The Portuguese Kid
Closed 1h 40m
The Portuguese Kid
73

The Portuguese Kid NYC Reviews and Tickets

73%
(190 Reviews)
Positive
70%
Mixed
22%
Negative
8%
Members say
Funny, Entertaining, Great acting, Fluffy, Disappointing

About the Show

Manhattan Theatre Club presents this new feisty romantic comedy from Tony Award, Pulitzer Prize, and Oscar winner John Patrick Shanley ('Doubt'), starring Jason Alexander ('Seinfeld.')

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Member Reviews (190)

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30
Incoherent script, Unfunny script, Misogynistic script, Cliched script, Boring script

See it if you are willing to sacrifice your standards of decency/taste for a couple of funny lines. The sets are fantastic if that is enough for you.

Don't see it if you want to be entertained. TPK made me angry w/its horrible portrayal of women. What was MTC thinking to foist this mess on its audience? Read more

56
If only "kid" w jason alexander were written by seinfeld, but it's not

See it if the actors work their tushes off to make this awkward vehicle funny, and in the first scene, it is

Don't see it if combination of jokiness and pseudo-profundity makes the production painful to watch; Alexander's Costanza shtick not well suited 2 role

Critic Reviews (38)

The New York Times
October 24th, 2017

“The jokes are ancient. I’m not sure you can credit as jokes the mechanical dings that the play spews every 15 seconds. They are, at best, the husks of jokes...Did I mention there’s a plot? Well there is, sort of, but it doesn’t make sense...A strong countervailing force might have encouraged Shanley to look beyond the sitcom laugh track...Certainly, a better director would have done more than let the play coast on the sorely tried inventiveness of its stars."
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Time Out New York
October 24th, 2017

“The script is literally written in comic sans...Shanley’s strained, hoary sex comedy...It’s like Bergman’s 'Smiles of a Summer Night,' if the smiles were forced wacky grins...Amid the stale trashiness are salvageable morsels: a few decent jokes in the first scene, a neat revolving set by Beatty, a choice performance by Testa...The play's ideas about passion and gender are shot through with retrograde banality...It’s 2017. Whom does a play like this think it's kidding?”
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New York Magazine / Vulture
October 24th, 2017

"Unconscionable...'The Portuguese Kid' has about as much objective as an episode of 'Keeping Up With the Kardashians' and an arc that’s equal parts lazy predictability and seriously unfunny topicality...Predictability, though, is comparatively low on the list of ‘The Portuguese Kid’s’ sins. Far more disturbing are the gender dynamics of Shanley’s play, and the self-congratulatory, deeply uncute ways in which the production dabbles in current politics."
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The Hollywood Reporter
October 24th, 2017

"An underdeveloped doodle that tosses around allusions to Greek mythology as weightlessly as it takes inorganic jabs at Trump, the play squanders the talents of a gifted cast...Under Shanley's pedestrian direction, the ensemble is required to labor so hard breathing life into the material that it could almost be classified as employee abuse...Shanley is too skilled a writer not to muster at least mild amusement, but the comedy mostly is an awkward collision of shrill and flat."
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Entertainment Weekly
October 24th, 2017

“Most of Shanley’s jokes are deliciously funny in his actors’ hands...Not every joke lands...Even the titular joke pales in comparison to far wittier one-liners... When it tries to tackle more existential questions about life, love, and purpose, it falls short. Still, 'The Portuguese Kid' makes for a wildly entertaining couple of hours of whip-smart banter — as long as you don’t expect much substance beyond that."
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Variety
October 24th, 2017

“A strong cast and some high-end design work but all of it is wasted on material that can’t begin to measure up to the playwright’s best work...Whatever you do, don’t think plot, of which there is none...The play is all talk, none of it amusing or interesting...The best Shanley can come up with is the occasional one-liner...Instead of adding some substance to the lightweight characters, all these references to the heroes and heroines of Greek myth only remind us of what we’re missing.”
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The Wall Street Journal
October 26th, 2017

"The funniest new comedy I’ve reviewed since…well, maybe ever...I don’t know when I last saw another stage comedy that was funny right from the top, or one whose last scene was so unmanipulatively touching. The entire cast is dead-solid perfect, and Mr. Shanley, one of the few playwrights of note who can be trusted to direct his own work, does so to ideal effect...To laugh this hard for that long is downright therapeutic."
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Deadline
October 24th, 2017

“What can I say about a terrible play that made me laugh? That it’s a waste of talent and hardly worthy of Jason Alexander’s return to the stage?...That it deserves a pass because it’s by John Patrick Shanley?...Did I mention it made me laugh, and that I wouldn’t necessarily admit it except there were witnesses?...The MTC A-team has delivered a great-looking show...Don’t look for deep meaning below the surface. The play is piffle, but you will laugh in spite of yourself.”
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New York Daily News
October 24th, 2017

“A cartoonish and surprise-free rom-com...His new play drifts along, recycling themes and lines from his Oscar-winning script for 'Moonstruck,' without a destination or conclusion...In fairness, Shanley cooks up some zesty zingers, and the cast serves them nicely...But the plot plods...Under Shanley’s direction, the cast assumes a go-big-or-go-home style...The production is a looker...In life and on stage, style doesn’t trump substance.”
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AM New York
October 24th, 2017

“Watching a silly comedy that most of the audience appears to be enjoying, but which you find pointless, plodding and excessively broad, can be a frustrating and bewildering experience. You wonder, why can’t I get into this? Is it me, or is it the play?...The play relies heavily on one-liners (many of which are labored and lame) and ethnic stereotyping...The play may fare better under a different director who does not encourage oversized performances.”
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NY1
October 26th, 2017

"Thanks to a first-class production, this one's quite a hoot...One of the most hysterical opening scenes ever to grace a New York stage. Unfortunately, Shanley is not able to sustain the hilarity of that first scene...Shanley directs the play as if a grand farce, though the material adds up to a silly soap opera...Bottom line on 'The Portuguese Kid'? Not the best of Shanley's plays, but it is perhaps the funniest. You will laugh — of that I have no doubt!"
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Theatermania
October 24th, 2017

“Shanley throws everything and the kitchen sink into this comedy...With the cast and creative team Shanley has assembled, ’Kid’ should be better than it is...Alexander and Scott are often hilarious...’Kid’ isn't a great play...But it's definitely a crowd pleaser. Once you check your brain at the door, if you're eager to laugh, you'll happily lap up the over-the-top comedic circumstances, no matter how far-fetched they are."
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Lighting & Sound America
November 13th, 2017

“The conventional wisdom is that Alexander, Scott, and Testa are starring in ‘The Portuguese Kid’; in truth, they're propping it up. Whatever amusement is to be found in Shanley's makeshift and often mystifying charade is entirely due to the efforts of these three...So old-fashioned in style and humor that one wonders if it hasn't been sitting around for some time. They don't write them like this anymore, and, as this script demonstrates, there's a reason for that.”
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Talkin' Broadway
October 24th, 2017

“A joke-filled but decidedly saggy sex comedy...Testa is also the only one who is able to capture the crazy spirit and exquisite comic timing needed to pull off the steady stream of one-liners that serve as the dialog for large chunks of the play...Some lines will make you laugh...But there are also many whose sell-by date expired long ago...Perhaps a better director might have been able to help Shanley build on those moments of self-reflection and trim away the parts that drag the play down."
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Theatre is Easy
October 24th, 2017

“Writer John Patrick Shanley gives us many things with this play: the expected laughter, some political Trump vs. Clinton references, and his own skilled direction...Each performer brings his or her unique brand to the table...The plot is extremely predictable but it doesn't take away from the humor...Though this idea is hardly original, Shanley's premise, combined with quality performances, sells the idea. Venturing beyond the funny is when I think the play falters.”
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Theater Pizzazz
November 4th, 2017

“It’s a battle of the sexes in Shanley’s latest comedy...What makes it most intriguing is the line up of star power. It’s silly, wacky but you gotta laugh even if you don’t want to! This is really far reaching for the likes of Shanley...There’s nothing really going on in this plot, making ‘The Portuguese Kid’ just right for television. But it’s worth a try because the audience, on the whole, responds to a lot of the silliness and laughs out loud. Just what we need!”
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CurtainUp
October 24th, 2017

“An American version of a Noel Coward sex comedy but with the stamp of Shanley's own zinger spiced tough talk and less glamorous characters? Well it is, sort of. But with Jason Alexander, forever identified with 'Seinfeld's' George Costanza, there's simply no escaping that it all feels less Cowardesque or top-tier Shanley than an episode from that iconic sitcom...Nothing in ‘The Portuguese Kid’ is as good as you expect from this author."
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Front Row Center
October 25th, 2017

"'The Portuguese Kid' has it all: idiosyncratic characters you cannot help but champion, rambunctious dialogue that leaves you occasionally breathless, and a director’s deft massage of the actors’ already polished gifts for comic timing...What’s most engaging here, is that John Patrick Shanley has written a series of pas de deux, binary battles between and among his characters that enchant even as they resonant."
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Stage Buddy
November 14th, 2017

“With all the elements of classic farcical comedy, you can bet it delivers...What really makes the piece resonate is the way it sucker-punches with its poignant, dramatic moments interspersed among the buffoonery...While it may not dramatically change the face of theatre, with its quick wit, sharp dialogue, slapstick elements, and overall comedic chaos, Shanley’s feel-good romp is undoubtedly an enjoyable night out."
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Front Mezz Junkies
November 6th, 2017

"This play is enjoyable and brings a sweet smile to your face for the duration, but ultimately you leave with a bit of a headache and still hungry for more...Directed with a fiery wit and unflailing energy by the playwright...Shanley should have done better, foregoing the Portuguese, focusing his eye on the Greek princess, and serving up a spicier and meatier main dish to go with those feisty cocktails."
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New York Theater
October 29th, 2017

"As predictable as it is old-fashioned – a hoary pseudo-romantic comedy trafficking in insulting stereotypes that died well before Don Rickles did...Why would the Manhattan Theatre Club produce such a show?...For what it’s worth, 'The Portuguese Kid' is cast right...It’s hard to find fault with any of the five actors, who do their best to convince us we’re watching is sparkling entertainment...The production values are also high."
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C
October 24th, 2017

"Not in the same league as the author’s Oscar-winning screenplay for ‘Moonstruck.' Sure, this romantic comedy sometimes strikes comic gold, thanks both to Shanley’s sure way with a zinger and a completely committed five-person cast led by the equally wonderful Jason Alexander and Sherie Rene Scott. But too often for its own good, Shanley’s ramshackle script is likely to strike you as utter nonsense...It’s decidedly more miss than myth."
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Theatre's Leiter Side
October 29th, 2017

“'The Portuguese Kid'…features Broadway-level stars, doing their gifted best to keep its sinking attempts at humor afloat by sheer vocal, physical, and charismatic force. Occasionally, a good laugh does bubble up from the depths…Mrs. Dragonetti…offers Mary Testa an opportunity for one of the larger-than-life hilarious portrayals that are her well-deserved bread and butter…'The Portuguese Kid' is old hat, its jokes are uninspired, and it's all too overstated and laugh-hungry.”
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Times Square Chronicles
November 2nd, 2017

“Some great acting, some rather funny dialogue, but it is short on substance...You wish for this uber talented cast and design team, a better play or at least a better sitcom. Shanley’s directing keeps his characters in a one-dimensional cardboard cartoon dimension. Luckily he cast wonderful actors who tried valiantly to climb out of that box. However, in an era where PC correct has gone overboard, this show's disregard of that, was actually refreshing.”
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Gotham Playgoer
October 24th, 2017

“This alleged romantic comedy is about as buoyant as a lead balloon and as original as a Trump joke...There are some funny one-liners, but far fewer hits than misses... Scott was the only one who appeared to be having a good time. The others acted as if they wished they were somewhere else. I know I did...The revolving sets and the costumes were up to their usual high standards. I wish I could say the same about the efforts of the playwright."
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The Huffington Post
October 24th, 2017

“A new overripened affair...There are plenty of laughs on hand...While dramatically suspect, Testa positively fuels the play; one can only imagine how flat things might fall without her entrances—like clockwork—whenever Shanley needs a spark...Alexander and Scott both give their all, despite the hand (and lines) they’ve been dealt...The kids are as effective as necessary, getting the laughs Shanley provides."
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The Wrap
October 24th, 2017

"Shanley, who also directs, has attempted to write a warm-hearted farce. But where the heart ought to be there’s nothing but the shifting gears of a playwright pushing characters into outlandish situations that are rarely amusing...Shanley has directed the younger actors to match Scott’s Energizer Bunny mannerisms tic for nervous tic...Alexander should be credited for not delivering an equally fraught performance, even when the writing calls for it."
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Wolf Entertainment Guide
October 26th, 2017

"Shanley’s comedy...offers a certain amount of laugh opportunity, not from great writing, but as a vehicle for a good cast who can mine the most out of lines and situations even when the plot becomes rather limp...Shanley’s writing is only intermittently funny along the way, but his cast members consistently come to the rescue as they make the most of everything they are given and are an entertaining lot...Overall this is only a somewhat diverting time in the theater."
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T
October 30th, 2017

"'The Portuguese Kid' doesn’t soar, but the playwright’s trademark wit and a crackerjack cast at least get it off the ground...There are uproarious laughs and sharp characterizations, briskly directed by Shanley, but the predictable plot runs out of steam before the 90 minute running time...Despite the familiarity of the premise, 'Kid' is an enjoyable, if forgettable comedy."
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Village Voice
October 25th, 2017

"A comedy regarding inexplicable sexual desire, the play is an underdone mélange of farce, Greek mythological references, insult humor, and extrasensory connections. The dramaturgy here is surprisingly desultory...Shanley manages to massage this on-paper mishmash with capable actors and the smartest production values MTC can buy, and the result is one hundred minutes of agreeable, albeit fitful, amusement.”
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Broadway & Me
November 18th, 2017

"It's an awfully disappointing show...Sexual hijinks are supposed to ensue but what we get are lame jokes that lean heavily on the low humor of ethnic and gender stereotyping, lots of yelling and a few Trump references thrown in for good, or not so good, measure...Even a cast that includes such comic heavyweights as Scott, Alexander and the redoubtable Testa as Barry's overbearing and overprotective mother can't get this one off the ground."
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Stage Left
October 24th, 2017

"A delightful new comedy...If this sounds like a lot. It is. And it all works. This is a play that feels like a play—the kind that writers don’t really write anymore...It’s John Patrick Shanley’s version of a Neil Simon relationship comedy; a silly romp with likable, quick-witted characters who have no real problems but for the ones they create for themselves, and each other, as drinks are poured and doors slammed."
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City Cabaret
November 2nd, 2017

"Gather a cast of first-class actors, add some laughs, some romance and chances are, you have a pretty good play. Not a great play, not flawless, not wall-to-wall hilarious, but enough to send out the audience with a smile...The cast is enthusiastic, the production values are stellar and there are more than a few laughs but as for the book, we have come to expect something more solid from John Patrick Shanley."
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T
October 25th, 2017

“An old-fashioned Neil Simon-style romantic farce...Shanley wrote and directed, making changes to the second and fourth scenes up to the very last minute during previews, and it unfortunately shows; those scenes are more chaotic and unformed than the fabulous first and third scenes, in which the characters are well developed, the actors get to strut their stuff, and the plot thickens in wonderfully acerbic ways."
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Newsday
October 24th, 2017

"Part farce, part rom-com, the occasionally funny but ultimately trivial play...doesn’t really go anywhere that’s not completely predictable. Unless you count the jarring intrusion of the political. Atalanta is none too fond of our sitting president, demanding to know who voted for him and describing him in nasty, unflattering terms. Did Shanley really need to go there?"
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T
November 22nd, 2017

"A little like a guilty pleasure. You get the feeling maybe you shouldn’t be enjoying it so much. But somehow you can’t help yourself...Some of the jokes are stale or don’t quite land...But happily Scott and Alexander turn every rough diamond into a polished gem...Perhaps the virtue of this cast is that they seem to viscerally understand the ridiculous nature of the material...It does provide a few much needed laughs during these difficult and frustrating times."
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Edge New York
October 26th, 2017

"There aren't many surprises to be had in this play...Part of the issue is the delivery...but through it all, you still get a sense of the humor in the writing...The real problem with the play is when Shanley inches toward sentimentality or gender politics...'The Portuguese Kid' attempts to be a hilarious battle of the sexes, its laughs are shallow and simplistic and, unfortunately, rewarding of views that don't quite sit right with our current politics."
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The Playfixer
November 3rd, 2017

“Jason Alexander, as Barry, serves up a variation one his ‘Seinfeld’ character, and Mary Testa is a little too over the top as the mother, but Sherie Rene Scott steals the show as Atalanta, and Pico Alexander (Freddy) and Aimee Carerro (Patty) are almost as amusing. If you are tired of play after depressing play and want just to have a good time and laugh your head off, ‘The Portuguese Kid’ is for you.”
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