New York | 1h 50m | Already closed

Party Face

From 20 critic and 220 member 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'). More…

You're invited to a party that’s full of surprises. Watch as careful plans are upended when a young woman's mother brings her own food to her daughter's party—and also the “right” person to be her daughter's new best friend. They put on their "party faces" and hope for the best, but when facades crack, secrets spill. Tears sprinkle and laughter roars as their revelry leads to revelations.

Front Row Center

"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

Stage Buddy

"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." Full Review

Woman Around Town

"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." Full Review


“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.” Full Review

New York Daily News

"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.'" Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"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." Full Review

Daily Beast

"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." Full Review

Broadway Blog

“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.” Full Review

Wolf Entertainment Guide

"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." Full Review

Epoch Times

"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." Full Review

This Week in New York Blog

"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." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"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." Full Review

The New York Times

"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." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

The Observer

"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." Full Review

Delightful, Clever, Great acting, Relevant

See it if Haley Mills- Icon. I wish this show was still running, I'd have seen it a dozen times!

Don't see it if I have no cons about this production.

Delightful, Funny, Great acting, Must see, Entertaining

See it if Love the way your mom might have mothered you and you can relate. Totally absorbing and funny. Great acting. A must see. Loved it.

Don't see it if If you don't like humor.

Clever, Delightful, Funny, Great acting, Great writing

See it if you want to bring awareness instead of stigma to mental health in a funny and relatable way and enjoy the dynamics between Irish women

Don't see it if you don't enjoy mother-daughter stories or thoughtful exploration of mental health

Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Absorbing, Relevant

See it if You like slow, but relevant theater

Don't see it if You like light comedies, this is more of a dramedy

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

See it if You want to see the inner struggles of a mother and her relationship with her daughters.

Don't see it if You don’t enjoy Irish drama

Entertaining, Funny, Riveting, Relevant, Intelligent

See it if You want to have a fun evening.

Don't see it if You are looking for a love story.

Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Funny, Hilarious

See it if You want a nice night out to laugh

Don't see it if just see it

Funny, Entertaining, Well acted

See it if We enjoyed the show and had seen the lead in another show. We were delighted to see her in another very different role ... we are fans!

Don't see it if I think it was a real venue for women. About women and their relationships. With spouse, with mothers, with other women.

Absorbing, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Riveting

See it if You like well acted, honest plays around the faces we put on and what it takes to get real. Intimate setting and very well

Don't see it if You don’t like stories that touch on mental illness. This is very well done.

Delightful, Entertaining, Funny, Refreshing, Great staging

See it if With all female cast & director.Irish comedy set in Dublin. Family drama at its best with not stop funniness. Cast excellent. Edgy & kooky

Don't see it if You don't like profanity

Also Tonite was FAN nite. I bought a shirt and entire cast + director signe... Read more Read less

Hilarious, Great writing, Great acting, Entertaining, Delightful

See it if You have a dysfunctional family--or part of your family is dysfunctional--or you know a controlling mother.

Don't see it if You don't like shows about family dynamics.

Funny, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if How could I pass up seeing Hayley Mills on stage after loving her since I first saw her “The Parent Trap,” in 1961?

Don't see it if you need to see men in a cast.

Also The production was enjoyable with a cast that was talented and well di... Read more Read less

Hearty party

See it if Oscar winner Mills heads a tight ensemble. Costigan is great as troubled daughter. Meaney is a hoot as her sister. White is glam and sexy.

Don't see it if Offered a side seat or must pay retail.

Also How is flawless Mills 71 when she barely looks sixty? Her voice is pur... Read more Read less

Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Great staging, Indulgent

See it if You love Hayley Mills, intimate gatherings and spaces in theatre and otherwise, and plays with a softer edge.

Don't see it if You like big musicals and dislike stories about dysfunctional families.

Great acting, Absorbing, Quirky, Thought-provoking

See it if You are a Haley Mills fan. If you like plays about mother-daughter relationship. You like well acted and quirky dramas with excellent acting

Don't see it if you don't like dysfunctional family dramas entirely about women and their feelings.

Funny, Clever, Quirky

See it if you want laughs, you want something that requires your attention, but never gets too intense, and you want to see Hayley Mills. It's fun!

Don't see it if you're seeking Ibsen, Shaw, Pinter, or Williams. It's a classic "let's have a party and see what happens" play, but it has some good twists.

Clever, Great acting, Entertaining, Hilarious, Relevant

See it if you like like great acting, want to laugh and cry. Hayley Mills and all the actresses are terrific. A funny and insightful play.

Don't see it if you don't like women's issues. don't have a sense of humor.

Funny, Absorbing, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if you're a fan of Hayley Mills and want to see an enjoyable dramedy.

Don't see it if you have trouble understanding accents.If it were a movie, I'd describe it as a chick flick so not sure men would enjoy it as much as women.

Great acting, Hilarious, Entertaining, Fluffy

See it if You enjoy a touching comedy, great acting. The title says it all - put on a Party Face no matter what. It succeeded for me. It was a hoot.

Don't see it if Want a serious examination of suicide and depression .

Hilarious, Great acting, Intelligent, Entertaining, Clever

See it if Special thanks to the lady who put this show together and the wonderful FOOD and WINE she offered for the ending .It was a true party.

Don't see it if N/A

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.

Delightful, Funny, Great acting

See it if You emjoy a comic family plot

Don't see it if you have trouble understanding British and Irish accents

Funny, Witty, Good roles for women

See it if You enjoy seeing women in rich, complex roles and coming to terms with messy lives. And if you always loved Hayley Mills & want to see her!

Don't see it if You aren't interested in the complicated details of women's lives and mothers and daughters.

Humorous, Darker-underside could stand to emerge more often, Female-centric, Well-acted, Sometimes trite

See it if you like intimate, unglitzy work that is mostly fun and frothy but with fierce human longing beneath the surface; invested in women's lives.

Don't see it if expecting truly rousing, groundbreaking work; seeking only froth; cheating spouses / broken marriages and nervous breakdowns are triggering.

Also In many ways, Party Face isn’t anything too special, although the kern... Read more Read less

Clever, Funny, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if I wore headphones. It helped with the accents. A wonderful fun romp. Hayley is delightful. The cast is very good. Funny bits with a quirky c

Don't see it if If you have trouble with an Irish English accent this can be a challenge

Cast & Creatives (14)