Already closed | 2h 40m | Chelsea

On the Shore of the Wide World

From 130 member  reviews
Members say: Slow, Great acting, Disappointing, Absorbing, Ambitious

About the show

Atlantic Theater Company presents the New York premiere of Simon Stephens’ Olivier Award-winning drama, an epic story about love, family, and the size of the galaxy. More…

'On the Shore of the Wide World' spans three generations of a suffering family. Eighteen-year-old Alex is preparing to introduce his girlfriend Sarah to his parents. His younger brother Christopher is immediately and completely smitten with her. Their parents, Alice and Peter, are unnerved by how quickly Alex has grown up. Peter’s father Charlie is mastering card tricks and keeping his smoking a secret from his long-suffering wife Ellen. Something is about to happen that will change all their lives irrevocably as the honest scenes of domestic family life melt to reveal a sad picture of disconnection, fragile relationships, and missed moments. Featuring Tony winner Blair Brown.

Member Reviews (130)


Slow, Great acting, Disappointing, Absorbing, Ambitious
Avg Score

Banal, Slow, Excruciating, Good acting, Listless

See it if you want to see some good ensemble acting (as uninteresting characters) in a sluggish, meandering, painfully slow, derivative family drama.

Don't see it if you expect to see an original, absorbing drama à la Simon Stephens' "Curious Incident..."

Absorbing, Great acting, Slow, Intelligent, Poignant

See it if Stephens' generational north England family portrait seen though a Chekhovian lens Well written & acted but prepare for lengthy plot line

Don't see it if With three generations to follow, some bear more interest than others. Accents can be a bit thick & staging gets a little stodgy

Great acting, Great staging, Slow, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to see these actors who were all terrific. However the play wasn’t that compelling. The set was interesting.

Don't see it if You want a fast paced drama. This is fairly slow and meandering. I usually like that sort of show if done well but somehow this didn’t gel

Also It was a little distracting that the all American cast was using Briti... Read more Read less

Great acting, Engaging, Disappointing, Intelligent, Needlessly long

See it if you like family dramas that are a few steps up from TV soap operas. Wonderful cast playing working class people in unfulfilled lives.

Don't see it if The cast is stymied by inconsistent British accents unlike anything I've heard before. 2 1/2 hours of vignettes keep the play superficial.

Also With major editing, better dialect coaching and fewer but longer scene... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Beautifully staged, Profound

See it if you enjoy talky English plays. This one is long, but I felt the evening flew by. Great ensemble work!

Don't see it if you have difficulty watching a play with very little action.

Also I really enjoyed Tedra Millan's performance—her character had the most... Read more Read less

Great acting, Entertaining, Slow, Great writing, Terrific cast

See it if You like family crisis dramas across generations;British accents;multiple plots at one time;Blair Brown;marriage strife

Don't see it if Trouble with accents; dislike spousal abuse stories;slow moving

Confusing, Cliched, Disappointing, Great acting, Great staging

See it if You can't find an interesting magazine to read.

Don't see it if Don't have to

Great acting, Disappointing, Slow, Great set

See it if you like terrific acting even if the story takes over 2 hours to go nowhere.I didn't much care for the characters.Plot felt contrived.

Don't see it if you want something fast paced.I wanted to get involved with the characters, but each 1 was on for too short a time for me to identify with

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Resonant, Thought-provoking

See it if you enjoy the old fashioned type of play that delves into characters and messy family relationship.

Don't see it if you prefer more lighthearted theater with tidy relationships and endings.

Great staging, Ambitious, Slow, Great acting

See it if you want to see a quiet drama about 3 generations of a family with many issues; a few touching moments especially at end

Don't see it if So many problems it seems like a soap opera. Despite frequently going from problem to problem (& one part of the set to another) it is slow

Also The actors are good in spite of the writing; the dialogue makes the pl... Read more Read less

Slow, Quirky, Cliched

See it if You enjoy dramas about family relationships and the trials of life.Good acting but slow and the lower class British accents may be a problem

Don't see it if You only enjoy musicals and simple dramas.

Absorbing, Intelligent, Resonant, Ambitious

See it if you like multi-generational family dramas, packed with complications.

Don't see it if you have a problem with accents (Northern English) and don't want to sit for two and a half hours.

Also I had a bit of a problem with the ending, which seemed to come rather ... Read more Read less

Banal, Disappointing, Slow, Boring,, Meh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

See it if you enjoy seeing talented actors suffer through a playwrights tortured work..

Don't see it if you are expecting to have an evening in the theater that you will talking about for the next few days.

Also Despite the plays' cast being headlined by veteran actress Blair Brown... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Slow

See it if you have the patience to see past what feels banal at first blush but underneath hides an interesting take on the struggle of life/death.

Don't see it if you are looking for speedy writing, desire a fast-paced plot, or if fluctuating accents or long-ish run times bother you

Disappointing, Overrated, Slow

See it if You like family dramas. The language is at times insightful.

Don't see it if I found this play too long and too slow.

Banal, Slow, Raunchy, Insipid, Indulgent

See it if You like family dramas where everyone has secrets. Some things you only find out much later (death of the other son).

Don't see it if You are looking for anything to happen. The actors were mostly good, however, some of them were obnoxious. Their lives were honest.

Also Tedra Millan shined as the girlfriend. Their lives seemed to reflect l... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Emotional, Slow

See it if you like family dramas

Don't see it if you dislike plays that explore familial interactions or that are downers

Also Like most plays that run over 2.5 hours, this could stand to be stream... Read more Read less

Structured like a film, Leisurely pace, Intermittently involving, Overlong

See it if you are willing to look at patterns of behavior rather than dramatic action; are sensitive to the play's undercurrents of pain & loneliness

Don't see it if you are impatient with scenes that appear to go nowhere; you want overt conflict to drive the narrative.

Also The play is like a European film that works by accretion of quotidian ... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Great acting, Slow

See it if Family drama and generational divide is the focus of this play by Simon Stephens. They made really good use of the space and unit set.

Don't see it if Long plays bore you

Slow, Disappointing, Great acting

See it if you want to see a talented group of actors come together to play a family.

Don't see it if you can be confused by a play with shifting times and feels very long.

Great writing, Intelligent, Resonant, Thought-provoking, Great acting

See it if you like plays with multigenerational casts, treatments of dysfunctional English families, themes of loneliness and finding happiness.

Don't see it if you have a difficult time understanding thick English accents, don't like dramas or plays about dysfunctional multigenerational families,

Ambitious, Disappointing, Slow

See it if You like explorations of family issues and don't mind seeing youthful angst on the stage.

Don't see it if You need your stories well worked out before they are staged. This play seemed to still be in the workshop stage.

Overrated, Slow

See it if slow to develop family drama where everyone has a secret; decent acting; nice set; underwhelmed; no uplifting take aways from production

Don't see it if you don't like family dramas; have work to figure out everyone's life secret to put puzzle together to make sense of the show

Disappointing, Excruciating, Overrated, Ben brantley is way off, Long, so very long

See it if You enjoy hearing characters say "sorry" to one another an inordinate number of times. You like bad north England accents. Long, very long..

Don't see it if Priorities R characters to root for & belief in developing a character before killing him off. You believe in showing and not telling.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if you want to see the most impressive acting ensemble currently in town in a very strong and moving family play

Don't see it if all you care about is originality of plot (as if that's still possible) and whether someone's foreign accent is perfect (who f-ing cares?)

Also Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about Ben Brantley. To be honest,... Read more Read less

September 12th, 2017
"A stealth heartbreaker…By the end…you’ve discovered that this dribbling, homespun prose has shaped itself into patterns of profound poetry, as if words in invisible ink had been held up to a flame…The assumed Mancunian accents, which don’t come naturally to most of the cast, are initially off-pu...
read more
September 12th, 2017
"A long and busy family soap opera, chopped into 42 short parts, that toggles between banality and implausible melodrama. Fuzzily directed by Neil Pepe, the production suggests an acting class performing an anthology: 'Scenes for British Actors, Volume 8'...Its original London incarnation, perhap...
read more
September 12th, 2017
“Stephens endeavors to weave threads of existential wonder and terror into the fabric of a workaday family drama. But at times…the experience can feel a bit like reading a novel in which someone has underlined a passage and written ‘THEME’ in the margin…When the play waxes poetic, we can start to...
read more
September 12th, 2017
“A slog to endure, at once dramatically overstuffed and curiously lifeless…The play’s staccato, episodic style proves off-putting…Some moments do resonate…But more often than not the short encounters seem to be over before anything interesting happens…Pepe accentuates the weaknesses of the writin...
read more

Related content