Already closed | 1h 45m | West Village

Mrs. Murray's Menagerie

From 69 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Funny, Clever, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

About the show

Ars Nova presents The Mad Ones new work in which the creators of a 1970s children’s television program have commissioned a focus group to probe the parents of the show’s target audience.  More…

Over stale coffee and donuts, a group of strangers navigates the murky waters of American belief and perception.


Member Reviews (69)

MEMBERS SAY:

Great acting, Funny, Clever, Intelligent, Thought-provoking
78
Avg Score

89
Another gloriously awkward, uncomfortable, & hilarious comedy from the mad ones

See it if you like to see a loose story told through character interactions, crafted by a stellar cast.

Don't see it if you can't stand awkwardly squirming in your seat while waiting for a story arc that will never come.

Also I saw The Mad Ones' MILES FOR MARY last year and it was one of the mos... Read more Read less

85
Delightful, Funny, Ambitious, Clever, Absorbing

See it if you want to see an incredibly funny extraordinarily well executed play

Don't see it if you're not into very subtle humor

83
Great writing, Great acting, Funny, Entertaining, Clever

See it if you like seeing well-developed characters thrown together and watching them react to each other.

Don't see it if you want a riveting plot with a strong story arc

72
Great acting, Funny, Clever

See it if you enjoy atypical plays. Comedies. Outstanding acting

Don't see it if you are looking for large scale theatre.

Also This was a good but not great show. The acting was fabulous and the id... Read more Read less

97
Delightful, Refreshing, Profound, Intelligent, Great acting

See it if you appreciate the subtexts of how race and class play out in this completely original idea of the focus group upon which we get to spy!

Don't see it if quirky and thought-provoking is not your kind of comedy/drama

86
Thought-provoking, Resonant, Intelligent, Great acting, Funny

See it if you want to see a very intelligent show that says so much about society, group dynamics, culture, etc primarily with indirect communication

Don't see it if You don’t want to dig beneath the surface of messages to get at what is actually being said.

85
Fluffy, Overrated, Refreshing, Great acting, Funny

See it if you like a comedy that feels like an episode of the office - race, gender and class issues

Don't see it if you'd have hard time watching essentially one scene for 90 minutes

Also I love The Mad Ones and Lila Neugebauer's work, that's why I was a lit... Read more Read less

92
Edgy, Great writing, Clever

See it if You like funny, intelligent theater. It is subtle and very thought provoking. The characters are realistic, the themes timely.

Don't see it if You are bored if there is not a lot of action

84
Quirky, Hilarious, Great acting, Clever, Absorbing

See it if you like hyper-realism that is excellently performed; the presence in the room was v electric; you like meta-theatricality; ensemble-based

Don't see it if you want a play that steps back from itself; you don't like the 1970s; you don't want to watch white men be awful (on purpose/for the play)

Also I knew very little and was both floored by the performance and exactin... Read more Read less

77
Ambitious, Intelligent, Clever

See it if This show is a fascinating examination of interpersonal dynamics and psychology evidenced as strangers interact.

Don't see it if You want to see action instead of becoming aware of abstract ideas over the course of a single scene.

85
Thought-provoking, Relevant, Masterful, Intelligent, Absorbing

See it if You like a piece that gives you a lot to think about, and a lot to discover in glances, sighs, and side comments.

Don't see it if You are more driven by plot than character, or prefer that the "message" of a play be directly signaled to the audience.

Also There is so much to discover here--I could watch it multiple times fro... Read more Read less

85
Resonant, Intelligent, Delightful, Clever, Absorbing

See it if you enjoy plays that are different and tell more by sometimes not saying too much. A very intelligent and funny work that makes you think!

Don't see it if You want a standard type story. This is a great study in interpersonal behaviors and group dynamics that doesn’t follow a traditional style.

89
Slow, Great writing, Great acting, Funny, Entertaining

See it if You like The Mad Ones. They once again nail their special brand of theatre.

Don't see it if You don't like the Mad Ones.

Also Although good, it felt slower than MILES FOR MARY possibly because the... Read more Read less

95
Resonant, Thought-provoking, Funny, Delightful, Absorbing

See it if You love to watch characters who seem to live full lives off-stage or non-traditional dramatic presentations

Don't see it if The lack of action will leave you cold

Also I'm a recent "Miles for Mary" fan (something I shared, probably, with ... Read more Read less

67
Overrated, Fluffy, Disappointing, Banal, Ambitious

See it if you want to experience a focus group for yourself.

Don't see it if you want something with conflict, plot and drama.

Also I have enjoyed many shows at Ars Nove, but I expected more from this g... Read more Read less

84
Thought-provoking, Funny, Clever

See it if You enjoy non-traditional theatre and want to see a show that’s not going to hold your hand

Don't see it if If you’re looking for something big and flashy or full of action

88
Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great acting, Funny, Entertaining

See it if You enjoy thoughtful storylines with really smart set design and multiple supporting characters in continuous, well written dialogue.

Don't see it if You need a fancy theater or a lot of smoke and lights.

65
Indulgent, Excruciating, Dated, Cliched, Banal

See it if Superficial. Stereotypic. Predictable and boring. Actors made real efforts with cliched material.

Don't see it if you want to see something original.

89
Great acting, Funny, Entertaining, Clever

See it if you want to Laugh, like character development, and want to see a fresh take on theater

Don't see it if you want a single theme as a take-away. Every person I talked to identified w/a different character & maybe that's the point.

75
Disappointing, Indulgent, Overrated, Great writing, Great acting

See it if you want to see a clever (and mostly funny) script with really good actors.

Don't see it if after the first 60 minutes you wonder why there's more... great acting and design but a bit one-note for too long... great use of the space.

96
Great writing, Great acting, Funny, Clever, Absorbing

See it if you like plays that take on social issues in inventive, fast-paced, incisive ways or you're curious how to make a play out of a focus group.

Don't see it if you don't like highly intricate, super-fast plays that take on social issues in a highly entertaining way.

Also Please bring this play back!

65
Quirky, Funny, Entertaining

See it if You really miss the 80s. Or even if you sorta miss the 80s...it's fun to go back in time.

Don't see it if You want a transformative experience. The show is entertaining, but doesn't have the profound themes that Miles for Mary did.

92
Entertaining, Great staging, Great acting

See it if You'd like to see expert ensemble work. You enjoy unconventional storytelling. You're not yet familiar with the Mad Ones & what they do.

Don't see it if You're a strict traditionalist in terms of plot structure for plays.

Also Amazing performances: These actors REALLY become their characters (inc... Read more Read less

90
Unique, Funny, Great writing, Ambitious, Slow

See it if You want to experience the mundane, recreated with masterful detail and emulating powerful nostalgia through tiny moments.

Don't see it if You only want stores following traditional structures of plot and climaxes.

85
Hilarious, Intelligent, Slow, Thought-provoking, Absorbing

See it if you like to be drawn into the world and exposition — you will slowly learn who each character is and what parenting in the 70s is like

Don't see it if you don't like reading into the subtext of a moment, want everything to be spelled out to you, feel uncomfortable when plays examine racism


April 8th, 2019
"Though not quite as emotionally powerful as its predecessor, it is just as funny and, in some ways, more momentous...How such minutiae mount into a crisis is a mystery built into the company’s method. Some of it has to do with the subtle, super-sharp direction by Mad Ones member Lila Neugebauer....
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April 8th, 2019
"It’s delicate and refreshingly anticlimactic, very funny but joke-free, a seemingly unassuming but pointed example of the kind of painstaking group character study that the company has marked as its turf...Lila Neugebauer guides from the outside with her characteristic understatement and precisi...
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April 17th, 2019
“The collaborative troupe the Mad Ones has a winning formula...Its newest production, again under the note-perfect direction of Neugebauer, winds back the clock to the late seventies, as six parents, plied with coffee and doughnuts, participate in a focus group for a beloved children’s TV show. U...
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April 8th, 2019
"While the company's attention to detail is admirable, their work feels like the theatrical equivalent of — go on, call me a philistine — a Frederick Wiseman documentary. The authenticity is undeniable, but it makes for tedious viewing...Although all the ensemble members deliver finely detailed, ...
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