Party Face
Closed 1h 50m
Party Face

Party Face NYC Reviews and Tickets

(220 Reviews)
Members say
Funny, Entertaining, Great acting, Disappointing, Cliched

About the Show

This bitingly honest Irish comedy about the lengths we go to convince people we’ve got it all together, makes its US premiere at City Center in a production starring Hayley Mills ('Pollyanna,' 'The Parent Trap').

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Member Reviews (220)

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Funny, Entertaining, Fluffy, Nice set, Well paced

See it if You like television sitcoms. This is just believable enough to be a fun bit of fluff to escape in for a bit that ends up with some depth.

Don't see it if You’re looking for a show with great meaning or that will change your life.

Shallow, Entertaining, Fine acting, Fluffy

See it if you seek an easy, feel-good (& sober, at times) sitcom-on-stage, featuring nice performances, especially from the ever-charming Hayley Mills

Don't see it if you expect a laugh-a-minute comedy or you expect any heft from this rather predictable, broad, run-of-the-mill family dramedy.

Banal, Cliched, Slow, Quirky, Well acted

See it if Nothing really gels in this "feminist"- styled comedy (?) Well appointed & acted but the serio-comic situations fail; an extended sketch

Don't see it if Always sad to see a talented ensemble (esp Mills & understudy Cimmet) flounder at sea; even sadder when the lack of laughter is palpable

Entertaining, Dated, Unadventurous, Well-acted, Funny

See it if you are a boomer & as a kid Hayley Mills was your fantasy British big sister.

Don't see it if you can take a pass on seeing an agreeable play that goes down as smooth as a sit-com (albeit one with a serious subject). Read more

Fluffy, Entertaining, Disappointing

See it if to cheque in on the radiant Hayley Mills, otherwise, there's not much here for 95 min of comedy fluff about a daughter sprung from the bin.

Don't see it if lighthearted treatment of mother/daughter relationships or recovery or mental health are of your concern.

Amusing, Disappointing, Fluffy, Insipid, Sitcom material

See it if you enjoy TV sitcoms with typical characters: the overbearing mom, the mousy sister, the strong sister, the crazy friend, the sexy neighbor.

Don't see it if you hate sitcoms, you dislike attempts at humor which fall flat. You may find yourself chuckling in spite of it all, but play has no depth.

Great acting, Fluffy, Disappointing

See it if You want to see Haley Mills. She still has it. Otherwise a few good laughs in a sitcom like plot.

Don't see it if You want anything more than light weight entertainment.

Relevant, Resonant, Funny, Great acting, Relatable

See it if you enjoy family-centered comedy-dramas, you appreciate female-driven stories, you’re a Hayley Mills fan &/or you enjoyed the film Lady Bird

Don't see it if reliving all the times your mother’s praise came w/a stinging criticism tacked on the end would be too traumatic. Actually, see it anyway.

Critic Reviews (20)

The New York Times
January 23rd, 2018

"An unlikely comedy...What's strange about the play, which is written in a realistic style, is how implausible it all seems...Each character is made to move and speak in ways that contradict even a passing knowledge of human behavior and reap only sporadic laughs...There are glimmers of a state-of-the-nation play here, in which shiny surfaces mask the dissatisfaction underneath...The actresses appear to be enjoying themselves...At least someone is having a good time."
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The Observer
January 29th, 2018

"Collapses quickly into a pile of soggy canapés along with the five poorly-written but gamely-acted women guests...One hour and 50 minutes of meaningless babble while everyone pours wine and nibbles olives, stringing words together just so the audience won’t feel alone...One waits tiresomely for a shred of insight or some ray of revelation, but the characters remain stubbornly superficial...The cast is fine, even if nothing any of the women do feels real or remotely believable."
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New York Daily News
January 22nd, 2018

"As a Bechdel test case, it comes up short. But as a comedy, the Off-Broadway production squeaks by...Another big plus: It’s a treat seeing Hayley Mills...The cast does a good job navigating the script’s whiplash tonal shifts from goofy and raunchy to tender and stone-cold sober...It’s also odd that topics are broached but left unexplored, such as Carmel’s fading memory. But in the end, it's a modest but fun 'Party.'"
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January 22nd, 2018

"Despite taking place in present-day Dublin, 'Party Face' feels out of touch with contemporary sensibilities and seems to be on the wrong side the ongoing conversation about women's rights. Mahon traffics in stereotypes...That Bearse has directed television is very apparent throughout. The character work is broad and unnatural, and perhaps a director with more stage experience could have coaxed performances that were more multifaceted out of this company."
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Lighting & Sound America
January 25th, 2018

"Mills is a delight...The girl of your youthful moviegoing has matured into a fine high-comedy technician...However, she is starring in a vulgar sitcom that is inferior to much of what one can currently find on network television...The cast works hard, trying to enliven characters who, stylistically, are all over the map...Maybe this familiar laughter-and-tears cocktail and the presence of Mills will be enough...Personally, however, I think Mollie's husband was smart to flee this party."
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Talkin' Broadway
January 22nd, 2018

"Unfortunately, there is little more to commend this feather-light play that only rarely moves beyond insipid sitcom mode even when, upon occasion, it attempts to deal with serious domestic issues...The cast members embrace their sketchy roles with all the style and grace they can muster...But what the production sorely needs is to find a balance between a tone of dark (not silly) humor and its potentially insightful examination of the conflicts that have shaped these women's lives."
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January 31st, 2018

“The best reason to see Isobel Mahon's ‘Party Face’ is to see the ever-lovely Hayley Mills who used to play mischievous teens and now is playing busy-body mothers. The play is diverting though it has nothing new to say about women and their contemporary roles. Under Amanda Bearse's direction, the play also gives Klea Blackhurst another off-beat comic role in which she shines.”
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Theater Pizzazz
January 22nd, 2018

"Plays out more like a very special episode of some TV sitcom than any sort of truly illuminating family drama. But it’s equally inarguable that the work provides some good laughs, relatable situations, and, above all, the chance for five actresses – led by the still-radiant Hayley Mills – to dig their teeth into this so-so material, all of which adds up to a watchable evening of theater."
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Front Row Center
February 20th, 2018

"The actors are pitch perfect. The characters all hiding secrets and truths that make their way to the light by desire or force and most definitely humor...Mae is a vision to behold...Blackhurst as Bernie is rock steady hilarity...White turns the Chloe character into an interesting person and not a stock character...Mills is bloody grand...Some of the slapstick felt staged and pushed, but a minor detail to an evening of darn good theatre. Go and laugh and listen and enjoy."
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Stage Buddy
January 23rd, 2018

"A clever, astute new play...A strong, insightful play about who women are behind their party faces, even while other women are encouraging them to keep that party face front and center...The cast is all women...This keeps the focus on women's relationships to each other...This is one show for which everyone should put on their party face and immediately buy a ticket for themselves and a friend."
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February 17th, 2018

"Unfortunately this party is too predictable and plays more like a simple sitcom sans substance or stability...The script undermines the important relevant core issue of survival and diminishes significant topics with contrived absurd humor. Bearse moves the action along at a steady clip but can do little to overcome the pedestrian script which deteriorates quickly...What should have been a play that embraced the power and courage of women dwindles to a light fluffy comedy."
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Broadway Blog
February 14th, 2018

“Amanda Bearse…provides the appropriate sitcom pacing and physical shtick while drawing suitably comic performances from her well-oiled ensemble. The laughs aren't as frequent as you'd hear on TV but, given the familiarity of the material, there are enough (mostly he-he's, with several ha-ha's, but too few ho-ho's) to satisfy high-tolerance playgoers. The play chugs along on track until it eventually runs out of steam; the trouble is there are still 15 minutes to go.”
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Wolf Entertainment Guide
February 16th, 2018

"Colorful acting makes Mahon's play more watchable than one might expect from the work itself and the author's set-up...The play has its serious side...But the author also tries to turn the play into a comedy...The mix is odd and shallow, leaving it to cast members to bear the burden of providing amusement via their acting. The venerable Ms. Mills does very well in this respect...She can be very effective now at the age of 71. Mills earns her hearty welcome."
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January 28th, 2018

"Mahon’s play is fast, fierce, and entertaining even though less than 'new' and sometimes unbelievable...Mills is svelte, sharp, and immensely appealing. Character is recognizable from speech and expression through movement...Bearse knows how to punctuate emotion, integrate comedy (both verbal and physical) and stage her players. There are as many clever moments as eruptions. Tears feel less real. Pacing is excellent."
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Daily Beast
January 22nd, 2018

"Slight but charming...The play errs on the side of mild rather than biting; it feels a gentle, rather than searing, deconstruction of a family crisis...Costigan’s excellent performance is the layered heart of the play...Meaney is also great as the protective Maeve...By the end, everyone’s 'party faces' turn out to be the most unnecessary masks, and that missing chunk of kitchen, expensive as it was, begins to look like the best kind of design trend."
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January 25th, 2018

"In her clever play Mahon examines how women’s dissimulations most often self-destruct with humorous results...The result is equally acerbic and identifiable...Director Bearse has successfully corralled her actors to seamlessly work this ensemble piece with joy and verve...Isobel Mahon’s comedy, fired up by an excellent cast, well directed by Amanda Bearse, leaves the audience rollicking with laughter. But for the enunciation issues, the must-see production delights."
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February 11th, 2018

"There’s a good amount of fun to be had...But there’s also something just a little bit off, detracting from the overall impact of the play...Bearse keeps all the characters busy, although some of the slapstick is too forced...Several of the late revelations come out of thin air, attempting to explain some of the interactions between Carmel and her daughters, but it reduces the energy, which is perhaps most evident in the ever-present chunk missing from Mollie’s marble kitchen island."
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February 28th, 2018

"The play Hayley's headlining in is a rather wan affair...One-liners that don't quite land, and zingers that don't zing...Bearse gets the actors through their paces in brisk fashion to the play's somewhat upbeat conclusion about self-acceptance, but she also seems to have pushed them - or let them slip -- into occasional caricatures, losing any sense of reality and dimming the intended fun...As Pollyanna might say, better luck next time, Ms. Mills."
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Epoch Times
January 27th, 2018

"Played almost entirely for laughs, the play's dialogue is peppered with backhanded compliments...Unfortunately, the play remains at the level of a television sitcom, with little opportunity for the audience to understand the characters...'Party Face' reminds me of a frothy desert. It tastes good initially, but by end, I found myself wishing for something more substantial. Cute and funny, with elements of something serious underneath, the work never rises to its full potential."
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February 24th, 2018

"Mills stars in Mahon's Irish comedy about a festivity that's full of surprises...While critical, controlling Connie holds center-stage throughout most of the forced gaiety that includes a conga line, the guest mix and mingle, trading barbs about men, marriage, mental health…and an unusual topiary...Now almost 72 years old, beguiling Ms. Mills deserves a better vehicle than this trifling two-act, occasionally clever cluster of clichéd canapes."
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