tickets

74%
(123 Reviews)
Positive
77%
Mixed
18%
Negative
5%
Members say
Relevant, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Great acting

About the Show

Playwright Sarah Burgess and Tony-winning director Thomas Kail team up again at the Public Theater for this scathingly comic world premiere about the people at the heart of our democracy.

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Member Reviews (123)

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616 Reviews | 273 Followers
71
After today's presidential kleptocracy, this tale of lobbyist corruption is almost quaint

See it if competent "procedural" explaining how $/lobbyist influence corrupts politics; interestingly told from lobbyist perspective; tight direction

Don't see it if we learn nothing new; kept waiting for twist that would enliven plot; script was meh-as earnest/predictable as a Bernie speech Read more

406 Reviews | 188 Followers
75
Entertaining, Great acting, Relevant, Slow

See it if You like politics & want to watch the interplay of lobbyists & politicians. Zach Grenier is great as a Sen. sparring w/ a newbie female Rep.

Don't see it if You dislike or do not care about political plays. The Capitol atmosphere bores or enrages you. Think politics is a fixed game. Read more

432 Reviews | 93 Followers
74
Great acting, Riveting, Relevant, Intelligent, Poor staging

See it if You enjoyed Dry Powder or very talkative plays. While I did not enjoy Dry Powder as much I found this one interesting and smart.

Don't see it if You need movement. There is very little actual moving around, it's a lot of talking heads. Poor staging but a strong story.

414 Reviews | 74 Followers
73
Entertaining, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you want political drama about lobbyists at work in D.C. and at retreats & their dealings with an idealistic Representative

Don't see it if you want more drama & less sitcom or if you are hoping for a happy political ending; you didn't like Burgess's play Dry Powder Read more

411 Reviews | 72 Followers
75
Intelligent, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if You’d like to see political truths personified by a Senator, Representative. two lobbyists, and several interest groups.

Don't see it if You are put off by snappy TV-like dialogue that isn’t the way real people talk.

402 Reviews | 86 Followers
79
Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great acting, Predictable, Intelligent

See it if you're interested in stories about political corruption and lobbyists. Plot is predictable, but engaging with good direction and acting.

Don't see it if you're looking for a play that offers you new information about Washington lobbyists and more optimism or you want to escape politics.

361 Reviews | 80 Followers
75
Absorbing, Clever, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if A well written political tale of our time. The “old guard” continues it’s place in politics even with the introduction of a sane voice.

Don't see it if If you do not enjoy political plays or a strong supporter of conservatism.

330 Reviews | 103 Followers
70
Intelligent, Ambitious, Cliched, Thought-provoking, Indulgent

See it if Great acting by Eisa Davis and Zach Grenier but storyline a bit thin.

Don't see it if You want to learn something new about lobbyists and politics in Washington. Read more

Critic Reviews (33)

The New York Times
February 20th, 2018

"Whenever it focuses on Sydney...'Kings' is entertaining and informative, if not surprising theatrically...Her story — the only one you care about — basically dribbles away after the debate...A plot in search of an emotion. Kate and Lauren...are improbable exaggerations, caricatures with no human shading. This makes for powerful oppositions and playable scenes but little investment...The gravity of the subject and the sitcom zing of the style make an uncomfortable combo."
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Time Out New York
February 21st, 2018

'Teaching through illustration is a valid theatrical strategy, but Burgess omits other crucial dramatic ingredients, such as character and incident; and since the purpose of this all-exposition play is to inform, your interest fluctuates...Informative but not revealing or persuading...Kail seems desperate to juice up the evening...The production begs: 'Please be entertained!'. Outside, real-life politics is throwing a circus. Inside, the motion doesn't carry."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
February 20th, 2018

"Despite the fact that it's stuffed with jargony, purposefully obfuscatory banter, 'Kings' has a simple and familiar arc...What is 'Kings' telling us that we don't already know?...What are we getting in the theater, starting at $65 a ticket, that we couldn't get from the NY Times...If I seem cruel to 'Kings,' it’s because it doesn't stand alone. It's part of an epidemic in contemporary theater, a virus of insistent, self-righteous, moribund relevance at the expense of actual theatrical power."
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The Hollywood Reporter
February 20th, 2018

“A timely, relevant topic that well deserves to be examined, but this play does so in a manner that's more pedantic than compelling…Burgess is so intent on getting her messages across that she fails to provide much depth to the characters and situations...Dramatic revelations are continually given short-shrift…The direction by Kail proves more distracting than necessary…The theatrical busy-ness only serves to highlight the insubstantiality of the drama it's intended to enhance.”
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Entertainment Weekly
February 20th, 2018

"The play's sarcastic edge can veer into the cynical, near-fatalistic territory...'Kings' may lure TV fans, what with the presence of small-screen favorites...It’s the less starry half — Grenier and, especially, Davis — that does memorable work...It's mesmerizing the way 'Kings', at its best, actually draws you into the campaign...This is drama invigorated by the pessimism permeating today's conversations even though the story Burgess tells is depressingly familiar."
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Variety
February 21st, 2018

"The problem with Sydney - and with the play overall - is that her ambitions are much too vague and utterly unsexy...Kail, normally a savvy director, isn't much help with the unwieldy material...It's hard to find the drama in a play that's heavy with talk but light on thought. Although the clashing ethical codes of traditional politicians and young barnburners seems an incendiary topic, Burgess misses her chance to strike the match."
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New York Daily News
February 20th, 2018

"Four good actors sink their teeth into juicy roles...But for all of the actors' fine efforts, they're nearly upstaged by a prop - a sense-tickling skillet of fajitas...Hits on topical subjects...None of that is particularly illuminating...Direction by 'Hamilton' Tony-winner Thomas Kail, who staged Burgess moves things as fluidly and fleetly as possible...The play's repetitiveness, been-there, heard-this lack of surprises and occasional didactic tone also cause drag."
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NY1
February 20th, 2018

"Once again impressively exposes the devil in the details...The devil in this case is political corruption... Davis nicely underplays the part displaying fine nuance as a rookie politician gaining confidence...Cash and Jacobs, also excellent, manage to avoid total villainy, investing the lobbyists with sufficient humanity...And Grenier is superb as a veteran senator who's played the game so long, he's forgotten why he's there...Thanks to Kail's lucid staging, 'Kings' makes its point loud and clear."
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