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New York | 1h 20m | Already closed

The Net Will Appear

From 18 critic and 72 member reviews
Members say: Entertaining, Great acting, Delightful, Funny, Great writing

About the show

On the rooftops of suburban Ohio, a 9-year-old girl and a 70-year-old man strike up the most incredible friendship. Richard Masur stars in this comic and heartfelt drama. More…

Bernard just wants to sit on his roof to enjoy a drink and get some peace and quiet. When his 9-year-old new neighbor, Rory discovers him out there, peace and quiet are the last things on her mind. The story of two eccentric people and a most unlikely friendship.


“You will want to see this charming intergenerational two hander. It's a play that tugs at your heartstrings and also makes you smile...This unexpected friendship between two very different individuals is truly inspiring...The acting couldn't be better...The actors master Cirnigliaro's wonderfully written dialogue and make you feel as though Bernard and Rory's rooftop meetings are actually unfolding in real time...An honest, beautiful and genuine story that must be seen.” Full Review


“Mallon may be a newcomer. But her ‘The Net Will Appear’ shows a mastery of storytelling, character development, and honest sentiment without artificial sweetening. Trouble and heartache, she vividly shows us, can touch life at any stage...But so can redemption through human contact – through love. The message is an old one, but the medium...is fresh, beautifully played, and absolutely charming...Directed with economy and sensitivity...It’s a powerful, intimate piece of theater." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"Comically and touchingly demonstrated...What surprises most is how empathetic we grow to both characters. While the setup covers territory we've seen before, the playwright wins us over by feeding us information...in bits and pieces, allowing each to show their authenticity and vulnerability...The pair play beautifully off each other, and Masur gives an exceptional performance...A sweet and lovely little gem of a play.” Full Review

Plays to See

"Seventy-five minutes of pure heart, pure warmth, pure fun. Go see it, and you’ll come out wanting to hug every loved one you have...Cheesy? Slightly. But it’s that charming kind of cheesiness you find in Hallmark movies, the kind you just can’t help but love, especially now that holiday cheer is in the air. Plus, the show’s hysterical...Richard Masur’s Bernard is especially candid and sharp-tongued...And Eve Johnson shines as the precocious young Rory." Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

"It’s kind and emotionally true, speaking sweetly and innocently of love, attachment, and loss in a way that feels authentic and engaging...Just believe me when I tell you this tender and emotional entwining of two souls in need is worthy of your time and your heart. Johnson is a charmer, building enthusiasm, emotionality, and engagement with a force that can’t be denied...A perfect gift of clarity, love, and kindness for the holidays." Full Review

New York Theater

“Mallon’s sweet, modest play...Masur is terrific in portraying Bernard...Rory, a talkative, precocious nine-year-old, suddenly appears on the roof of the house next door, determined to engage her grumpy neighbor...Her naïveté provides much of the humor in the play. Many of her remarks are spot-on and hilarious, though some are too precious...Over the course of the 80 minutes of the play, Rory wears down Bernard’s reserve, and we learn more about each of them.” Full Review

Show Showdown

"Author Mallon writes by the numbers, but she does so competently and with feeling. Richard Masur's performance as Bernard is also by the numbers, but he's a skillful, likable actor and it works...I don't mean to damn with faint praise here. 'The Net Will Appear' is a nice, old-fashioned evening in the theatre, and Richard Masur's performance alone is worth the low-priced ticket. It is what it is, and it's a solid version thereof." Full Review

Exeunt Magazine

"Delivers a similar momentary respite from the battering harshness of the outside world, in a straightforward but skillful production...The production takes on the risk of casting both roles with actors who are within a few years of the actual age of their character, and for the most part the gambit succeeds...The overall effect is static, yet there is something calming in its predictability...I’d describe my experience of the work as peaceful." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

“Masur’s and Johnson’s open-hearted, intelligent performances and Cirnigliaro’s thoughtful, understated direction polish up a play that occasionally treads water while in search of fresh ideas...Mallon’s humor can also be somewhat hit-and-miss...Still, Mallon just manages to thread the needle of balancing broad comedy with the multi-pronged pathos...’The Net Will Appear’ doesn’t demand much from its audience, but lovingly performed as it is here, it’s as gentle as an air hug.” Full Review


"Gradually, as the course of a year passes, we learn about the characters' trouble-filled off-stage lives: Rory is coping with being part of a broken family; Bernard suffered loss early in life, and his wife now has medical issues. The growing friendship between the two opposites is obviously meant to create an occasion for epiphany. Too obviously. The drama in the characters' contrasting lives plays out with boilerplate predictability. It's all just a little too pat." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

"Vaguely titled, sentimental, two-hander…A slender piece…Which isn't to deny that there are indeed some clever moments, even if Rory's verbal skills, interests, and general knowledge often seem to defy belief. There was certainly considerable laughter in the house…Veteran Richard Masur has played overtly gruff but actually warmhearted characters like Bernard often enough so that he need do little more than say the words and we accept him." Full Review

Off Off Online

“Mallon’s script is efficiently constructed and poignant, but there’s little verisimilitude here. The dramatic situation is contrived; the characters are fabricated rather than observed; and the dialogue rises only intermittently above the glossy superficiality of 1980s television comedy...What saves the day is Masur’s virtuosity, which redeems a predictable comedy-drama and makes the joyous final scene soar like one of Bernard’s beloved songbirds.” Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"This is one of those opposites-attract two-handers in which two people meet and instantly irritate each other, then gradually open up and form an unshakeable bond. Since this is the only possible plot trajectory, suspense is impossible; one's enjoyment hinges on becoming engaged with the characters, a tall order under the circumstances...If Erin Mallon's script is both predictable and cloying, the rest of the production is thoroughly professional." Full Review

Wolf Entertainment Guide

“Johnson is a talented young girl with firm command of her lines, gestures and stage presence. However...Johnson’s constant barrage of comments...can grate on one’s nerves...One may appreciate the skill of the youngster and look forward to seeing her in a play that is more substantial and less cloying. Masur does what he must to move from initial annoyance to affection, in addition to reflecting loneliness and loss. However, Mallon’s play only offers a very thin experience.” Full Review

Hoboken Girl

for a previous production “The show was truly a surprisingly humorous story filled with love, heart, and compassion — where two wonderfully eccentric people find true friendship...Even with just two characters...one could feel the tenderness and emotions from the relationship throughout the 90 minutes...It would be easy to relate the experience to the peeling of an onion; slowly removing the layers of their experiences, past, and relationship in what forms to be an unforgettable and truly touching bond.” Full Review


for a previous production “The amazing Masur is paired with a most enchanting newcomer, Lawler, to help us understand what can happen over the course of a few seasons in one’s life...Through many hilarious moments we realize that both have a voice you want to hear...And you see a beautiful friendship blossom...Everyone has a person that is in their lives...that makes an imprint on the rest of their life. This play will help you remember that person and these two couldn’t do a better job of it.” Full Review


for a previous production “A tender and quite beautiful play...Most remarkable...is how Masur and Lawler work so effectively and movingly off of each other. The highly skilled and accomplished elder never seems to be restraining his range or playing down to his young costar...He offers a complex, nuanced performance, confident that Lawler can travel with him...There are no great fireworks or shocking revelations...Cirnigliaro, Masur, and Lawler combine skillfully to achieve a warm pace for that journey.” Full Review

New Jersey Stage

for a previous production “This is a tender, moving, slice of lives. Mallon dialogue snaps with wit and craft. She in concert with director Mark Cirnigliaro create memorable characters with amazingly strong performances from Masur and Lawler...Together the actors create a nice balance – she’s honest, forthright and all too apt to speak. He’s guarded for realistic reasons – especially given her age...The production is credible, warm and engaging.” Full Review

Funny, Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Great staging

See it if You like clever writing and a sensitive story.

Don't see it if Don’t like kid’s performances, two people plays.

Absorbing, Great acting, Relevant, Great writing, Great staging

See it if You want to see a touching and funny play that will tug at your heart strings. You want to see two wonderful performers do a great job.

Don't see it if You don't like plays with just two people. You don't like comedic dramas. You don't like well written and performed plays.

Also I was totally absorbed by this play. The night I went the part of 9 ye... Read more Read less

Delightful, Enchanting, Moving, Entertaining, Heart-warming

See it if you enjoy a moving story about a girl (her youthful ideas, family issues and honesty) and a 70-year-old who bridge gaps and help each other.

Don't see it if you don't like kids play major parts in a play and/or don't enjoy the (sometimes brutal) honesty with which kids see and describe the world.

Also This is really a theatre gem which develops over time more and more il... Read more Read less

Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Thought-provoking, Entertaining

See it if you want to see a beautifully crafted relationship play involving a precocious young girl and an elderly man; an uplifting play

Don't see it if you only enjoy musicals; you don't like two-character plays; you want something longer than 75 minutes

Absorbing, Great acting, Must see, Great writing, Great staging

See it if It was a wonderful play with a phenomenal acting. I was moved to tears.

Don't see it if You're not a fan of deeply emotional plays and are not a fan of 2 person plays.

Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Great acting

See it if you like a good drama with some humor with just 2 characters who are both wonderful!

Don't see it if you want a very deep play with a larger cast.

Also I loved it! The young girl in the cast was a bit hard to understand, b... Read more Read less

Delightful, Enchanting, Sweet

See it if You like sweet shows about unlikely friendships.

Don't see it if You like shows with actions

Also This is a very sweet show about two unlikely friends. As it unfolds, y... Read more Read less

Delightful, Sweet, tender, funny, heart-provoking

See it if you are interested in seeing a show that demonstrates how one unexpected connection can help you navigate through life.

Don't see it if you aren't moved by the gentleness and kindness of the human spirit.

Also I loved this show. I thought Richard Masur was perfect for the part. T... Read more Read less

Funny, Great acting, Resonant, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if This show made us laugh and cry. The acting by both Richard Masur and the little girl (we saw the alternate) Eve Johnson was great.

Don't see it if You don’t want to see a show with 2 characters, one being a 9 year old. But you should see it anyway.

Delightful, Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you like small shows that deal with human connections, what makes a family, & the importance of reaching out.Masur is terrific.

Don't see it if you don't like dramas that are touching and funny. This one is moving and beautifully done. Young Eve Johnson is a delightful surprise.

Funny, Absorbing, Enchanting, Great acting, Great set

See it if You like the aesthetics of a sitcom with some dark undertones. Are looking for two great characters that will stay with you.

Don't see it if You dislike humor that seems to come from a desire to make the audience laugh rather than coming naturally from its characters.

Also "Leap and the net will appear." -John Burroughs... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting

See it if You want to see a play dealing with representations of the stages of life portrayed by two remarkable actors.

Don't see it if You are looking for drama with a hard edge or something unconventional.

Also I was impressed with the acting in this play both by Richard Masur and... Read more Read less

Funny, Delightful, Enchanting, Great acting, Resonant

See it if You like shows that are just a slice of life: two ordinary people who are going through difficulties at very different stages in life.

Don't see it if You don't like small casts. You don't think a 9 year-old would get why Rohrschach is funny.

Delightful, Great acting, Masterful, Riveting, Great writing

See it if U want to see a fabulous play with outstanding performances.Masur is BRILLIANT and young Eve Johnson is a powerhouse actress in the making.

Don't see it if Themes of depression, grief, loss or difficult family dynamics is a trigger.But this is a gem-a chance to see a brilliant actor at his best.

Funny, Clever, Entertaining

See it if you like a slice of life between an 8 year old and a 75 year old

Don't see it if you don't like screechy , high pitched child voices

Also I know that this was an entertaining show by the reaction of the audie... Read more Read less

Clever, Quirky, Entertaining

See it if You're entertained by interesting characters, especially precocious young ladies, interacting.

Don't see it if You really need a traditional plot.

Funny, Clever, Delightful, Refreshing, Entertaining

See it if you like clever writing, performed by an actor who nails his part, and a child who performs with the chops of an adult.

Don't see it if you don't like child actors or small productions that make you think.

Also Richard Masur was perfect as Bernard. We saw Eve Johnson, the alternat... Read more Read less

Great acting, Intelligent, Great writing, Charming

See it if you want an introspective look at youth and old age coming together. Masur is worth the price of admission.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy a small intimate two person show although this show has enough plot to easily fill the time.

Poignant, Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Great set

See it if Sweet, funny & sad play. Nothing is surprising but it is very engaging, well-acted and keeps your attention throughout. I'd recommend it.

Don't see it if you want more pizzazz. This is just a series of conversation between an older man and a young girl. But totally engaging.

Also Play is just an hour and 20 minutes.

Sweet sad and cute all at the same time

See it if You want to watch two characters interact that at first appear to have nothing in common but then have everything in common

Don't see it if You are looking for something other than what the description tells us. It’s just two characters and very black box style

Also I was very excited for this and I was not disappointed. I have a soft ... Read more Read less

Funny, Great acting, Underrated, Endearing

See it if You love the honesty, openess, caring and hilarious quips of children, like heartwarming stories, both laughter and tears, you have empathy.

Don't see it if You dislike talky, energetic children, or have a problem understanding them. You don't want a child to have most of the lines.

Also I had the actress named, Eve, playing Rory and had no trouble understa... Read more Read less

Delightful, Intelligent, Refreshing, Entertaining

See it if A wonderful story that holds your interest. Worth seeing, even though with my hearing problem some of the girl's lines were not clear.

Don't see it if This is not a "Disney" play. Both characters are faced with problems and have had their share of sadness.

Funny, Relevant, Cliched, Slow, Touching

See it if you like a sweet story dealing with many topics.

Don't see it if you like alot of action or don't want to see a cranky old man or precocious child

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Great writing

See it if you are moved by the story of a 75 year old veteran as his beloved wife falls into dementia and a nine year old neighbor shares her troubles

Don't see it if the somewhat shrill delivery by a young actress would keep you from treasuring the insights and affection shared by two lonely characters

Clever, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if you want to watch two characters go from nothing in common to everything in common

Don't see it if you want to see real insights into human hearts and a show with little or no sexual talk.

Cast & Creatives (10)