See it if Delve into the minds of two competing athletes and their spouses. Their insecurities, setbacks in life, and personal challenges.
Don't see it if You want more intensity and depth. This is a pleasant, moderately dramatic exploration of four characters and their relationships.
See it if theater that considers life issues in relation to individuals excites you. Loving tennis or knowing nothing about it, the drama still works
Don't see it if If you like your theater fluffy. Each of the four characters is driven to achieve a personal goal that they believe will change their life.
See it if script on occasion is poetic and contains flashes of humor
Don't see it if tennis opponents binary stereotypes: old vs new, American vs Russian, optimist vs pessimist as are wives; existential struggle contrived
See it if Ziegler's tennis drama strives to realize two players mind set in competition & in life Fine actors hold our attention on a fab US Open set
Don't see it if Drama veers between the inspired & the mundane and is a little slow No new insights while Upchurch's effective staging often double faults
See it if ...you want to see a quartet of intense performances that reach out in a very direct way to the audience.
Don't see it if ...you require traditional scenes. Much of this play's story is told in direct address to the audience. Read more
See it if You enjoy great acting and tennis. Everyone was excellent. Interesting to see how the tennis matches are depicted.
Don't see it if You’re not interested in tennis (although I’m not particularly interested in the topic and I enjoyed it). Read more
See it if you want to see a story about two couples. One is trying to have a baby while the other is in a toxic relationship.
Don't see it if you are expecting this to be about tennis. Has nothing to do with the sport of tennis Read more
See it if Wish to hear what goes on inside the minds of elite athletes.
Don't see it if Wish for more of a story and want resolution at the end (though that was not the point).
"Ziegler’s four-character play succumbs early to the hypnotic, adrenaline-draining rhythms of a gentle, endless practice rally. Exciting though they may be to watch in the stadium or on the screen, sports seldom make for gripping theater...The performances rarely transcend the expected formula of such back stories...There is the stuff of an elegant (if less than original) essay in 'The Last Match' on how we invest in athletes as symbols and reflections of our own mortality.”
"Despite Upchurch’s energetic direction, 'The Last Match' has a familiar feel. Ziegler serves insults and insights with impressive velocity, but the play doesn’t offer much new spin on its central questions about winning, disappointment and pressure. Mickiewicz and Payne...give ace performances; so do Bethel and Winters, whose arc is more melancholy. When the play’s balls stay in the air, it’s largely thanks to these four talented players."
“The flashbacks never achieve sufficient dramatic momentum...The play works best in its more lighthearted moments...Tennis fans will certainly appreciate the attention to detail in this production. On the other hand, if you're not terribly familiar with the sport, you may often find your mind wandering...Thanks to the performers' efforts, 'The Last Match' has its entertaining moments. But much like an athletic event that's gone on for too long, you'll be relieved when it's finally over.”
"Ziegler manages to dramatize a very realistic and quite exciting tennis match between perfectly matched players. Under Upchurch’s streamlined direction, Bethel and Mickiewicz speak the body language of the court. Invisible balls are served, chased, returned and missed with grace and power by two toned athletes wielding invisible rackets...Like those invisible balls, the dialogue whizzes by at warp speed."
"If ever a play accurately summed up Aristotle’s definition of drama, it’s Anna Ziegler’s ‘The Last Match’...'Match' aspires to something bigger, more meaningful, than a tennis match. Ziegler writes great repartee, which is nothing to sniff at. But her play is formless and whatever point it hopes to score is lost in a squishy ending. It doesn’t work, either as metaphor or tragedy – not even as imitation.”
“Gaye Taylor Upchurch's nimble direction keeps this 95-minute play moving at a clip, but Ziegler's story, with plot points that feel like easy lobs, never gets our hearts racing...The story's most interesting moments unfold as the two off-court couples attempt to make sense of their relationships...That's not to say that ‘The Last Match’ isn't worthwhile or satisfying theater — only that it sticks with gentle serves rather than trying for that ace.”
"It never reaches the explosive climax that it seems to be heading toward...If the director, Gaye Taylor Upchurch, can't solve the play's ultimate sense of irresolution, she has at least found four actors who are a pleasure to be with...Everything about ‘The Last Match’ is as slick and professional as one could wish, but for the fact that Ziegler has found no satisfying way to end it...’The Last Match’ ends up scoring a deuce.”
“What Ziegler builds is less of a contrast study and more of a mirror...By exploring the thoughts running across their minds with each game, Ziegler is able to manipulate time with the precision of a clockmaker...Ziegler's play is efficient at showcasing juxtapositions that reveal things unknown to the characters without allowing us to condescend them...'The Last Match' poses questions on the nature of our purpose, and whether we can alter our destiny.”