Members say: Disappointing, Great acting, Slow, Quirky, Relevant

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. 

... Read 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.

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Good deals for specific dates
$39 - $69
through 8/26


July 5 - 11, 2018
$39 - $59 Orchestra

July 13 - August 26, 2018
$49 - $69 Orchestra


Tickets regularly $55 - $85. Offer valid for performances thru 08/26/18. Blackout dates may apply. Prices do not include a $2 facility fee and a $5 processing fee per ticket for all phone and internet orders. All sales are final - no refunds or exchanges. Offer subject to availability and prior sale. Not valid in combination with any other offers. Performance schedule subject to change. Offer may be revoked or modified at any time without notice. Limit 9 tickets per order. Regular box office hours at The Duke on 42nd Street are: Tuesday - Friday 4pm-7pm; Saturday 12pm-6pm. On performance days: Box Office hours are extended on performance days.

Playbill Club
$39 - $69
through 8/26


Tickets regularly $55 - $85. Offer valid for performances thru 08/26/18. Blackout dates may apply. Prices do not include a $2 facility fee and a $5 processing fee per ticket for all phone and internet orders. All sales are final - no refunds or exchanges. Offer subject to availability and prior sale. Not valid in combination with any other offers. Performance schedule subject to change. Offer may be revoked or modified at any time without notice. Limit 9 tickets per order.

$39 - $69
through 8/26


Blackout dates may apply. Prices do not include a $2 facility fee and a $5 processing fee per ticket for all phone and internet orders. All sales are final — no refunds or exchanges. Offer subject to availability and prior sale. Not valid in combination with any other offers. Performance schedule subject to change. Offer may be revoked or modified at any time without notice. Limit 9 tickets per order.

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Good discounts, but availability varies
$39 - $49


“Pendleton has wisely recruited Nichols to play the insufferable protagonist...Her performance as Margery is downright mesmeric. Wulp's script, though admirably literate, is overlong and overwritten; but the scenes in Act Two when Margery travels to Jerusalem are worth the price of admission...This comedy may be overlong, but it's dollars to doughnuts that Wulp's script and Pendleton's production afford a far more invigorating experience than any of those academic papers at the Kempe symposiu... Full Review

New York Arts

"Would be an even more entertaining production were it somewhat shorter...The play is talky, funny and energetic although it comes down to a picaresque venture that doesn’t impart meaning deeper than a look at a woman who rails against having her life defined by men. What’s new?...Although entertaining much of the time, the play lacks substance. Despite the good performances, it comes off as a series of vignettes with a lot of nudge-nudge/wink-wink." Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

“A two note play, with the one note delusional and schizophrenic lead challenging a more consciously fabricated Joan of Arc on one side of the net against a devilishly desperate soul on the other...Somewhat odd morality play...Bounces back and forth, from farce and fun to tiring and long...Too much explanation and not much variety in its conflict leads to a long tennis match of godliness, one that loses its funny premise early on, and the game just falls flat after that.” Full Review

Wolf Entertainment Guide

“An attempt to highlight Kempe’s break from the expected position of women in society in her time as a parallel to wider aspirations for women today. But what we see on stage doesn’t mesh with such a leap...But what we see is of interest, especially given the flamboyant portrait of Kempe as vigorously enacted by Nichols...Pendleton as director struggles to keep all of the broad components making sense and effectively integrated. But dominating everything is the force of Nichols’s performance." Full Review

Time Out New York

"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 about the performative nature of holiness itself. But the play needs more beauty, more speed, more strangeness, more noise." Full Review

New York Theater

"There are two problem with the Voltairean touches in 'The Saintliness of Margery Kempe.' First, they undermine the promise of entering the world (and the mind) of a medieval mystic; satire keeps us at a distance — or, more precisely, keeps us in the modern world. Second, Wulp is no Voltaire. For that matter, Austin Pendleton is no Mel Brooks. There is pointed dialogue, clever ironies. There is talent on stageLAndrus Nichols makes a fine Margery...But the entertainment goes just so far." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"The thematic relevance of a forgotten play doesn't automatically translate into dramatic effectiveness…Much of interest but also something of a lump…Working under Pendleton's not particularly inventive direction…Nichols makes a dynamic and forceful Margery, embodying the comical and serious sides of her kooky determination…The arch manner in which Margery's experiences are presented, and the generally tepid quality of the humor, would try the patience of a saint." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"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 focus to remain on the strong performances...Despite its flaws, 'Margery Kempe' is a reminder that a woman does not have to be a saint nor a sinner to change the world." Full Review

Woman Around Town

“Much of the writing is period poetic, much is amusing, yet the production rarely lifts off. The company is lackluster and unfocused. Physical direction lacks imagination and structure. What should, I think, snap, doesn’t...O’Connell is too casual/contemporary by half and a hammy member of the crowd...Doyle brings the stage to life with every nuanced appearance. A subtle and sympathetic performance...Nichols offers just the right obtuse, bright-eyed, pigheaded portrayal.” Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

"It is hard to care about a character when she is so self-absorbed...The main character wants to be spectacular. The problem is, she doesn’t care at whose expense...Wulp’s text is at times humorous, but it lacks any kind of fiber. Poetic at times, the audience struggles to find meaning in this.. Pendleton has tried his best to make this 60-year-old play entertaining...As Margery, Nichols’s performance struggles against the text to make her human." Full Review

New York Stage Review

"Neither a Monty Python-esque spoof of a darker age nor an amusing character study of an obstreperous individual. It is merely a mildly facetious comedy about a self-centered woman whose personal dramas endear her to no one other than a long-suffering spouse. Overlong at two acts and nearly two hours, the spotty play benefits from the sort of good, solid acting that typically characterizes so many of Pendleton’s productions." Full Review


"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 problem as is 60-year-old clutter that this production dances around in lieu of doing a thorough purge...Our title character feels similarly stranded in a narrative that renders her less than the sum of... Full Review


"The cast list in the program reads more like a medieval phone-directory--even if there were no phones in the Middle Ages--than it does a dramatis personae. And then there's what happens to the characters during the course of the play which is as hard to say as it is to remember all of their names, let alone pronounce them." Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

“Would fare much better if it had remained undiscovered, left lying dead...Historically inaccurate, filled with tedious twists and turns that are insignificant...Difficult to decide if it is a comedy, drama, farce, spoof or a play of historical fiction...Non-coherent, with no apparent continuity, timeline, or purpose...Few comic moments; but, they are far and few between the laborious and dull script...Cast is overly competent and diligently attempts to transcend the material with minor succe... Full Review

New York Stage Review

"In one of my first jotted notes, I wrote, 'Is this a comedy?' I never laughed, but at the performance I attended there were a few titters. So here’s the benefit of the doubt: Okay, 'The Saintliness of Margery Kempe' is a comedy, but a bad one...On how to shake out this dust-ridden screed, director Pendleton is at a complete loss...The pseudo-poetic lines the nine actors are handed—all but Nichols doubling, tripling, quintupling—prove insurmountable." Full Review

Intelligent, Relevant, Dated, Well-acted, Well-written

See it if you like "classic theater," with a feminist perspective. Poetic language, actors proclaiming lines, playing multiple roles.

Don't see it if Unfortunately, the female protagonist is also a religious charlatan whose antics have a unpleasant impact on people's lives.

Funny, Clever, Entertaining

See it if you are interested in learning about one woman's endless search for happiness, her trials and tribulations....

Don't see it if you do not want to be entertained by a cast of characters who play many roles, all seamlessly.

Funny, Quirky, Entertaining

See it if A revival of a 60 years old play about morality in medieval time where a woman refuses to be defined by men or society in search of freedom.

Don't see it if do not like somewhat funny plays.

Edgy, Confusing, Dated, Entertaining, Fluffy

See it if You like Farce but done as in Joan of Arc without the prison and burning at the stake. Campy quick costume changes. U support Noble effort

Don't see it if You get disappointed because something's missing. Doesn't quite hit the mark. You don't have imagination

Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Quirky, Slow

See it if It’s a medieval spoof. Although slow in some parts, the overall plot is good. The jokes are funny. The Lead actress is also quite good.

Don't see it if You don’t like spoofs on drama. Or on religion

Absorbing, Clever, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Resonant

See it if You are interested in shows with some parallels to today's political climate and are also interested in the middle ages.

Don't see it if You only like musicals or are interested in pure entertainment and don't want to be challenged.

Clever, Great acting, Quirky, Entertaining, 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

Clever, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if if you're a fan of August Pendleton and enjoy plays about the woman's movement.

Don't see it if if you do not like period pieces.

Also I liked the play, but thought it was a bit too long, I enjoyed August ... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Great acting, Quirky, Entertaining

See it if You like strong female characters and a frenzied pace

Don't see it if You don't like overreaching plots or actors playing multiple roles

Also I was hoping it would be funnier

Great acting, Slow

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.

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

Quirky, Slow, Well acted, Unusual topic

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.

Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent, Quirky, Slow

See it if you want to see a very well-done performance of a so-so script. Interesting subject but not captivating enough for a full-length production

Don't see it if you need a lot of action, you want to feel very emotionally connected to characters, you want more than one theme revisited throughout.

Great acting, Entertaining

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.

Quirky / somewhat intense, Confusing & dizzying at times, Ambitious / bit long, Strong performances from seasoned actors, Thought-provoking morality conflicts

See it if you've done some Margery Kempe homework. Interesting background story, ambitious undertaking. Strong cast plays numerous roles seamlessly.

Don't see it if you're not up to speed on Kempe &/or the era in which this was written. Sometimes very serious, other times very funny, albeit slapsticky.

Also Do cast & crew credentials make up for dizzying book(s)?... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Clever, Disappointing

See it if you are enthralled by the Middle Ages. The second act is much better than the first.

Don't see it if you prefer your dramas set in a more modern era

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

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

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

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.

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

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

Thought-provoking, Quirky, Relevant, Disappointing, Slow

See it if you're interested in seeing a display of deceit & selfishness, & the destruction of others in the wake of it all.

Don't see it if you have no patience for a long drawn out play.

Also This show is relevant in the sense that we seem to live in a world of ... Read more Read less

Funny, Absorbing, Delightful, Refreshing, Entertaining

See it if you appreciate some clever/funny dialogue and good performances by most of the ensemble.

Don't see it if if you don't appreciate a mostly bare set and period pieces?

Unwieldy script, Picaresque structure undermines point of view, Nichols is splendid; other actors uneven

See it if for Andrus' heroic energy in the title role; her commitment & verve keep afloat an unwieldy and wandering script; you're interested in Kempe

Don't see it if you expect insight into Kempe's eccentric religiosity; play attempts contemporary point of view but sketches of events aren't illuminating

Also If you don't already know Kempe going in, you're not likely to glean m... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Quirky, Disappointing, Slow

See it if You have nothing else to do & the tickets are free.

Don't see it if You like good stories with quality writing, because this show doesn't have that.

Also I will say, that despite the writing, I enjoyed some of the actors. I ... Read more Read less

Clever, Quirky, Relevant, Entertaining, Engaging

See it if You are familiar with the story and don't mind a self absorbed character.

Don't see it if If you are unfamiliar with the story and are disinterested in a woman's search for identity.

Pointless, Indulgent, Disappointing, Slow, Tiresome

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.