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The Gentleman Caller
West Village
79

The Gentleman Caller NYC Reviews and Tickets

79%
(147 Reviews)
Positive
88%
Mixed
11%
Negative
1%
Members say
Great acting, Entertaining, Clever, Funny, Absorbing

About the Show

This new drama that takes us back in time before the Chicago premiere of 'The Glass Menagerie.' William Inge, a dissatisfied newspaper critic, invites Tennessee Williams to his St. Louis apartment for an interview.

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Member Reviews (147)

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79
Entertaining, Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Quirky

See it if You’re interested in either playwright or a fictional (I assume) meeting of the two. Interesting idea, pretty well played out.

Don't see it if You’re not in the mood for a rather wordy play about an event that’s based on real men having a fictional meeting. Read more

75
Ambitious, Entertaining, Intelligent

See it if If you like a story about two literary geniuses. I m not sure how much is true but I thought it was entertaining..

Don't see it if If you do not like gay themed plays or harsh language.

Critic Reviews (19)

May 10th, 2018

"Dawkins lets a surfeit of biographical information overwhelm his play...Slipping in and out of realism, blending biography with melodrama and camp, Mr. Dawkins’s play is mostly a lot of talk...This is the dialogue of characters obliged to fill in not only the details of their lives, but also the themes, along with unsubtle allusions to their plays...Tony Speciale’s bumpy production feels like it needed more time to find its groove, and for the actors to hone their performances."
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May 11th, 2018

“The absence of sexual chemistry between our two protagonists feels like a lost opportunity to explore how gay relationships often defy easy categorization...Speciale delivers an admirably physical staging of this talky play, but the tone occasionally slips into farce...It's amusing to watch, but detracts from what the characters are actually...Dawkins gives us some of that in an epilogue that is unsatisfying as an ending, but also the best writing in the play.”
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May 11th, 2018

"Entirely frivolous and free of insight...Substitutes sitcom boisterousness for anything like real feeling...A head-scratcher...The main trouble...aside from the fact that it dawdles badly, indulging itself with too many coarse jokes, is that neither Dawkins nor Speciale have much feeling for the characters...When given a halfway decent line, Villa gives it some zing...But the performance is pitched too high, noisily pushing for laughs, so we get almost no sense of the conflicts.”
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May 10th, 2018

“A ludicrously presumptuous two-act play...All the unlikely cat-and-mouse behavior—Williams the cat, Inge the mouse—is additionally undercut by the odd casting. Villa does bear a strong resemblance to Williams, although he portrays the playwright as unusually confident and without the slightly distrait air the playwright so often exhibited.”
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May 21st, 2018

"Philip Dawkins' humorous and poignant 'The Gentleman Caller,' which is still running in Chicago in its world premiere production, is a fascinating and intimate view of two very famous American playwrights whose private lives may not be so well known to the public. While the depiction of William Inge leaves much to be desired, Juan Francisco Villa's exceptional portrayal of the young Tennessee Williams is one you will not soon forget."
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May 14th, 2018

"The contrast between Villa, overacting his mustachioed, annoyingly pompous character, and Isaac's repressed, prissy Inge…suggests a literary version of 'The Odd Couple'…Bitchiness…is pervasive in 'The Gentleman Caller,' which revels in the men's attraction for one another…and the cattiness of their sniping...The play is also unconvincingly preoccupied with imagining…Williams and…Inge engaging in lots of sexual or romantic hanky-panky, including an outlandish bit of voyeurism."
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May 10th, 2018

"Williams' narration comes at us at a furious clip and with a dazzling ferocity that could easily make the unprepared a bit dizzy even as it delights the rest of us...The play is at its best in the first half when it celebrates the unlikely attraction of two gifted gay bachelors who couldn't be more different...Whatever the dramatic liberties taken by the playwright, they don't seem so farfetched but are credible and cleverly integrated."
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May 11th, 2018

“Dawkins’s raucous comedy...Or, looked at another way...fact-based drama...This production tries to have it both ways and, for the most part, it succeeds...Villa sometimes looks and sounds like a young Orson Welles...Villa’s grandiosity is in keeping with the playwright’s larger than life reputation...Isaac has more room to mold the lesser known Inge and manages a fine balance between comic and suicidal desperation...Speciale knows how to build laughs while drawing out tension.”
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T
May 14th, 2018

"Humor without substance or emotion can be nothing more than a manner to foist laughter, and there is enough risible physicality, references and one liners woven into this dialogue to undermine the essence at the core of his two characters...The second act is a repeat of the first act, nothing new happens to add depth...This may be an entertaining evening, but not what one would expect when delving into the distressed personal lives of two extraordinary talents of the twentieth century."
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May 10th, 2018

"Little specifically about their plays, or the playwrights’ shared history, makes its way into 'The Gentleman Caller'...Some of Tenn’s one-liners feel forced and fall flat, but it’s easy to imagine most of these as failed efforts by the overly ebullient character of Tenn rather than by the author of 'The Gentleman Caller'...Dawkins’ writing is at its most thought-provoking when he has Tenn argue for the connection between homosexuality and creativity."
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May 13th, 2018

"It’s an interesting proposition that achieves varying degrees of success...What’s missing in director Speciale’s staging is chemistry between the two men and any sort of plot that pushes the action forward...Villa’s fleeting Southern drawl is an occasional distraction while Isaac’s uptight Inge warms as the evening wears on only to be diminished by a fit of over-the-top frantic staging at play’s end...Dawkins’ play pays decent homage to their works but ultimately left me craving the originals."
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May 11th, 2018

"How does such a historically fascinating, sexually charged premise turn out to feel so tedious?...They speak in cliches that would make both playwrights cringe as they circle each other for two hours generating plenty of friction but not much heat...Winding conversations between the two budding minds frequently take sharp turns without warning, maneuvers that might generate drama if we better understood the momentum behind them."
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May 15th, 2018

“Combines kernels of fact with lots of fancy...Beginning as a rowdy pastiche of sex comedies...The play turns darker in a handful of well-written monologues that are highly engaging but don’t add up to a convincing portrait of either character...A memory play that riffs on themes from the two playwrights' works and lives...The actors’ energetic performances and Speciale’s fast-paced direction compensate for—or, at least, divert attention from—the script’s shortcomings.”
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May 21st, 2018

"Despite the banter and some teasing, there is no sexual chemistry between Williams and Inge although they seemed to enjoy each other's company...Dawkins refers often to characters in the plays written by these playwrights...After a few of these references, they feel gratuitous...Tony Speciale's meandering direction lightens the talky book by zeroing in on Williams' wit and in-and-out Southern drawl."
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T
May 19th, 2018

“Dawkins uses creative license as he relates what might have happened...The play never really catches fire...No sense of connection between Williams and Inge...Some charming moments but it’s all just a little bit too quaint and calculated...Choppy narrative with questionable plot developments...Doesn’t add much insight into how the relationship between these two great playwrights might have influenced their lives and careers.”
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May 15th, 2018

“An intriguing – if sometimes questionable – depiction of these two pillars of 20th Century American theater at a crucial point in their lives...The appeal lies to a great extent in the performances of its two actors...Performances worth watching. Still, the proceedings aren’t convincing enough to keep you from wondering, while it’s going on, what Inge and Williams themselves would have thought about this attempt to lay bare their friendship.”
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May 11th, 2018

"Speciale has staged the play somewhat athletically, and with a strong sense of what Williams described as 'plastic theatre' – a theatre that is simultaneously sculptural and kinetic. This is especially true in the sexual byplay, but pervades every moment of the production...It took a while for my ear to tune to the purpleness of Dawkins’s prose, but once it had, 'The Gentleman Caller' had many pleasures to offer. Recommended."
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May 12th, 2018

"Maddeningly annoying...Dawkins falters here big time...Is hard to believe that they carried on in such a wildly campy and frightfully silly manner...Villa appears to be a fine actor yet under Tony Speciale’s overbooked direction he becomes frustratingly obnoxiously loud and becomes more of a caricature of the late playwright instead of a true portrayal...Isaac never seems to gain a grasp on his character...Turned into a doltish affair by both playwright and director."
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May 11th, 2018

“Both actors are fabulous in their own rights. Villa brings a fire to Tennessee that ignites the tension and keeps Inge on his toes...Isaac keeps the introverted Inge tightly wound, but I found his flamboyance to be a bit strong...Direction by Tony Speciale is excellent and entertaining. He pulls the comedy from even the darkest of moments. A bit fast in places, but it helps keep this lengthy play moving and not too tiresome...A tad long, this play is certainly one to see.”
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