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Ripcord

Members say: Great acting, Funny, Clever, Entertaining, Delightful
79
Critics
71
29 reviews
Members
82
73 reviews
 

Manhattan Theatre Club presents a a high-stakes comedy by Pulitzer Prize winning author David Lindsay-Abaire about two women of a certain age locked in a no-holds-barred battle to the death.

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When the cantankerous Abby is forced to share her desirable room in the Bristol Place Assisted Living Facility with new-arrival Marilyn, she has no choice but to get rid of the infuriatingly chipper woman by any means necessary. A seemingly harmless bet between the old women quickly escalates into a dangerous game of one-upmanship that reveals not just the tenacity of these worthy opponents, but also deeper truths that each would rather remain hidden. Starring Emmy Award winner and Tony Award nominee Holland Taylor and directed by Tony and Emmy Award winner David Hyde Pierce.

 

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Reviews (102)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
71
Avg Score

65
The New York Times

"For a play centered on a seemingly irreconcilable conflict, 'Ripcord' sustains a low tension level...Some theatergoers may leave 'Ripcord' with a faint, nagging hunger for more substance. At one point, Marilyn, asked about why she never gets mad, says, 'It always leads to an ugly place, and I don’t care for ugly places.' For better or worse, this production seems to share that attitude." Full Review

80
Theatermania

"A combination of witty writing, memorable performances, and smart direction ensures that there's something for everyone in this laugh-out-loud comedy overflowing with massive amounts of heart...You would have to try really hard not to enjoy 'Ripcord.'" Full Review

65
Variety

"The writer has come up with an amiable if simplistic crowdpleaser, in the form of a duel of wits between 'odd couple' roommates in an assisted living facility. Although smartly directed by David Hyde Pierce, the slender sitcom hangs for dear life on the appeal of its engaging stars." Full Review

80
Time Out New York

"The great fun of David Lindsay-Abaire’s tastily sweet-and-sour 'Ripcord' lies in watching the marvelous Taylor and Burke dig their heels into this stand-off. Solidly crafted, the play is not unpredictable, but it’s larded with moments of surprise...Beyond the high jinks, 'Ripcord' offers a compelling look at the pleasure of a challenge and the challenge of finding pleasure." Full Review

70
New York Magazine / Vulture

"You expect more from the playwright David Lindsay-Abaire, and you get it. The author of comedy-dramas that toy with sitcom expectations but then veer elsewhere, he is obviously riffing on television templates like 'The Golden Girls...' Admittedly, this stuff goes on a bit too long. But after upping the ante on the women’s incompatibility for a half hour, the play is ready to take a surprising leap." Full Review

90
The Huffington Post

"Two hours of unrestrained, loopy, rip-roaring comedy...The success of 'Ripcord,' though, stems from the playwright. Rather than simply coming up with a clever situation featuring likably difficult characters, Lindsay-Abaire takes the action in unexpected directions which pay off in grand, comic manner." Full Review

90
Cultural Weekly

"Author David Lindsay-Abaire combines comedy with pathos for realistic depiction of life where the line between hilarity and heartache blur...Director David Hyde-Pierce and the cast led by a razor-sharp Holland Taylor as Abby and sweet-but-tough Marylouise Burke as Marilyn tread a fine line between laughter and tears, achieving the perfect balance between the two. Slapstick is cheek by jowl with sorrow and it works." Full Review

60
Lighting & Sound America

"If 'Ripcord' never really decides what kind of play it wants to be, there is the pleasure of seeing two accomplished pros at work. It's too bad that Lindsay-Abaire can't quite extricate himself from the confines of the standard odd-couple formula. Surprisingly, it is most entertaining in its wildest, least-credible moments. Otherwise, the element of surprise is missing; as soon as the author puts his conflict in place, it's all too clear how it will end up." Full Review

65
New York Theatre Guide

"The night is not a waste by any means. We are surprised more than once as the plot and these two women pick up steam. And the performances, with the exception of a few blown lines, are pure pleasure. This is a play that entertains without making you think too much. David Hyde Pierce’s direction is solid and unaffected. Still, you may leave the theatre as I did, wanting just a bit more from these two complex women." Full Review

80
The Huffington Post

"Playwright David Lindsay-Abaire has opted here to pleasantly entertain, rather than challenge his audience. He does, however, make some interesting observations about age...Sure, there are some predictable sitcom moments, but they are funny. As directed by David Hyde Pierce, 'Ripcord' shows age doesn't wither invective. And it pushes each lead's specific talent. No one can deliver a snobbish aside better than Taylor, while Burke's zippy simplicity hides canniness." Full Review

40
The Hollywood Reporter

"This is a lazy piece of writing without the freshness or bite of plays, recycling familiar situations while failing to settle on a definitive tone...While there's no shortage of funny lines and inspired moments in director David Hyde Pierce's production, there's also an air of fatigue about the script, giving the dispiriting impression that Lindsay-Abaire either banged it out in a hurry or rescued it from a bottom drawer." Full Review

60
Talkin' Broadway

"He's taken a comedic premise that would seem primed for stage-shaking laughter, and delivered something that gets at best a strong handful of hearty chuckles and a few fuzzy feels. Rest assured, there's no danger that any tickers will stop ticking at this one...Although there's plenty to like in 'Ripcord,' it's more notable for what it lacks." Full Review

80
Deadline

"With 'Ripcord,' David Lindsay-Abaire adds a new odd couple to the long list of embraceable yous with the deeply satisfying and vastly entertaining story of Abby Binder and Marilyn Dunne, two elderly women thrown together by a comic cosmic force possessed of a wicked sense of humor...A show to treasure." Full Review

35
New York Daily News

"A bet that spins out of control is a sitcom staple and, now, the crux of 'Ripcord,' a non-essential and not very funny new comedy...That the author tries to wring chuckles out of senior citizen spewing profanity is shockingly uninspired. In the end in the play, a winner gets what she desires. Audience members hoping for substantial laughter and impact from 'Ripcord' are left wanting." Full Review

75
CurtainUp

"It's easy to see why Lindsay-Abaire wrote 'Ripcord' for Mary Louise Bourke. The part is made to order for her idiosyncratic charm. With his odd-couple style roommate arrangement, the playwright has not only paved the way for some of Ms. Burke's over the top comic business, but has made 'Ripcord' a two-star vehicle...There's really no big surprise as to how things will turn out. Still, it's all lots of fun." Full Review

80
Bob's Theater Blog

"David Lindsay-Abaire has a new addition to his long string of successes at Manhattan Theatre Club...The resolution was a bit disappointing...All in all, it’s a very entertaining, but not very substantial work." Full Review

65
The Wrap

"At the core of 'Ripcord' is a Lifetime movie struggling to escape the quirky trappings of David Lindsay-Abaire‘s comedy...Director David Hyde-Pierce makes the most of these theatrical flourishes, as well as a few others, to distract you from the basic premise...Lindsay-Abaire turns some of the schmaltzier moments on their head, and things turn out to be not as they first appear." Full Review

60
Newsday

"Pulitzer-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire and actor-turned-director David Hyde Pierce bring their professionalism and comic timing -- but little credible justification -- to 'Ripcord.' This is a good-natured formula comedy about a female odd couple in an assisted living facility...Everyone is very good but, we have to ask what is all this talent doing in this sitcom?" Full Review

90
CitiTour

"David Lindsay-Abaire’s inventive and often hilarious new work...He has created a clever set-up and an even better follow-through…The actors need to compete with the stagecraft, a clever set by Alexander Dodge that seamlessly goes back and forth between the ladies’ well-appointed living quarters and a variety of other locations. Good as it is, the actors win: especially the deliciously haughty Taylor and the delightfully daffy Burke. I could easily watch them for a half-hour every week!" Full Review

80
NorthJersey.com

"You can figure out pretty quickly where 'Ripcord' will end up. The trip, though, is full of surprises and lots of silly fun...Under the droll direction of David Hyde Pierce, it mixes farce and sentimentality, blends witty lines with loopy settings and even has a few minutes of serious drama. It's very lightweight, and hard to resist." Full Review

60
WNBC

"It helps immeasurably that the two stars of Lindsay-Abaire’s heavily contrived play, are Marylouise Burke and Holland Taylor. Both are gems... As 'Ripcord' progresses—the uneven direction is by David Hyde Pierce—the two ladies play a series of escalating pranks on one another, jokes that cross over early into the painful and cruel." Full Review

90
Theatre is Easy

"I roared with laughter along with the rest of the audience. The humor that Lindsay-Abaire writes is thoughtful and intelligent. Somehow he manages to take dark and serious themes and turn them into peculiarly amusing situations...It is inappropriate and wonderful." Full Review

40
Broadway & Me

"I sat silently, with my mind wandering off to which leftovers I'd warm up when I got home after the show. I can't blame the acting for my inattention cause it's terrific all-around...It's the pranks that draw the laughs and David Hyde Pierce has staged them with an intentional cheesiness that keeps the first act popping along. In time, though, the pranks become more sharp-edged, prompting revelations, reconciliations and a sentimental ending that makes 'Ripcord' too saccharine for my palate." Full Review

75
Theater Pizzazz

"It’s bing, bam, boom wit and clever direction by David Hyde Pierce as this fast-paced comedy moves through two acts. And as much as you tend to love the perky Marilyn, you would enjoy some moments of quiet. Of course, there are some more serious issues that come to the fore; aging, loneliness, heartbreak but they’re left lurking under the surface. You can’t go wrong spending a night with Abby and Marilyn in 'Ripcord.' Full Review

80
DC Metro Theater Arts

"We laugh a lot but by intermission of this two act play I’d pretty much written it off as an extended sketch. But no, the author has something else in mind. The second act is the play grown out of its adolescence, and though it has surprises that make us laugh, it’s the work of a fine craftsman, able to give his play substance and tenderness." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
82
Avg Score

60
Banal, Cliched, Unpleasant, Uninsightful, Great lead actresses

See it if you want to see two outstanding actors wasted on inferior material. Burke and Taylor are terrific, but the script is annoyingly insipid.

Don't see it if you require a funny/smart script. I was absorbed by the performances, but repelled by the story. Such a shame!

88
Funny, Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Quirky

See it if you want to watch 2 master craftswomen - Holland Taylor & Mary Louise Burke - spar in brilliantly mad cap ways.

Don't see it if the setting of an assisted living facility disturbs or unnerves, or if you don't enjoy entirely outrageous(ly enjoyable) plot twists

75
Great acting, Witty

See it if you want to see two powerhouses alternating between hilarious and heartbreaking.

Don't see it if you don't like anything having to do with family drama.

88
Funny, Great acting, Great writing

See it if If you love great actresses in great comedic roles.

Don't see it if You are with a theater group from your retirement home.

81
Original, Refreshing, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if you want a good laugh.

Don't see it if can't suspend your disbelief.

60
Cliched, Predictable, Repetitive

See it if you like Nancy Meyers movies. You like the two lead actresses and want to see them on stage.

Don't see it if you're not part of MTC's older subscriber base. Play goes on for longer than it needs to without entertainment value or plot justifying it.

83
Funny, Clever, Great acting, Quirky, Insipid

See it if You like cute, fluffy plays that are stupidly funny, but well acted.

Don't see it if You can't stand plays that don't have heft to them.

83
Funny, Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining

See it if You'd be interested in a hysterical but also ultimately heartwarming play of geriatric one-upmanship.

Don't see it if You don't like to have fun at the theatre!

80
Funny, Great acting, Quirky, Cliched, Entertaining

See it if you love sitcoms and all the cliches that come along with them.

Don't see it if you want something that feels totally original.

79
Great acting, Refreshing, Entertaining

See it if For the great acting and the chemistry between Burke and Taylor.

Don't see it if Awww, just see it, it was even better than I thought it would be.

89
Funny, Clever, Great acting, Relevant, Hilarious

See it if You like great acting, humor. A play about older women -- you'll view these characters very differently when you leave than at the start.

Don't see it if You don't like quirky characters.

68
Great acting, Quirky, Disappointing, Cliched

See it if You don't mind theatre that is very close to tv sitcom. A waste of good talent.

Don't see it if You want a worthwhile theatre experience.

94
Funny, Absorbing, Clever

See it if You want a great play from Mr. Lindsay-Abaire!

Don't see it if you can't laugh at the absurd.

85
Original, Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Hilarious

See it if you want to see two fantastic actresses engaged in hilarious hijinks!

Don't see it if you don't like comedy that is a little bit over the top.

88
Funny, Original, Absorbing, Relevant

See it if You want to see two theater pros riffing off each other, a very funny plot and strong supporting performances.

Don't see it if You're age-ist or you're looking for profound messages.

64
Great acting, Disappointing, Cliched

See it if Even two wonderful actors couldn't save this lazy play by David Lindsey-Abaire who should have known better. Story not surprising and boring

Don't see it if You wan to see ecellent playwriting and a believable story.

70
Great acting, Quirky, Entertaining

See it if you're a fan of the actresses and you are not afraid of haunted houses.

Don't see it if you do not like old people.

85
Funny, Clever, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if You enjoy a small ensemble show with an excellent cast; a funny (occasionally zany) script with poignant moments about senior issues.

Don't see it if You are expecting deep, nuanced and edgy theater.

78
Funny, Delightful, Great acting, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if u want to be pleasantly surprised after ?? reviews. I was w/ this one, big time. I loved it. And the cast is "spot-on." MaryLouise Burke!

Don't see it if I'm struggling here. What...you want DEATH OF A SALESMAN every time out? This is delightful. LiKe theater? See it. Title means? Find out.

95
Funny, Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Hilarious

See it if You're in the mood for a comedy, and like sassy old ladies.

Don't see it if You want something big and epic.

90
Funny, Clever, Great acting, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if You love to see great actresses perform with very witty script

Don't see it if You don't want to laugh

84
Funny, Delightful, Relevant

See it if you want to get an insiders view of assisted living with some laughs.

Don't see it if you can't bear to see yourself in this position when you are old.

90
Funny, Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Hilarious

See it if you want a funny and poignant evening in the theater with two great actors

Don't see it if you don't like stories about old people.

36
Banal, Cliched, Overrated, Slow, Sit-com

See it if you are fans of the two actresses in the leading roles. Also, if you like a watered-down version of "The Odd Couple" for women.

Don't see it if you don't like sit-coms masquerading as theatre.

84
Funny, Clever, Quirky, Cliched

See it if you like 90s sitcoms.

Don't see it if you don't want to laugh.