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Small Mouth Sounds

From 325 member  reviews
Members say: Clever, Great acting, Absorbing, Original, Funny

About the show

After a hit run at Ars Nova, Bess Wohl's (mostly) wordless dramedy about six urbanites at a silent retreat transfers Off Broadway. Directed by Obie winner Rachel Chavkin. More…

In the overwhelming quiet of the woods, six runaways from city life embark on a silent retreat. As these strangers confront internal demons both profound and absurd, their vows of silence collide with the achingly human need to connect. Filled with awkward humor, this strange and compassionate play asks how we address life’s biggest questions when words fail us.

Member Reviews (325)


Clever, Great acting, Absorbing, Original, Funny
Avg Score

Clever, Original, Relevant, Well staged, Well acted

See it if you like creative pieces. With almost no dialogue, SMS is an unusual play. Occasionally, the no-words conceit can be annoying.

Don't see it if the everyday problems of everyday people bore you. All the middle-class retreat-ers are dealing with issues, some large and some small.

Funny, Entertaining, Current, Slow

See it if Funny & entertaining. Familiar characters. Smart staging. Enjoyable. The silent parts are not overwhelming but can be slow at times.

Don't see it if you want to see characters evolve. It's a funny sketch more than a story arc. Slow at points.

Clever, Original, Slow, Interesting

See it if Super clever & original concept. Found it interesting. Not the most entertaining play but it gets points for creativity.

Don't see it if You don't have patience to sit through a mostly silent play. At times it's slow & in end I didn't feel super connected to characters.

Masterful, Profound, Original, Must see, Absorbing

See it if You've ever contemplated the meaning of life, read a self help book or course or if you just want to see one of the best shows of the year!

Don't see it if You don't like shows that make you look at yourself with brutal honesty. You may learn something magical but it might hurt a little.

Absorbing, Clever, Great staging, Original, Resonant

See it if Great staging. Original narrative. Strong performances.

Don't see it if Non traditional work; male nudity.

Ambitious, Absorbing, Entertaining, Intelligent, Original

See it if you want to remember why you go to theater instead of binge watching TV. I left feeling as if I had spent a week in the country,

Don't see it if you need everything spelled out -- subtleties, implied relationships and unspoken backstories are what makes this production exciting.

Master class in nonverbal humor leaves audience ruminating/rolling in the aisles; "waiting for godot" for the 21st century

See it if director Chavkin satirizes/turns new-age retreat's vow of silence into basis 4 hilarious physical comedy & moving depiction of broken lives

Don't see it if play sometimes works too hard to milk a laugh from the audience, pseudo-profound ending doesn't land

Funny, Great acting, Great writing, Original, Thought-provoking

See it if you're in the mood for something original and quiet, or if you like watching diverse characters with hidden personal stories.

Don't see it if you're bothered by or uncomfortable with silence.

Great acting, Original, Quirky, Slow at times, Entertaining

See it if You want to see excellent acting. The performances are memorable and surprising. Quirky staging, audience is very close to performancers.

Don't see it if The play is slow at times. There is no intermission & the folding chairs get uncomfortable. But the acting will resonate.

Also It's a serious play but there are also lots of laughs throughout.

Clever, Great acting, Original, Slow, Quirky

See it if you are interested in watching rather than listening; you are good at reading people and have compassion for other's foibles.

Don't see it if you are looking for a fast paced show with lots of action; silence is unnerving to you; you can't deal with less than comfortable seating.

Unexpected and fine, Intelligent, Deft writing and direction, actors are skilled and compelling, Mesmerizing and absorbing, Funny and touching.

See it if You like innovative theater, moments of connection, can laugh and cry over human foibles, love observing people. Stays with you long after.

Don't see it if Don't want to sit on hard chairs for 100 mins/no break, can't appreciate the concept, need action/dialogue, want traditional theater/plot.

Ambitious, Clever, Delightful, Funny, Original

See it if You enjoy watching great actors show their skills through mostly non-verbal theater. Funny and smart, heart-breaking and relevant. Must see.

Don't see it if You don't like craning your neck to see what is happening all the way at the other side of the room. I didn't enjoy the staging.

Clever, Disappointing, Great acting, Great staging

See it if you like intelligent shows that deal with our difficulty in connecting with one another. Well staged, but sight lines can be frustrating.

Don't see it if you want a traditional play. This one does spell it all out in the end. I wasn't crazy about the tying it up in a bow, but it's a good show.

Quirky, Clever, Strong ensemble, Uncomfortable staging, Funny and a little sad

See it if you enjoy gleaning character traits from facial expressions & actions, you like a bit of a mystery in your theater & retreats interest you.

Don't see it if you're uncomfortable craning your neck to see action way at the other end of the room, often blocked by the heads of other audience members.

Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Funny, Original

See it if you are familiar with new age workshops and enjoy comedy mixed with deep felt drama.

Don't see it if you like traditional shows or are offended by comedic treatment of new age issues.

Intelligent, Masterful, Original, Funny, Unique

See it if you appreciate new approaches to theatrical observations of human behavior. Fascinating.

Don't see it if you like sitcoms or looking for a sleepy evening at the theater.

Disappointing, Overrated, Original

See it if you like new and different; if you like simple and silly

Don't see it if you want serious theater; it is repetitious and goes no where; there is little dialogue and becomes tiresome; unnecessary nudity.

Entertaining, Great acting, Edgy, Quirky, Relevant

See it if you seek contemporary drama simply-staged but profoundly-acted. Those looking to engage with each emotion will relate. Refreshing work.

Don't see it if seeking glitz & glamour, are offended by nudity and easily bored if no one is talking, or want a musical. If you dislike poetic undertones.

Entertaining, Great acting, Refreshing

See it if You are interested in a show that is personal and sometimes surprisingly touching. Great characters. Beautiful direction.

Don't see it if Minimal (almost no) dialogue bothers you. Full frontal male nudity is an issue. Or limited neck mobility for the long runway style stage.

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if You enjoy acting with the pontificating removed, you can learn so much from watching the details

Don't see it if You want song, dance, and frivolity

Clever, Absorbing, Funny, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if If want to see a great cast and extremely inventive script. Funny and heartbreaking...

Don't see it if If you are more into classic theater.

Clever, Edgy, Quirky, Relevant

See it if You are looking for a unique theatrical experience and don't mind seeing something non-traditional. Well acted and engaging.

Don't see it if You are looking for a traditional play with dialogue or if you are looking for something light & fluffy. This is a thought-provoking piece.

Ambitious, Enchanting, Great acting, Great staging, Refreshing

See it if You like great ensemble acting in a fresh and interesting new play.

Don't see it if Are not a careful of patient listener.

Great staging, Intelligent, Original

See it if Really interesting. Loved how they staged it.

Don't see it if You are not ok with male nudity or need upbeat all the time.

Disappointing, Absorbing, Overrated, Quirky, Great staging

See it if You want to experience the latest quirky show

Don't see it if You despise originality

July 19th, 2016
"A quiet gem of a play that has been restaged with all its wit, compassion and sparkle fully intact. The sound of silence onstage has rarely made such sweet music…Ms. Wohl’s ingenuity and the sympathetic direction of Rachel Chavkin allow us to read the bleeding hearts of the characters with a luc...
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July 13th, 2016
"Silence is golden in Bess Wohl’s exquisite play...The sight of deeply unhappy people trapped in a series of embarrassing situations makes 'Small Mouth Sounds' one of the funnier sad plays you’re likely to see...This is a smashing cast, all navigating tonal and emotional shifts with passion and a...
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July 13th, 2016
"'Small Mouth Sounds' is a terrific new play in a beautiful production that deserves to be seen on its own merits...Six mostly incompatible people show up for a five-day retreat...The retreat is meant to be silent and, for the most part, the participants comply...All of these nonverbal clues comb...
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July 13th, 2016
"Wohl's play is hilarious, made even more so by top-notch physical performances from the cast. The retreat is a silent one, so most of the story is told outside of the dialogue...'Small Mouth Sounds' is an excellent, perhaps even enlightening, evening of theater. Wohl is not satisfied to merely p...
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