Closed 1h 40m
Shining City
Chelsea
76

Shining City NYC Reviews and Tickets

76%
(29 Reviews)
Positive
79%
Mixed
17%
Negative
4%
Members say
Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Slow, Intelligent

About the Show

Two-time Tony winner Matthew Broderick stars in the Irish Repertory Theatre's revival of Conor McPherson's psychological thriller about a man plagued by visions of his dead wife's ghost.

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Member Reviews (29)

85
Absorbing, Funny, Resonant, Intelligent, Insightful

See it if You would enjoy an excellent play about the struggles of middle aged people searching for connection, identity, and renewal.

Don't see it if You are looking for lighter material or something more appropriate for younger audiences.

75
Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Masterful, Slow

See it if you enjoy plays with good dialogue and very little action. Broderick is giving his best performance in eons. Kudos to the supporting cast!

Don't see it if you need a play with a lot of action. Also, if you can't focus on excellent writing.

Critic Reviews (22)

June 9th, 2016

"A great play being given an exemplary revival…Mr. Broderick turns in his most assured and affecting stage performance in years…It lacks the gooseflesh-raising quotient of earlier versions of the show I’ve seen…But in swapping dank shadows for a warming clarity, Mr. O’Reilly illuminates the poetic precision of Mr. McPherson’s accomplishment here and makes you realize anew why this Irish playwright is one of the finest dramatists writing in English."
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June 9th, 2016

"Broderick turns in a delicate, credible performance as John, a widower who has started seeing his wife’s ghost around the house...Director Ciarán O’Reilly’s production is lucid, tight and fluid, with Carter quietly terrific in a tricky role...A rich, unforgettable piece about projection and transference—both in the psychoanalytic and metaphysical sense—'Shining City' still casts a brilliant light."
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June 9th, 2016

"The drama is an actors' showcase, and it's here that the production falls short…Broderick never effectively conveys John's truly tortured soul, coming across as vaguely uncomfortable rather than anguished…Carter is much more effective as the similarly emotionally wounded therapist…The play's startling final moment packs as much of a punch as ever. But it's unlikely you'll come away from this 'Shining City' feeling nearly as haunted as you're supposed to feel."
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June 9th, 2016

"Four Dubliners face the living and the dread in this fine-tuned revival of McPherson’s moody modern ghost story. Broderick delivers star power and a moving performance as John, a guilt-racked widow. Carter anchors the drama as Ian, a troubled therapist juggling John, a girlfriend (Dwan) and a scruffy stranger (Russell). The prospect of being alone is scarier than any specter in the show."
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June 9th, 2016

"The play could use a renovation…Director Ciarán O'Reilly attempts to break up this glacier of text by having Broderick inexplicably stand up and move behind the couch at certain moments—it doesn't help. A fundamental problem remains: Hearing about other people's problems is so much less interesting than seeing them played out. Unfortunately, 'Shining City' is all tell and no show...The words are not enough to capture our imaginations, or even our full attention."
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June 10th, 2016

"If Broderick's stunningly seamless work seemingly dominates the evening, it is only the half of it...Under O'Reilly's sure-handed direction, the entire cast delivers superbly...It's exciting to see Irish Rep back in the business of presenting a production as revelatory as this. McPherson has been produced by several of New York's top theatre companies, but his work never shines so brightly as when brought to life by this troupe."
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June 9th, 2016

"The humanity beneath that spooky, ethereal shell is what makes the play work in the ways that matter most, and why, when treated with clear-eyed sensitivity, it's tough to screw up...All that stops this mounting from being as searingly effective as the memory-etching 2006 Broadway production is one partial, but crucial, case of miscasting...It's an intricate, messily elegant evening that ranks among McPherson's best...The weak link, sadly, is Broderick, though it's not for lack of trying."
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June 10th, 2016

"Broderick's characterization of this drab, depressed and tormented man is very moving and is a joyous case of riveting star/character acting...Set in contemporary Dublin, Mr. McPherson’s well-crafted and flavorfully Irish play rambles somewhat but is an intriguing blend of the spooky and the perceptively observed mundane. This accomplished revival hasn’t unearthed a neglected masterpiece but does provide for thoughtful entertainment containing marvelous performances."
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June 9th, 2016

"A haunting and haunted revival...Directed by the insightful Ciarán O’Reilly...These characters find their individual paths to coupling and some connection...Amidst the sadness, there is a natural ironic humor in the telling and Conor McPherson tells it so well. Some might find this play somewhat repetitive and talkie but it touches the very core of human existence with outstanding performances by a committed cast well situated in the dreary setting by Charlie Corcoran."
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June 9th, 2016

"It's a sad and often funny group portrait of isolation, guilt and despair...Ciarán O'Reilly's tautly directed production retains its rich Celtic flavor and seamless blends the script's humor and sadness…It's Broderick's best performance in years…Complementary as John and Ian's stories are it's their different tonality that makes 'Shining City' such a good play. While John's revelations have many comical elements, all played to the hilt by Broderick, Ian's problems are much more complex."
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June 9th, 2016

"The roles of penitent and priest and client and therapist often become reversed in Mr. McPherson’s engaging and complex script...Under Ciarán O’Reilly’s meticulous and clean direction, the cast of 'Shining City' captures the full range of human emotions including those often roiling beneath the surface waiting to offer redemption and release if expressed. Matthew Broderick gives his character John a sensitive believability that is expressed in dialogue and in lengthy monologues."
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June 10th, 2016

"The play is an absorbing examination of lonely, and guilt-racked modern Dubliners...McPherson, a master of Mamet-like, disconnected, everyday language, offers a five-scene plot with little action but fertile chatter that twines itself around your ears and won’t let go...The chief hindrance is Broderick’s reliance on that single tone of friendly, boyish appeal and touch of physical stiffness that pervades much of his work...He’s unable to capture the role’s darker, emotionally painful colors."
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June 9th, 2016

"Revived in sure-footed if straightforward fashion...Broderick brings a winning helplessness to John and conveys the sense of a man struggling to find the language for ideas he never thought he’d articulate…Structure has never been McPherson’s strong point and in 'Shining City' you can see him struggling to balance the work of dialogue with the monologues he gravitates to...It’s in the longer speeches, particularly John’s, that the play acquires much of its power."
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June 10th, 2016

"Seeing Matthew Broderick ace his role as a troubled widower is enough of a reason to see the Irish Repertory Theatre’s revival, astutely directed by Ciaran O’Reilly. This is Broderick at his best in a difficult role...We have tight portraits that the playwright smartly gives us, with the penetrating dialogue along the way. I still do not care for the play’s gimmicky and cheapening ending...Whatever your reaction, the performance by Broderick is well worth seeing."
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June 25th, 2016

"A very satisfying revival…While Broderick, rocking a believable Irish accent, doesn't move too far from the phlegmatic behavior that has marred his recent performances, he finds a way to put that lethargy to good—and effective—use here...The result is that the performance—and the play that surrounds it—is a wonderful way for the Irish Rep to celebrate its newly renovated home and to mark what could be the beginning of a renaissance for Broderick's career."
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June 13th, 2016

“This amazing production finely elucidated by director Ciarán O’Reilly stars Matthew Broderick as John in a memorable, gripping performance. His portrayal magnifies the range of his skill and depth as an actor; he is mesmerizing in a difficult role which he seamlessly conveys with his brilliant acting instrument...This is a sterling revival of McPherson’s work...It is a must see.”
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June 9th, 2016

"There is little action to speak of in McPherson’s 2004 story, directed here by company co-founder Ciarán O’Reilly, yet the sense of isolation and rootlessness it conveys is profound…Broderick is noticeably easeful on this small stage, coming off at times as affable and engaging, or shambling and shuffling. I enjoyed the contemplative performance by Carter…This production distinguishes itself with perhaps an added emphasis on the guilt experienced by both leads."
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June 10th, 2016

“Broderick is doing better work than he has in a long time. He’s taken on a gigantic role and he’s never less than enjoyable in it. Billy Carter as the psychiatrist is also exemplary. His Ian is energetic, sympathetic, emotionally torn and yet willing to face hard truths...The Irish Rep’s 'Shining City' is a satisfying, if not ideal, rendering of what feels like a transitional play by an important modern playwright.”
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June 9th, 2016

"Broderick continues his recessive approach to acting in an uneven new revival…Carter tends to overdo the anger, as does Dwan as his girlfriend...Broderick gives no hint that his character is capable of raising his pulse, much less his fist. Still, there is much to admire about this production…And McPherson’s dialogue remains as crisp and well-crafted and thought-provoking, teasing connections between scenes and characters that feel both natural and inevitable."
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June 10th, 2016

"McPherson's lyrical writing (it certainly helps us not fall asleep during those long monologues--Broderick appeared to be looking for a couple of lines) has us questioning just who is helping whom here. Loneliness and desperation drip off the sentiments expressed, even as the text is peppered with humor...The production is engaging, but a special effect fails to have the impact it should. Let's just say there weren't gasps like there were in the original on Broadway."
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June 10th, 2016

"O'Reilly again locates the powerful core of McPherson's play and its emotionally fraught characters. Yet this production is weighed down considerably by Broderick, who seems so preoccupied with maintaining his accent over the course of a great many lines that he does not find much room for complexity in his character...Still...this company's exploration of the catalogue of McPherson has been thrilling, even if the lure of a blockbuster name mars 'Shining City.'"
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June 10th, 2016

"A crisp new production...Carter ably acquits himself in the leading role, but Broderick’s Irish everyman steals the show. He stammers, 'You know,' repeatedly as a verbal tick through his lengthy monologues, as if to underline how much we don’t know about relationships. The four disparate characters in their awkward speeches reflect the muddle of their lives. Even to ourselves, our relationships are just otherworldly mysteries."
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