“‘Linda,’ directed with faltering intensity by Lynne Meadow, certainly doesn’t lack for gristly parts for actresses to chew and choke on…As the plot thickens to the point of clotting, you can’t accuse Ms. Skinner of not connecting the dots of either her themes or her story lines…But the cause-and-effect links are presented so baldly and explicitly, they might belong to one of Linda’s PowerPoint presentations.” Full Review
“A feisty feminist play…Well-cast and briskly directed by Lynne Meadow, the production is a bittersweet rallying cry for women who become invisible—and totally irrelevant—when they turn 50…The scribe is not only heartlessly funny, she’s also bluntly realistic, so it’s obvious that the moment of reckoning is coming for Linda...While the playwright’s second-act strategy for getting Linda’s mojo back is seriously flawed, the final scene is one fine piece of writing.” Full Review
"Sometimes it gets a bit didactic, especially when coded sexist language is overstated, but Skinner's characters are very well presented and her dialogue easily glides from witty and entertaining to realistically somber...'Linda' solidifies Skinner's position as an interesting dramatic voice from overseas that needs to be heard more frequently on this shore. And any play that can bring Janie Dee back in a sensationally commanding and clever performance should receive first-class passage." Full Review
“Penelope Skinner’s 'Linda' raises important questions with bracing rhetorical force, and Lynne Meadow’s MTC production has two huge assets: Walt Spangler’s stunner of a rotating set...and, especially, Dee’s superb turn as the title character, at once indomitable and vulnerable...Skinner pushes the story into ‘King Lear’ territory in the play’s second half, and the engineering is sometimes too obvious. But the play, flawed like Linda, demands to be seen.” Full Review
“Sometimes sad, sometimes funny and always wildly entertaining...Janie Dee’s dazzling performance in this work is nothing less than a tour de force…For all its provocative points about the daunting obstacles faced by older women, the play proves too convoluted and overstuffed for its own good…The thematic sprawl becomes detrimental…Still, the writing is consistently sharp and insightful, and, under the skillful direction of Lynne Meadow, the talented cast, makes the most of it.” Full Review
“Chock-full of a great many incredibly exciting moments (and two electrifying central performances from Dee and Griggs), ‘Linda’ comes close to being the real deal, but ultimately sinks under the weight of its own impressive ambition…With the exception of Ikeda, the rest of the company fares less well, stuck in the middle of overstuffed story lines...Still, so much of the experience is fitfully exciting and thought-provoking enough that 'Linda' sticks with you after the curtain comes down.” Full Review
"Skinner has conceived the character with tremendous sympathy, but she doesn't shy away from her narcissism…Skinner has difficulty keeping the play's subplots sorted, not least because Linda is the only fully dimensional character in the play…Dee delivers a tour de force that keeps Linda watchable at all times…At its worst, 'Linda' is messily plotted, but in its most striking passages it poses some tough, uncomfortable questions about women, business, and success.” Full Review
"Penelope Skinner’s sharp script does tend to wander a bit in the second act, but otherwise, it’s a spot-on dissection of the sexist trap ensnaring its heroine...The devastating mess that results indicates Skinner’s pessimistic view of women’s progress, but it’s frighteningly real. Dee deftly displays Linda’s energy as well as the shaking insecurity she keeps so well hidden...Meadow delivers a tightly paced production with immeasurable aide from set designer Spangler’s versatile set." Full Review
"As far as I can tell there is nothing redeeming about this story or the writing...Watching a woman unravel for two acts is neither interesting nor meaningful. Linda has one trajectory and it is downward all the way. Not only is Linda monumentally narcissistic, in addition, she is surrounded by equally unlikable folks...There is no classical theme here, no monumental lesson. Linda is not a tragic character...We don’t need any more stories of how women fail." Full Review
“As defiantly as Skinner has written her main character, she hasn't displayed an equivalent interest in making those around her even half as real…The point beneath all this is strong…By stacking the deck so much, Skinner undermines her own efforts...The myriad clichés and cringeworthy dialogue are bad enough. But the facile plotting may be even worse…There's no room for surprise beyond Dee's portrayal…The other actors settle for caricature, if to varying degrees of broadness.” Full Review
"Janie Dee is a whirlwind of talent and she adds just the right amount of narcism and warmth that we truly care about this women despite her flaws. The rest of the cast is also terrific, especially Ms.Ikeda, whose heartbreaking story tugs on your heart and soul...Director Lynne Meadow’s handles this material with a sensitive hand...Penelope Skinner’s play is hard to take but she is right...This is the glaring truth and 'Linda' does not back down, but shines a light glaringly at the facts." Full Review
“A subject familiar to fans of, say, the late Wendy Wasserstein, is given fresh oxygen in a narrative that adds some layers of complexity and topicality to one of the defining issues of our time…Skinner stacks the deck against Linda so thoroughly that her inevitable–and barely credible–breakdown at a Swan event may strike some as just deserts...The play has been spiffily mounted…The cast couldn’t be better, and Dee...powers through the play with appealing élan.” Full Review
"Sometimes 'Linda' is a bit too overreaching with the many parallel processes and over-worn devices. So many things from the big list of what could go wrong are checked off. This is no 'King Lear'...This play is not that epic in scope and tragedy. Mind you, it’s a stellar production: beautifully designed, wonderfully directed by Lynne Meadow and realistically and emotionally performed by all, with impeccable pacing and thoughtfulness, but what do we have in the end?" Full Review
“The plot detours Skinner has created to establish her themes send the play as well as Linda's having-it-all life into a disappointing downward spiral. Improbabilities surface and the valid social issues get overshadowed by contrived, melodramatic events...While not a triumph for the playwright, MTC's production of 'Linda' is a triumph for Dee and Meadow's handsomely staged production. Dee is a dynamite actress who'll hold your interest even when her character no longer does." Full Review
"Linda is the woman who has it all—until she loses it all. Dee gives an uncanny impression in looks and manner of Annette Bening’s go-getter realtor in 'American Beauty.' What’s missing is any sense of irony regarding Linda’s success in the phoniest and most exploitative of businesses...There’s not much arc to Skinner’s characters or Lynne Meadow’s direction. Most of the characters orbit around Linda so that Skinner can make points about 21st-century women." Full Review
“The play is timely, sharp, and articulate, with a few immensely creative turns. Janie Dee is flat-out superb. Conviction is so palpable, blinders so believably habitual, her character’s disintegration jars with real impact…The rest of the company is well cast…Director Lynne Meadow is highly skilled with naturalism–each bit of stage business feels innate to character and situation, every pause and gesture has a reason.” Full Review
“The play, even while touching on vital themes, seems overwritten...The cast members all make vital contributions, but it is Dee who holds center stage and commands our attention and admiration...She is consistently dynamic in a performance that epitomizes the problems women face in having it all…Skinner has written a pertinent drama, and Lynne Meadow’s direction skillfully accents issues touched along the way.” Full Review
"A perceptive drama...MTC's absorbing production felt like a mirror reflecting on us all...The play is overly plotted but engaging nonetheless, as Linda's happy home and job start to unravel...At the center of it all is a bravura performance by Janie Dee. Displaying an impressive range from headstrong to heedless, she hits a raw nerve...'Linda' is somewhat melodramatic and feels contrived in spots. But the takeaway is powerful." Full Review
"A fiercely pro-feminist play in which much of the blame for each character’s missteps are blamed on the males in this story...Her complaints are well-worded but ultimately shrill and irritating. The first act gave me much food for thought, and I was engrossed. But much of its force was dissipated in the second act as melodrama intruded, and more recognizable and responsible human behavior left the premises...The actors have made the right choices.” Full Review
"An overly familiar story of a British ad executive of a certain age whose career and marriage both are suddenly threatened by much younger women. In the title role, Janie Dee is very strong as a woman frantically trying to hold it together -- and trying to convince herself, against all evidence, that women really can 'have it all.' But there's almost nothing about Skinner's story, or director Lynne Meadow's production, that surprises." Full Review
"Janie Dee takes the stage and wrings every last drop out of it...As the show progresses we see how life is changing around her ideals and how they just might not work for her anymore…The play is a tour de force with only minor wrinkles and distractions. Top-notch directing by artistic director Lynne Meadow brings this show to formidable life. Linda has to look herself in the mirror every day. Go see what comes of it." Full Review
"Skinner writes smart captivating dialogue and rounds out even the slightest characters, yet the promising feminist social issues are compromised by melodramatic family problems...Lynne Meadow meticulously directs well drawn-characters and the brisk movement between work and home...While Skinner's feminist point of view is diluted by an over-stuffed plot, Janie Dee, in a dazzling performance, fiercely drives home 'Linda's' message that women can't do it all." Full Review
“Skinner works hard to create an array of complex female characters in her often funny play…One of the most successful elements of Skinner’s provoking play is in the way language is weaponized against women…For all the messages Skinner may be delivering, she still manages to make the play both a satiric romp and a skewering drama. The play may lose some of its punch as it wends its way to a conclusion (with a couple of plot points a bit convenient and obvious) but it’s quite a ride there.” Full Review
"Janie Dee gives a fine, fierce, impassioned performance as a 50-something woman fending off her own impending invisibility. She brings to it a brittle sense of trying to control things that are fast slipping out of her grasp...Meadow brings both poise and feeling to a play that sometimes feels a little schematic. But Dee is surrounded by some strong performances, even if the accents don't always ring true...Skinner’s play is smart and thoughtful and well deserving of its New York outing." Full Review
"Janie Dee is scarily believable in her portrayal of a woman on the verge of losing it...Unfortunately, the rest of the cast gives rather shallow performances...It doesn’t help that the play itself has significant flaws, mainly in the interpersonal connections, which sometimes are straight up confusing...The coincidences seem forced and 'soapy' which is a shame because the topic of misrepresentation of women 'of a certain age' is ambitious and potent." Full Review
See it if Janie Dee is the powerhouse. Ikeda offers fine support as damaged daughter. Female identity, privacy, self worth & aging movingly explored
Don't see it if viewing a woman's life crumble around her is not your cup of tea. A heartbreaking tale. Well acted and directed. Saw 3/14/17
See it if you're interested in how being a women, esp in middle age, impacts one's experience of the world. You want to see Janie Dee, who's great.
Don't see it if you think gender & age don't matter (actually, then you should see it). You just want to be entertained (not a lightweight play).
See it if you enjoy an intense drama dealing w/ appearance issues middle-age+ women face; where each character faces a conflict or two.
Don't see it if you don't enjoy a show involving a powerful, dynamic women and the issues most women eventually deal with
See it if You are a woman over 50. A mid-life crisis that may be resonant to all women at a certain period of life.
Don't see it if You don't like feminist or aging issues. The play is too long and most of the characters are stereotyped. Act 2 is weaker than Act 1.
See it if You like plays that deal with women aging and all the issues that emerge with her invisability in other's minds. Irrelevancy!
Don't see it if You cannot find humour in a tough subject.
See it if you want to see the terrific actress Jamie Dee in a relevant story, with a great nemesis in Griggs. First act left me yearning for more.
Don't see it if you are not interested in a disappointingly predictable second act, which is cliched, cringe worthy and overly calculated.
See it if you're interested in exploring the professional and family life of a woman who appears to have it all.
Don't see it if you're not interested in a look at what it's like to be a successful but aging woman.
See it if you're into "Have It All" strand of commentary/critique about contemporary liberal feminism; if you like fancy realistic sets on turntables
Don't see it if you can't with plays that seem to have once been screenplays; if you can't with muddy "Britishish" accents
See it if you want to see a great actress portray what women have to go through to have a successful career.
Don't see it if You're tired of hearing about women having to work harder and be smarter then men in order to succeed.
See it if you want to see an offbeat slant on the feminist problem of balancing career and family plus a dazzling performance by Janie Dee
Don't see it if you don't want to see any more plays about the feminist problem of balancing career and family!
See it if Beautifully written and acted. A spot on woman's play. Absolutely well crafted concerning contemporary life issues .
Don't see it if You only enjoy light musicals or dramas with little family conflicts.
Get alerts about your favorite artists and theater companies