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The Portuguese Kid

Members say: Funny, Entertaining, Great acting, Fluffy, Disappointing
69
Critics
55
38 reviews
Members
72
181 reviews
 

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.')

... Read 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.

 



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Reviews (219)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
55
Avg Score

40
Variety

“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.” Full Review

40
Time Out New York

“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?” Full Review

70
Theatermania

“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

35
The New York Times

“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." Full Review

55
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

70
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

40
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

55
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

30
The Hollywood Reporter

"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." Full Review

40
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

95
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

40
AM New York

“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.” Full Review

95
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

60
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

55
Deadline

“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

35
New York Daily News

“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.” Full Review

55
CurtainUp

“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

70
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

65
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

35
The Wrap

"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." Full Review

35
Talkin' Broadway

“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." Full Review

40
CitiTour

"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." Full Review

55
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

40
Broadway & Me

"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." Full Review

75
NY1

"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

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
72
Avg Score

77
Funny, Clever, Great writing, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you like a show that is light, funny and enjoyable. Jason Alexander and Mary Testa give memorable performances.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy romantic comedy or you are looking for a complex plot.

76
Funny, Shallow, Silly, Great casting, Wonderful acting

See it if you like farces that are funny with clever dialog, great acting, excellent sets and superb casting.

Don't see it if you dislike silly, fluffy and shallow plays that are have few serious "messages" and perceptions and are "raunchy."

71
Funny, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if You want a night of decent theatre that will not disappoint. All actors are well cast and gives you a chance to witness tomorrow's talent .

Don't see it if Dislike sitcomesque slapstick or hate too much Brooklyn "Guido" accent in your storytelling.

75
Funny, Banal, Predictable

See it if you love Jason Alexander (and/or Sherie Rene Scott) and don't want to miss anything he (they) does.

Don't see it if you want to see something original.

75
Funny, Raunchy, Cliched, Great staging, Good acting

See it if you’d enjoy rom-com w/ expected outcome or want to see Jason Alexander perform on intimate stage. Mary Testa’s character & stage was great.

Don't see it if you prefer your plays with great susbstance.

55
Banal, Disappointing, Nice set, Slightly funny. a few good lines

See it if You really want to see Jason Alexander. He is George Costanza in the part. No different. But lines are not as good.

Don't see it if You want to see a great show and have a really entertaining evening. This is not that show.

72
Way better than i thought

See it if you want to see a good solid all around comedy

Don't see it if you are expecting anything serious. This is a silly even for a comedy.

Also I am officially done looking a reviews. I have no idea how some people... Read more Read less

79
Raunchy, Indulgent, Cliched, Hilarious, Great staging

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

80
Funny, Clever, Great acting, Entertaining, 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.

48
Disappointing, Bad writing, Bad direction, Great cast, wasted

See it if Don't. There's almost no story and the one liners mostly fall flat. Sherie Rene Scott's character is so tightly wound. She deserves better.

Don't see it if you want a cohesive story with believable characters. Cast tries but the story and direction lets them down.

73
Funny, Great acting, Great staging, Expected more, Great one-liners

See it if you want to some good comic sparring between J. Alexander and S.R. Scott and between Mary Testa and everyone. Many great laughs.

Don't see it if you are expecting a story you can relate to . This was punchline after punchline, and while the laughs were plentiful, it lacked substance.

80
Funny, Entertaining, Light

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

Don't see it if You are feeling grumpy.

45
Indulgent, Banal, Disappointing, Cliched, Insipid

See it if You like sitcom style writing, (bad sitcoms), banal dialogue, cliched situations and obvious plotting. If you want cleverness and wit nix it

Don't see it if You like John Patrick Shanley, because this will make you rethink it. Some jokes, but god is it painful. Maybe he has an evil twin.

75
Funny, Raunchy, Confusing, Cliched, Uneven

See it if Sheree Renee Scott was hysterical. Jason Alexander -- no so much. There were a lot of very funny lines/moments, but somehow it did not

Don't see it if funny. There were also many moments of pathos, which did not seem in character with the comedy. it just did not seem to know what it was.

Also was -- a comedy or a drama with comedic moments. The sets were great a... Read more Read less

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?

Also I laughed once during the entire show. Lines that are meant to be funn... Read more Read less

74
Funny, Clever, Entertaining, Fluffy

See it if You like sweet amusing plays. Enjoyable evening

Don't see it if Looking for profound, hilarious or memorable

76
Funny, Dizzying, Great acting, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if you want a madcap nonstop comedy, very current with references to Trump . Don't mind sexual and ethnic references/humor. Light and funny

Don't see it if Want something deep and meaningful. Don't like sexual references. Are easily offended by ethnic humor.

40
Banal, Disappointing, Excruciating, Cliched, Fluffy

See it if you love Mary Testa.She is BRILLIANT. Jason Alexander is also terrific, playing to type Play itself is awful. Can't believe Shanley wrote it

Don't see it if you can avoid it.Boring, crass, dull,stereotyped characters. Set and lighting were very good. The script is just empty, nothing there.

75
Funny, Entertaining

See it if It is light fun with some good actors. If you like little romcoms that are smart and well acted, you should see.

Don't see it if If you're looking for something weightier or important.

70
Miscast, Lacked chemistry, Quirky, light script

See it if love Mary Testa. She steals every scene she's in. Script was sweet, and I liked the characters, but the 4 leads and direction had issues.

Don't see it if don't like light comedies that lack any chemistry in the ensemble. Pacing is descent, but the actors don't connect.

Also I didn't dislike this play, but I spend time afterwards thinking who s... Read more Read less

50
Funny, Banal, Slow

See it if You were a huge George Costanza fan. There are some very funny moments but overall nit much there.

Don't see it if You want more than a few laughs from a theater experience.

78
Great acting, Quirky, Cliched, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if you want to see a great comic ensemble deliver laugh after laugh, and don't care if it really doesn't add up to much. So much fun!

Don't see it if you want your plays, even comedies, to SAY something. This really doesn't. But boy, it's enjoyable!

63
Funny, Quirky, Slow, at times

See it if you are a Jason Alexander fan and like a show that is predictable.

Don't see it if want to be thoughtfully challenged.

58
Funny, Disappointing, Dated, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if You are happy to see Jason Alexander acting in an off-Bway play. Nothing new from playwright Shanley. Some funny lines. Beautiful sets.

Don't see it if You don't want to see a TV sit com for theater prices.

79
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