Men on Boats
Closed 1h 30m
Men on Boats
85

Men on Boats NYC Reviews and Tickets

85%
(72 Reviews)
Positive
93%
Mixed
7%
Negative
0%
Members say
Clever, Great acting, Great staging, Funny, Delightful

About the Show

This joyfully anachronistic retelling of the 1869 Powell expedition, originally produced by Clubbed Thumb, transfers to Playwrights Horizons as part of its Company Residency program.

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Member Reviews (72)

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965 Reviews | 339 Followers
75
Clever, Original, Great staging, Refreshing, Broad (no pun intended)

See it if you like unusual subject matter.Based on a true story, MOB has thrilling moments. Strong cast. You'll root for the men, and google at home.

Don't see it if high concept plays don't appeal. This is not a slice-of-life, but a very theatrical piece. Well-staged, but too many cheap laughs.

952 Reviews | 387 Followers
87
Clever, Entertaining, Intelligent, Original, Quirky

See it if you like fresh new ideas presented in fun original ways. No bells and whistles but that adds to the charm. Immense story from small stage.

Don't see it if you don't like small stories. This is the kind of show that you're not really sure where it's going till you've gotten there.

692 Reviews | 152 Followers
87
Clever, Ambitious, Great staging, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if you're a history buff, enjoy the Grand Canyon, like theatrical twists (the men are all played by women), like satire and inspired commentary

Don't see it if you can't wrap your head around gender switching satire and history bending, must have literal staging

687 Reviews | 114 Followers
90
Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Entertaining, Great acting

See it if edgy, innovative, skillfully written theatre

Don't see it if preconceptions shattered

513 Reviews | 129 Followers
90
Clever, Funny, Great acting, Great staging, Creative

See it if History made easy and fun! See it if you like to laugh, see great acting, staging, direction and creativity. I thought it was wonderful.

Don't see it if you are bothered by a show's occasional wanderings or you dislike history being presented in a very humorous fashion.

469 Reviews | 258 Followers
92
Clever, intelligent, witty, laugh out loud funny, great ensemble

See it if you want to see a gender-bending take on Powell's expedition. Ingeniously staged by Will Davis. Powerhouse ensemble acting! Do not miss.

Don't see it if your taste runs to the more conventional. Also, if you do not like historical plays.

471 Reviews | 74 Followers
83
Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing

See it if you enjoy theatre that challenges your assumptions. Staging is almost as brilliant as the writing and the original concept.This is a gem. Go

Don't see it if you want a straight line, realistic history lesson. At 90 minutes, show is a bit long. Point is made early; could trim some things.

449 Reviews | 116 Followers
65
Clever, Overrated, Cartoonish, Repetitive, Great staging

See it if you want to see a cleverly staged, somewhat satirical recreation of a great adventure

Don't see it if you don't like to see an important event trivialized as an extended, rather pointless skit

Critic Reviews (26)

Time Out New York
August 1st, 2016

"Playwright Backhaus gender-flips her hardy crew and asks director Davis to stage the impossible: vessels barreling over waterfalls and hairsbreadth escapes from drowning. Silly? Sure. Thrilling? Oh, yes...Although Backhaus’s sly inventory of male weakness can grow repetitious after an hour or so, the cast is a dream team of experimental pros and fresh faces, mining the pathos and genuine heroism of the story...'Men' has simply the best acting ensemble Off Broadway right now."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
August 11th, 2016

"It’s a tricky balancing act: The anachronistic dialogue and implicit gender commentary keep raising issues the dialogue does not resolve, or even address. That’s probably a good thing, because too much earnest issue-mongering would surely sink the delicate craft of the play before its 100 minutes were up. The terrific performances, amusingly detailed but seriously inhabited, also help to keep it afloat...The play lands in an unanticipated place of real, if fleeting, feeling."
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Variety
August 1st, 2016

"The rationale for casting an ensemble of actresses to enact Major John Wesley Powell’s 1869 Colorado River expedition eludes me. But as penned by Jaclyn Backhaus and directed by Will Davis, 'Men On Boats' is off-the-canyon-walls funny. A joint Off Broadway production of Clubbed Thumb and Playwrights Horizons, the show combines the playful inventiveness of the former with the theatrical discipline of the latter. Paddle or portage your own boat to the theater — but get there."
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Theatermania
August 1st, 2016

"There's no attention drawn to gender in this boisterous new comedy, imaginatively directed down to the punctuation by Will Davis. 'Men on Boats' uses the lens of the present to explore a story from our shared cultural past. The result is kind of ingenious...This perfect 10-member ensemble perform their roles with laserlike precision. It's their skill, and the tug-of-war between the old and the new, that makes 'Men on Boats' such refreshing, enjoyable theater."
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BroadwayWorld
August 4th, 2016

“The imagination and wit involved with the production of director Will Davis' pocket-sized mounting of Jaclyn Backhaus' ‘Men on Boats’ is well-suited to provide an enjoyable 95-minute excursion...It's when ‘Men on Boats’ takes to the land when the story expresses its heart...There is no apparent commentary or lampooning involved with having the excellent company playing their male characters except, perhaps, that it's rare to see woman play these kinds of roles.”
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Lighting & Sound America
August 12th, 2016

"'Men on Boats' spends much of its time on verbal gags that don't quite land and multiple instances of cast members engaging in pretend acts of derring-do...These sequences, not terribly amusing in themselves, become wearying when spread out over an hour and forty minutes...The play finds a sharply satirical point of view only briefly...The rest of the time, however, 'Men on Boats' is a trip without a clear destination."
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Talkin' Broadway
August 1st, 2016

“Backhaus, director Will Davis, and the cast are all operating in perfect coordination to create a brief (95-minute) evening of unremitting adventure and craziness...If the show has a flaw, it's the vaguest sense of potential pointlessness...When the journey is an absolute blast, it's okay if the destination is only 8 out of 10. ‘Men on Boats' has more than enough brilliance to keep it afloat."
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TheaterScene.net
August 2nd, 2016

"Kudos to Clubbed Thumb for originating this spirited and intelligent production of 'Men on Boats'. (The play began at the Wild Project as part of their 2015 Summerworks festival). 'Men on Boats' is a finely-tuned adventure that transports you back to a time when the wonders of discovery still existed and heroes/heroines were the backbone of a nation."
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