Already closed | 2h 0m | Midtown W

The Saintliness of Margery Kempe

From 112 member  reviews
Members say: Disappointing, Great acting, Slow, Quirky, Funny

About the show

Austin Pendleton directs a new revival of this comic drama from the 50s, which follows the true-life misadventures of the famed English woman of the 14th Century.  More…

Margery Kempe thinks she is a remarkable woman. The rest of the world doesn't quite see it that way. Kempe begins her career by throwing her lot in with the Devil and buying a brewery. When this doesn’t work out, she decides to become a saint instead, although she has none of the qualifications for the job. Based on 'The Book of Margery Kempe,' the first autobiography written in English.

2h 0m | Already closed | The Duke on 42nd Street (Midtown W)

Member Reviews (112)


Disappointing, Great acting, Slow, Quirky, Funny
Avg Score

Range of acting, Uneven tone, Drawn out, Interesting story, Thought-provoking

See it if you're a Nichols fan; she stands out. O'Connell is a worthy counterpart. Ensemble isn't great (director's fault?) TSMK's plot fascinates.

Don't see it if you're easily bored; every scene is too long. Humor unevenly elicits laughs. Key messages get buried. Not a waste, but misses the mark.

Also TSMK is highly uneven. Sometimes the script is brilliant (and funny) a... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Confusing, Funny, Quirky, Uneven

See it if You don’t mind seeing a show that’s got some pretty good moments in it but gets bogged down with some pretty uneven acting.

Don't see it if You want a great show with good acting, sets and costumes. It all felt pretty amateurish to me.

Disappointing, Excruciating, Quirky

See it if You want a comedy that is not that funny.first act all over, second has better energy but still falls short.

Don't see it if If you want a more serious play. If you want something that is consistant.

Confusing, Disappointing, Slow, Dated, Ungodly

See it if you want to learn of an obscure 1490s mystic & poor man's Joan of Arc in an obscure (& dull) 1950s play about the relentless search for fame

Don't see it if you expect to laugh [I'm not really sure this is even a comedy], to be moved, or to be impressed by Pendleton's usually reliable direction.

Ambitious, Slow, Disappointing, Thought-provoking

See it if if you feel that effort deserves some rewards Also if you enjoy drawn out escapades and want to see some fine acting

Don't see it if you want to see a story that you can believe where a woman leaves her 14 (reduced to less than half) children behind to search for ??????

Great acting, Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Quirky

See it if you want a night of escape with a great troupe of actors bringing about hilarity with a medieval story.

Don't see it if if you are impatient - the first act dragged a little at times, but the production was redeemed in the second act.

Ambitious, Quirky, Great acting

See it if Forlorn middle-aged wife in Middle Ages feigns sainthood, expecting adventurous life unencumbered. Comedy centers on passable lead.

Don't see it if Staticly-staged comedy that Austin Pendleston directs time and time again.

Humorous tale of woman during the middle ages who wants to be a saint; but playwright is no chaucer

See it if unusual picaresque tale set in middle ages about a woman who asserts herself, less saint, more pain in the a**; breezy humor; solid cast

Don't see it if cartoonish characters, humor often overly broad, almost vaudevillian; some scenes too long, dialogue sometimes listless

Also According to Wikipedia: Margery Kempe (c. 1373 – after 1438) was an En... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Slow, Quirky, Little funny

See it if This comedy has some funny parts. It's about a woman who wants more out of life during the time when women didn't have choices.

Don't see it if If you just like musicals.

Slow, Great acting

See it if Several funny scenes like when she goes on the pilgrimage dressed as a fake saint and the boat hits a wild storm.

Don't see it if Would be funnier as a 90 minute farce, no intermission. Runs 2 hours 15 minutes.

Uneven tone, Too long, too dull, Really, why?, Disappointing

See it if You are fascinated with the idea of resurrecting "the first autobio" and want to follow a woman's strange desire to be recognized as great.

Don't see it if You are an Austin P. fan (but he falls short here,) or are ok with a few talented actors working hard to make you care about any of it.

Clever, Entertaining, Quirky, Great acting, Totally unique!!

See it if You like comedies about midieval times that are quirky & require you to let your imagination just go with it. Great acting. Very funny!!

Don't see it if You need structure and consistency like a Shakespeare play. Mocks religion. Raunchy at times and out there. Not for the straight-laced.

Also The actors are fantastic. They deliver the material with direction by ... Read more Read less

A not very funny farce

See it if You like farce of any kind

Don't see it if You want a good funny show.

Disappointing, Insipid, Slow, Dull

See it if You know someone in the cast or like very dialogue heavy over the top pieces. This didn't know if it wanted to be a comedy or drama.

Don't see it if The staging was unmotivated, good actors- whom I normally love- played over the top characters that were boring and felt forced.

Ambitious, Disappointing, Indulgent, Slow, Relevant

See it if you are a big fan of Austin Pendleton and want to support his efforts; otherwise I can't recommend it.

Don't see it if you don't have time to waste.

Banal, Confusing, Disappointing, Slow

See it if You’re very patient

Don't see it if If you want an interesting play.

Unexpectedly hilarious medieval comedy

See it if Expertly acted comedy (!) of religious mystic woman in 15th century England. Andrus Nichols on a comic romp as the obsessive Margery.

Don't see it if You have no interest in the Middle Ages. Director Austin Pendleton takes this story of a religious fanatic and turns it on its head. A riot!

Disappointing, Slow, Funny

See it if you enjoy morality plays, parodies, or plays with interesting female characters. Occasionally funny with some good acting performances.

Don't see it if you prefer plays with a quick pace and consistent tone. Some scenes drag while the attempted humor in other scenes missed the mark.

Indulgent, Tiresome, Disappointing, Slow, Pointless

See it if you like the cast, who did their best with little to work with. I’d watch Jason O’Connell read a phone book, & I rather wished he had been.

Don't see it if you require a sympathetic protagonist, an interesting plot, or a reason to care about anything happening onstage.

Quirky, Unusual topic, Well acted, Slow

See it if a cleverly staged play about a medieval woman’s claim of sanctity with actors playing multiple roles (a la Bedlam) good-naturedly appeals.

Don't see it if First act drags, you’ll sit through some muggery & I found it a bit misogynistic, but second act perks up. Philosophical but easy to follow.

Rough, Failed & uncomfortable humor punctuates much of the show, Hard-working actors, Disappointing, Uneven pacing, writing, & direction

See it if you support great actors doing their darnedest to make a poorly-done play, with some comedic attempts, work to hit head and funny-bone.

Don't see it if seeking riotous humor or a thoughtful work with a clear, poignant end message. The very religious may take offense to the mockery of faith.

Also The off-beat The Saintliness of Margery Kempe is based upon the first ... Read more Read less

Clever, Funny, Great acting, Entertaining, Intelligent

See it if you like shows with intelligent humor about religion and society that is as timely today as it was in yesteryear.

Don't see it if you don't like jokes about social commentary or are a devout Christian who is easily offended.

Entertaining, Great acting

See it if You want to see a play about a woman that feels she wants more out of life and she sets out to get it among challenges and obstacles.

Don't see it if You are not interested in a play about a woman on a mission.

Fine acting, Relevant, Good "message", Humor just "misses", A bit too long

See it if like shows about women's place in society, religious hypocrisy, farces, excellent acting and a timely message from the 14th century.

Don't see it if you dislike farces that just "miss" being funny enough and are tired of discrimination against women themes.


See it if Desperate housewife of Middle Ages England lies her way to fame and wrecking balls her way through people. Charlatan doesn’t seem to learn.

Don't see it if Whiny white woman, waa, weep, waa stories annoy you. Quick switching of actors as characters is confusing.

Also Free ticket from Show Score.

August 1st, 2018
"The great Frances Sternhagen played Margery in the original Off Broadway production, in 1959, opposite Gene Hackman...The delightful news about Austin Pendleton’s uneven revival, is that the standard for those roles hasn’t slipped a millimeter...Nichols and O’Connell are delicious to watch...The...
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July 12th, 2018
"Performance-wise, it’s all over the place...Nearly half of Wulp’s comedy is repetitive and, in this iteration, unfunny. After a long stretch of dullness, the play finds a spark of energy in its second act...There’s relevance here—something about our seemingly endless appetite for attention, or a...
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July 12th, 2018
"Something much duller than it has any right to be...With no rhyme or reason to Margery's victories, defeats, and internalized lessons, these ebbs and flows feel as arbitrary as her whims. Director Austin Pendleton has set out to dust off this 60-year-old play. Dust, however, isn't so much the pr...
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July 12th, 2018
"One can understand the attraction...Ultimately, however, Wulp's play is disappointing. The play aims for big laughs, but not all of the ludicrousness lands...Still, Pendleton has drawn fine performances from his nine-person ensemble...The production benefits from a spare design, allowing the foc...
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