Nantucket Sleigh Ride
Closed 1h 50m
Nantucket Sleigh Ride
70

Nantucket Sleigh Ride NYC Reviews and Tickets

70%
(166 Reviews)
Positive
59%
Mixed
33%
Negative
8%
Members say
Confusing, Funny, Quirky, Great acting, Disappointing

About the Show

John Guare and director Jerry Zaks return to LCT, where their critically acclaimed "The House of Blue Leaves" and "Six Degrees of Separation" premiered, with a new comic drama starring John Larroquette.

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Member Reviews (166)

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55
Dizzying, Convoluted, Mildly amusing, Disappointing, Puzzling

See it if you like Larroquette's nonchalant acting style or Zaks' manic, madcap direction, both of whom work hard to save Guare's pointless comedy.

Don't see it if you hope for a consequential (and coherent) new play from Guare, who instead delivers a trivial, trite & tangled absurdist farce.

78
Great staging, Imaginative, Convoluted, Hilarious, Quirky

See it if you like to laugh. The absurd plot keeps revolving into unexpectedly ludicrous directions.

Don't see it if you need to fully understand everything moment by moment. This is sort of a mystery that evolves as the answers are tracked down.

Critic Reviews (25)

The New York Times
March 18th, 2019

"A play that begins with a puzzle and willfully remains one...Despite some heavy pruning and reshaping since it was first produced at the McCarter Theater in 2012, it remains, in Jerry Zaks’s zippy, overbright staging for Lincoln Center Theater, both hermitic and hermetic: obscure and airless. That’s not a great environment for audiences — or actors — to thrive in...Still, you may get a shiver of the dark anxiety hiding in the writing as a ghost hides in a child’s crowded closet."
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The Hollywood Reporter
March 18th, 2019

"Guare certainly hasn't lost his talent for crafting funny dialogue, although the evening's many jokes about pedophilia seem ill-advised these days...Zaks remains perfectly in tune with Guare's sensibilities, delivering a precisely calibrated staging that mines the work for all its humor...It's too bad, then, that the efforts of the hard-working performers and other creatives have been put in service of a trivial play that doesn't deserve them."
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Variety
March 18th, 2019

"Despite a smart production director by Jerry Zaks and played to the professional hilt here by a company of game actors, the point of this absurdist farce is maddeningly elusive...Larroquette has perfected a droll, deadpan delivery that suits Guare’s under-the-radar brand of humor...But by the time Guare gets to the giant lobster (don’t ask) he seems to have run out of imagination — or the inclination to round up his disjointed memories and wrestle them into a coherent plot."
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The Wall Street Journal
March 19th, 2019

“It’s the first full-scale play that Guare has written in some time...Not to worry, though: ‘Nantucket Sleigh Ride’ is as good as anything he’s given us. Indeed, it strikes me on first viewing that he might possibly have produced a bona fide old-age masterpiece, one in which the zest of youth is enriched by long experience and profound comprehension. I laughed at its wild plot twists—but I also watched the last scene through tears.”
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Theatermania
March 18th, 2019

"Larroquette commands the stage with charm, nonchalance, and a subtle amount of ego that somehow buoys his likability...Director Jerry Zaks attempts to sharpen the play's edges with high camp and bombastic humor that only occasionally lands with the comedic impact it's aiming for...If you hold on long enough, you might pick up a few thought-provoking ideas that are applicable to the non-playwrights that roam among us. Sadly, I jumped ship before."
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BroadwayWorld
March 19th, 2019

“In his absurdist romp,’Nantucket Sleigh Romp', playwright Guare, throws plenty of madness his ways...The playwright's newest harkens back to the unpredictably eccentric zaniness of his earlier 'The House of Blue Leaves'...Guare's wit and imagination is certainly attention-grabbing, and comedy master Zaks is working with a terrific ensemble that dives right in. If the parts don't appear to amount to anything substantial, well, this one's more about the ride than the destination.”
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Lighting & Sound America
April 15th, 2019

"It's what you write when you don't know what to write...Jerry Zaks' direction earns several substantial laughs as the sliding doors on the triple-tier upstage wall of David Gallo's set reveal yet another eccentric intruder intent on driving Mundie away from his work...'Nantucket Sleigh Ride' is really a kind of carryall containing a load of stray plot devices that Guare has strenuously, but unsuccessfully, attempted to arrange into a coherent and amusing pattern."
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Talkin' Broadway
March 18th, 2019

"Less a deep dive into terra incognita than it is a quite funny and surprisingly heartwarming memory play...Happily, director Jerry Zaks also does a wonderful job of keeping the entire enterprise floating on air as the story unfolds farce-like on David Gallo's set...If you allow the plot to unravel of its own accord, you'll find that the ride is fast and fun and tenderhearted without triggering any sort of mental whiplash."
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New York Stage Review
March 18th, 2019

"A fitfully entertaining two-act caper, the essential and disappointing problem with 'Nantucket Sleigh Ride' is that its antic story does not rise to a higher power...Perhaps a lesser playwright can get away with presenting such nonsense, but Guare is a true American master...That said, the smooth excellence of LCT’s production makes this relatively frivolous comedy eminently watchable."
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Theater News Online
March 18th, 2019

"The show, which reunites the author with director Jerry Zaks, just bobs along and then stops....The cast is game, and the production is good-looking...But plot strands never tie together in satisfying fashion. Guare seems to be chasing any number of themes – the complex and convoluted natures of memory, success and creativity. Or not. For all its smarts and high spirits, ‘Nantucket Sleigh Ride’ isn’t so much a whale of a tale. It’s one that got away.”
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TheaterScene.net
March 31st, 2019

“In his new play ‘Nantucket Sleigh Ride’ now at Lincoln Center Theater's Mitzi E. Newhouse, he has returned to his absurdist roots with a wild comedy, configured in the form of a memory play by a former playwright which returns him to the summer of 1975. With a cast led by John Larroquette, Will Swenson and Douglas Sills, the play initially has a fascinating premise but goes off the deep end in its second half. Don't blame the actors who work very hard to try to keep the play on the rails.”
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Theater Pizzazz
March 18th, 2019

"But ultimately, Guare provides us more than an electrocuted lobster or hastily order pizza to whet our appetites. He offers real food for thought about the importance of memory, the loss of innocence, the desire to create and the need to do the right thing. There's both whimsy and wisdom in 'Nantucket Sleigh Ride,' making this unusual work more than just another day at the beach."
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CurtainUp
March 25th, 2019

"There are moments in this zany comedy that merit applause but the work on the whole is unfulfilled and lacks a clear-cut focus. That said, it comes to us in a remarkably fine production...As always, Guare displays his flair for creating lively scenes and odd-ball characters...But 'Nantucket Sleigh Ride' on the whole remains a confusing, talky play that loses its dramatic momentum by trailing off in too many directions."
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Front Row Center
March 19th, 2019

“Zaks knows just how to build comedy without forcing it; keeping the energy flowing without rushing his actors or letting them fall...Not one cue is dropped; not one comedic moment left unexploited...’Nantucket Sleigh Ride’ is a whale of a show. The script is well written, but the secret to the play’s success lies in the brilliant performances of a perfectly cast group of actors. In less intelligent hands the sleigh wouldn’t dash through the waves with such success.”
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Exeunt Magazine
March 19th, 2019

"The lively, madcap and, at times, whimsical tale is like an oceanic roller coaster...The plot is convoluted with as many near disasters and sudden twists as a real Nantucket sleigh ride...The last scenes, however, descend into a feebler and flatter conclusion than the rip-roaring romp with a surfeit of funny characters, stellar performances, and witty turns of phrase that came before...The result is a ride that ends less spectacularly."
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T
March 25th, 2019

"What makes this production entertaining is the incredible cast led by veteran John Larroquette...The utmost effort of the cast and creative team cannot overcome the pitch and roll of this tumultuous ride that never dives beneath the surface to discover the meaning of the contrived story. There must be hidden treasures of wit and wisdom buried somewhere in the script but they fail to be discovered in this current production."
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New York Theater
March 23rd, 2019

"A mostly comic tale of ambition, neglect, corruption and deception that has far too many twists and teases and tumult to hazard even a brief outline...The absurdity is paired with a carefully crafted plot that is like a mystery or a thriller...Guare tempers the slickly urbane tone, devilish wit and surreal imagination with an undercurrent of melancholy...Jerry Zaks directs 'Nantucket Sleigh Ride' with the same comic verve and efficiency as he did Guare’s previous plays."
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Theatre's Leiter Side
March 23rd, 2019

"Energetically performed but comically jumbled, thinly entertaining…Wild as the trip sounds, the whale its chasing is laughter, and, despite a highly qualified cast, the response is rarely more than mild amusement, not hilarity…Too often, the actors are forced to go overboard for laughs, and too few traces of real wit are available…A polished production but it carries too much absurdist blubber to make its pursuit more than momentarily worthwhile."
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Times Square Chronicles
March 21st, 2019

"Wonderfully directed by Jerry Zaks, with a dream cast that is lead by the ever talented John Larroquette. This play is so absurd that you will wonder who spiked the kool-aid and why weren’t you given any...Larroquette's deadpan delivery is perfect for Guare’s humor and at times this play has lines that are rather hysterical...Zaks is clearly having a good time with this material and brings wonderful nuances from his perfect cast. I just found this play too convoluted."
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Gotham Playgoer
March 24th, 2019

“Despite the best efforts of a first-rate cast, an ingenious set, great costumes and smooth direction, this quirky play never really takes off. There are several amusing moments, but they don’t lead anywhere...Chaos ensues as the various plot strands bump against each other without satisfactory resolution...While the play is intermittently amusing, there is little point to it. While I was grateful for the chance to see Larroquette, Sills and Swenson onstage together, I left disappointed.”
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The Wrap
March 18th, 2019

"Larroquette is a magnificent narrator...While attempting to follow the first act’s ever-twisting plot, however, one’s mind may drift to incidental problems with the play and its production. For starters, Jerry Zaks’ direction emphasizes the farcical situations, but most of the eye-popping performances are merely manic and not remotely amusing."
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Stage Left
March 27th, 2019

“Lincoln Center Theater presents a strange, funny, and somewhat confounding new comedy by esteemed playwright John Guare that is a bizarre romp through the recesses of memory and the meaning of story. Tautly told and energetically performed, the play remains entertaining, though incomplete—a great whale that Mr. Guare has harpooned for audiences to follow in our own ‘Nantucket Sleigh Ride’.”
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Daily Beast
March 18th, 2019

"There is no need to outline the maze-like series of absurdities and twists the play takes, but you may wonder—like my seat neighbor—what the point of all it was (even when a lobster is electrocuted in one standout scene). The clash of real and surreal makes investing in the characters that much more tricky; the children just seem fantastically odd."
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Newsday
March 18th, 2019

"The play, directed with a keen handle on Guare's wry humor by Jerry Zaks, can get perplexing at times, as these characters come and go in Gowery's imagination. Larroquette is in fine form...Ultimately, there's no point in trying to make too much sense of this fascinating exploration of memory and imagination. Better to just sit back and enjoy the crazy ride."
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Third Coast Review
March 24th, 2019

"A farce, a puzzle and a jumble of pop culture references with a lot of laughs, and it may leave you feeling unglued...Zaks steers this whole story at manic speed...The play runs just under two hours with one unnecessary intermission. Cut 10 minutes from the longish first act and ‘Nantucket Sleigh Ride’ could be a 90-minute wonder.”
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