“The director, Myriam Cyr, and three solid performers make us part of the channeling, breathless and hopeful. There is also fine lighting work by John R. Malinowski, manipulating our reactions to the spookiness...Too bad this 90-minute play’s ending is such a letdown. Toward the end, it starts speeding toward a resolution that you can tell is going to be all too pat." Full Review
"Potentially interesting but dramatically dull play...Director Myriam Cyr hasn’t done much to channel this material from page to stage; the pacing is flat and the acting—despite several outbursts—lacks tension. Brian Murray still possesses the intelligence and charm that has made him a three-time Tony nominee, but he's going on 79 and, if I may use a baseball metaphor, has lost some bat speed." Full Review
"For a while, 'Simon Says' looks as if it’s going to be fun…Then, with James going into his complicated trance, the enjoyment begins leaking out...'Simon Says' turns into a tour de force for Goes as James. He twitches, he writhes, he tumbles, he switches voices, he falls, he goes numb, he looks if he’s dead…The channeler’s cavorting is initially engaging, then sillier and sillier until, finally, it’s no more than tiresome. By fade-out, it hasn’t delivered any substantive point at all." Full Review
"How much you like Mat Schaffer’s new psychic thriller, 'Simon Says', will depend on how you feel about the paranormal and reincarnation. If you are open to suggestion, you will go with its premise. If not, this is not for you." Full Review
“Unfortunately, you might just as well read a tract on the subject (by a believer) for all the dramatic impact of this piece. Explanations replace dialogue, clichés take over for character illumination, and the whole package is too neatly tied with a bow. Poor Anthony J. Goes has the unrewarding task of being occupied by spirits whose transition looks ridiculous...Director Myriam Cyr uses the staging area well...I actually have no issue with the premise of ‘Simon Says’, just with its script.” Full Review
"A contemplative discourse on science, the paranormal, reincarnation, and the connections between us…There are moments late in the play that feel both overstuffed and rushed, demonstrating that subjects such as past lives, existence, and souls are very hard to dramatize in a captivating way. That being said, the trio nimbly navigates through the somewhat murky waters...The play didn’t entirely gel for me, but it was nonetheless largely engaging." Full Review
"The play jumps the track and mainly becomes a platform for a very long and convoluted monologue in which James becomes the portal for a vengeful Simon's Karmic path, or rather more likely Schaffer's interdisciplinary discourse on the unity of all consciousness…You have to hand it to the actors who take it all very seriously and with every intention to make us care about their characters' souls in flux through the millenniums. What a treat it is see the always wonderful Murray." Full Review
"Murray lends gravitas to the story of a 'channeler'...One wishes he were able to lift Schaffer’s serious-minded play beyond fiddle-faddle, but it just gets talkier and sillier...Under Myriam Cyr’s direction, one’s disbelief may be suspended for awhile...More notable than the direction is John R. Malinowski’s snappy lighting...For people with scant interest in credibility and a high tolerance for mumbo-jumbo, its romance-novel message of love surviving across millennia may be just the ticket." Full Review
“Myriam Cyr’s production boasts an air of clean professionalism to complement Murray’s dignified performance style but Schaffer’s play is an uninspired and mawkish exploration of mysticism that never thrills the way that witnessing a live seance should...The collective talents of the cast and crew would be better utilized in a more suspenseful and less eye-rollingly sentimental channeling of the spirits.” Full Review
“In Mat Schaffer’s earnest attempt to convince us of the philosophy behind reincarnation, he has written more of polemic than a drama. But just because words are spoken doesn’t make them believable. I’m sorry to say that the lighting effects are more dramatic than the writing...The characters accept the conclusion and connections with love and gratitude, but I wasn’t convinced...I was disappointed that the play didn’t succeed in dramatizing what I consider a complex and fascinating subject.” Full Review
“Although pacing was slow during the first scene, director Miriam Cyr’s staging moves the story along and makes nice use of the intimate space...Mr. Goes does a brilliant job of inhabiting numerous characters with distinct vocal and physical lives...Brian Murray is a marvel, his presence on the stage riveting...Here’s hoping there are more roles waiting in the wings for Mr. Murray. He is a national treasure!” Full Review
“Brian Murray is excellent in the role as are Anthony J. Goes as James and Vanessa Britting as Annie...This play is mostly engaging although very dialogue-heavy. The plot is slow in certain sections and some of the speech, although beautifully written, is more poetic and lyrical than the sentences that are spoken by the average person. That said, the excellence of the cast masks these minor issues...It is entirely understandable and watchable to mostly anyone.” Full Review
“The fact that the séance in ‘Simon Says’ is suspenseful and convincing is largely attributable to the skill of director Myriam Cyr, her accomplished cast, and the production crew...The virtuoso performance, though, is by the physically and vocally agile Goes. When James goes into a trance and accesses past lives, the audience is transfixed…‘Simon Says’ may not be profound, but the production provides for a diverting evening at the theater.” Full Review
"'Simon Says' gathers an impressive amount of talent into one concentrated space, but the script is simply not worthy of all that talent. It is a constantly impressive execution of utterly nonsensical material, which is so certain of its importance that it states it regularly, and unambiguously. This reviewer has never been more certain of any artistic endeavor’s unworthiness for public presentation." Full Review
for a previous production "The cast and crew aren’t trying to make a profound statement here. Their slick, intimate, multimedia take on the subject leaves the door open to increased exploration and discussion about reincarnation, life after death, and related topics...The cast is admirably directed by international writer-director-actor Myriam Cyr...Anthony J. Goes is mesmerizing as James, who undergoes spiritual transformations." Full Review
for a previous production "The production's technical elements and the actors' skilled performances solidify the otherworldly atmosphere and make the story engaging and human. The play clearly reflects the eclectic interests and talents of the playwright himself...Goes spends more time as Simon than he does as James, and his performance certainly stands out...Goes transitions between James and Simon smoothly, and his performance could almost be a one-man show." Full Review
See it if you like stories about the supernatural, channeling with dearly departed, stories that make you think. You want to see a somewhat famous act
Don't see it if you don't want to figure what's going on, who who. Is it Jim speaking or the man he's channeling? You want more realistic acting
See it if If you like the paranormal exploration although it was not well done at all!
Don't see it if If you are interested in a well honed script about the reaches beyond what we know of the normal mind.
See it if You're a die-hard Brian Murray fan and want to see him in an intimate setting even if the play is pretty bad.
Don't see it if You're expecting a paranormal story because it's really some weird religious garbage. Also the theatre is 5,000 degrees so be cautious.
See it if you're a Brian Murray fan. Both he and Anthony J. Goes do good jobs with difficult parts.
Don't see it if you've been enticed by the ads saying this is a "thriller." It isn't. The plot is beyond silly and utterly pretentious.
See it if you want to see the great Brian Murray; you can be entertained by a play that is predictable & instantly forgettable
Don't see it if you can't tolerate one great actor playing off two mediocre ones; you can't suspend logic & disbelief for 90 minutes without intermission
See it if You want to see Brian Murray in an intimate stage setting. You're OK with stories about the paranormal
Don't see it if You want to see a strong level of emotional connections. You want a well-constructed, linear play w/a clear sense of direction.
See it if You're a great fan of psychics, reincarnation & Brian Murray & are up to seeing him in anything, here wasted in a lumbering & confused play.
Don't see it if You're expecting a thriller of any kind, or a clearly written exploration of the possibility of paranormal, let alone normal behavior.
See it if you want to see what a play would look like if written by a restaurant critic with no apparent theatre experience & without a dramaturge.
Don't see it if you expect insight into the paranormal or validity of psychics; or you hope to see Brian Murray in top form. (He deserves better than this!)
See it if you are really into psychics/the paranormal and don't mind confusing, banal, and overly moralistic plots that doesn't really go anywhere
Don't see it if you want a well-written, well-paced play with characters you will care about. Good acting, but confused material.
See it if you're interested in the subject matter and you're feeling generous/willing to forgive mediocre (at best) writing, directing, and acting
Don't see it if you're expecting something profound and polished. While the premise is interesting, its treatment is superficial, slow, and cliched
See it if you have an affinity for the paranormal and love Brian Murray ;if you can take a talky talky play that sacrifices theatrical pacing for POV
Don't see it if you want more traditional entertainment and expect a play not a lecture; can't take POV in spite of good acting by newcomer Goes
See it if You enjoy mumbo-jumbo masquerading as profundity and/or biblical history. Even if you like the occult, you'll find this rather sophomoric.
Don't see it if You expect a well-directed play. One over-actor, one one-note actor and one actor with poor timing.
See it if you're a Brian Murray fan, though he has a hard time with lines;you're into past lives, spirit guides; enjoy unusual last minute plot points
Don't see it if you don't believe in spirit guides, past lives, you like plays that foreshadow or seem to have a purpose, don't like ho-hum acting
Get alerts about your favorite artists and theater companies