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The Portuguese Kid

From 38 critic and 190 member reviews
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.') More…

In Providence, Rhode Island, habitually widowed Atalanta pays a visit to her second-rate lawyer Barry Dragonetti (Jason Alexander). Intending to settle her latest husband’s affairs, this larger-than-life Greek tightwad quickly becomes a nightmare for her cheesy, self-aggrandizing attorney. Add Barry’s impossible Croatian mother, a dash of current politics, and a couple of opportunistic young lovers, and you have in hand a recipe for comic combustion.

The Wall Street Journal

"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." Full Review

Front Row Center

"'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." Full Review

Stage Left

"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." Full Review

Theater Life

"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." Full Review

Stage Buddy

“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." Full Review


"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!" Full Review

Entertainment Weekly

“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." Full Review

The Playfixer

“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.” Full Review

Theatre is Easy

“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.” Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

"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." Full Review


“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." Full Review

Theater Life

"'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." Full Review

This Week in New York Blog

“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." Full Review

Gotham Playgoer

“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." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

“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!” Full Review

Village Voice

"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.” Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

“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.” Full Review

City Cabaret

"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." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

“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.” Full Review


“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." Full Review

The Huffington Post

“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." Full Review

Wolf Entertainment Guide

"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." Full Review


“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.” Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

“'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.” Full Review

New York Theater

"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." Full Review

Clever, Funny, Hilarious

See it if You like to laugh.

Don't see it if You like to cry.

Delightful, Entertaining, Enchanting, Hilarious, Intelligent

See it if You like smart entertainment

Don't see it if No reason not to see

Delightful, Funny, Dizzying, Hilarious, Great writing

See it if You want to have a night of hearty laughs and rapid fire dialogue.

Don't see it if You're boring.

Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Funny, Entertaining

See it if You like Jason Alexander. And, if you enjoy watching great actors interact with each other. The show was perfectly cast.

Don't see it if You don’t like humor coupled with a great story.

Strong bid from kid

See it if Fan of author or the leads. Alexander does his usual excellent work. Scott does a high energy jumping act, but is funny and beautiful.

Don't see it if You want a serious play. Reheated Shanley. If familiar with his work, seems like a cut and paste writing job. More about cast than script.

Also It felt like going down memory lane with Shanley. Such a pastiche of h... Read more Read less

Delightful, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Great writing

See it if You enjoy a good comedy story with great actors

Don't see it if You don't enjoy some silliness

Delightful, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Great staging

See it if you want to see something light-hearted and hilarious. Don't expect a serious, deep show. This is just a fun, funny show.

Don't see it if you want to see a serious, meaningful drama or don't want to laugh.

Also Don't think so much about it, just go and enjoy the play. 1 hr and 40 ... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Great acting, Hilarious, Great staging, Funny

See it if Having fun, relaxing, enjoy Jason Alexander (who is George for me), Amazing sets, terrific time!

Don't see it if Serious dark drama, do not like comedy, don't wish to be entertained or laugh!

Very entertaining, Great acting, Funny, Great staging, Riveting

See it if fully entertaining and riveting performance. Broadway quality exquisite presentation in more intimate setting. One of MTC best productions.

Don't see it if seeking scholarly thought-provoking drama. Don't appreciate untoward jabbing at Donald Trump.

Funny, Delightful, Quirky, Great staging

See it if You want to see Sherie Rene Scott and Mary Testa play off each other in many laugh out loud moments; you like fast moving comedies

Don't see it if You don't like sitcoms turned into full productions

Delightful, Entertaining, Funny, Absorbing

See it if You want an escape from all the negative News in politics, mass shootings etc in the USA. The star driven play will not disappoint.

Don't see it if You want thought provoking, intellectual Theater. Do not like silly and entertaining~

Entertaining, Funny, Great writing, Delightful, Clever

See it if you desperately need a laugh

Don't see it if you don't like farce

Delightful, Funny, Refreshing, Dated

See it if You’re looking for an old fashioned comedy. It’s adorable. Great cast!

Don't see it if You only want serious drama.

Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Quirky, Fluffy

See it if you want to laugh and watch some expert comic actors do their thing.

Don't see it if you're not a fan of fluffy comedies.

Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Great writing, Clever

See it if You love great writing and great acting - and you love to laugh. The show is quick, upbeat & funny. Each actor fits perfectly in their roll.

Don't see it if Plays, laughing and quick changes are not your thing.

Funny, Great acting, Hilarious, Quirky

See it if You want a good laugh and like a quirky story.

Don't see it if You are an avid Trump supporter or want a play with a meaty storyline.

Funny, Entertaining, Clever, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if you enjoy clever comedy, well performed.

Don't see it if you're expecting a life-changing experience like Doubt. Not everything has to be serious or "important".

Also Having read some of the very negative reviews from the NYT and other m... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Funny, Cliched

See it if Fun, slapstick, carefree comedy appeals to you.

Don't see it if if you didn't like movies like Moonstruck

Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Refreshing, Delightful

See it if you like Jason Alexander and Mary Testa-(she's a hoot!)

Don't see it if you don't like Jason Alexander. He's the star and does a great job!

Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Fluffy

See it if You want to see an excellent cast having a ball with a fun script, and can ignore the few forced moments of profundity.

Don't see it if You get antsy during shows - this is a 1:40 show that BADLY needs an intermission between its two acts.

Funny, Light, Entertaining

See it if You just want to be entertained for a change.

Don't see it if You are feeling grumpy.

Clever, Delightful, Funny, Fluffy

See it if you like Jason Alexander and light comedy. This show is very much like a sitcom for the stage but worth seeing.

Don't see it if you don't like sitcoms or "fluff."

Hilarious, Great staging, Raunchy, Cliched, Indulgent

See it if you want to laugh along with silly characters.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy farcical, over-the-top plays or seeing TV stars on stage.

Also Yes, most of the jokes are obvious and it ain't gonna win a Pulitzer b... Read more Read less

Funny, Great acting, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if are interested in Shanley's take on the battle of the sexes

Don't see it if you are looking for depth or all-out hilarity

Somewhat over-acted, Great staging, Good supporting cast

See it if love Jason Alexander and Sherri Renee Scott. Not a Must See, but not terrible either. Female supporting cast is wonderful.

Don't see it if you are tired of hearing Jason Alexander ranting.