New York | 1h 30m | Already closed

The Tricky Part

From 11 critic and 66 member reviews
Members say: Absorbing, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Intense

About the show

Martin Moran’s reprises his OBIE Award-winning solo show, a comic and surprising journey through the complexities of Catholicism, desire, and human trespass. More…

Between the age of 12 and 15, Martin Moran had a sexual relationship with Bob Doyle, a Vietnam veteran who was a counselor at a Catholic boys’ camp. Thirty years later, he meets his abuser again. "The Tricky Part" has been produced and performed all over the world—throughout the United States, Canada, South Africa, and India.

1h 30m | Already closed | TBG Mainstage Theatre (Midtown W)


"The passage of time brings additional wisdom, and this revival finds Moran fearlessly interrogating his own work in an effort to dig even deeper. It's a frank, shocking, and beautifully sincere look at the psyche of a child on the cusp of adulthood, the older man who took advantage, and the difficulty of healing deep wounds...'The Tricky Part' is more than a play...It is as deep and connected an experience as we can have in the theater." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

“’The Tricky Part’ is a stealthy piece of construction; it sneaks up on you when you're not looking and leaves you emotionally poleaxed...Under Barrish's infinitely tactful direction, Moran handles this story entirely without sentimentality or bathos; ‘The Tricky Part' is so honestly written that each word, however painful, feels like a benediction. In the end, it is Moran's candor that saves him, opening the door to the understanding that forgiveness begins with himself.” Full Review

The New York Times

"Beautiful and harrowing,,,This account of a Roman Catholic boyhood interrupted retains a luminous, novelistic complexity that sets it apart from similar tales of stolen childhoods. It is, in its way, a mystery story, in the richest sense...Moran makes sure we acknowledge and respect what is unspoken and perhaps undefinable...14 years after 'The Tricky Part' was first staged, the dialogue between the two continues with full eloquent and ambivalent force. It is unlikely to end — ever." Full Review

Show Showdown

"The writing and performance are amazing. Moran speaks to us personally, confiding in us his deepest wounds as though we are each alone his closest friend. The show is impeccable. But I find the idea of the show troubling. And odd. What is it in a person that motivates him to tell this deeply personal and painful story over and over to rooms of strangers all around the world? What does it feel like?" Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"Feels not just timely but also refreshing, a necessary reminder of the humanity that can be found in even the most traumatic of events...'The Tricky Part' is not the 'child sex abuse show' you might think. It’s a story of reckoning, yes, but also one of grace and kindness, one that suggests that there might be value in even the worst experiences...It’s an essential piece of theatre, and we are lucky that Moran and the Barrow Group have brought it back—see it if you can." Full Review

Fordham Observer

"He is so disarming, such an incredible storyteller — more of a mathematician than a weaver, equipped with such precise recollection, slowly adding up the making and destruction of the child he once was, ticking off the points of trauma like counting constellations — that 'The Tricky Part' is more than enough to stand on its own." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"What Moran has achieved with his play, is that it is indeed a play, and not a monologue or something that could as easily be read, and not necessarily performed. Smartly directed by Seth Barrish, what they bring to the piece with humility and humanity is undeniable...There wasn’t a moment in the play where Moran did not have my full and total attention." Full Review


“Overbearing nuns, eccentric priests and confusing religious tenets are detailed with stand-up comedy gusto...What distinguishes ‘The Tricky Part’ is Moran’s fierce writing that clinically describes what happened with poetic realism...Moran is a captivating storyteller who effortlessly switches from light-hearted to seriousness with vivid facility...It’s all spellbinding due to Moran’s polished performance, his rich writing and the accomplished presentation.” Full Review

Off Off Online

"Seth Barrish, who directed the original, does the same for this production, showing the delicacy of a conductor interpreting a complex symphony transcribed for a single instrument. In the course of 90 minutes, Moran’s performance varies widely in tempi and dynamics, yet the momentum never lags...Moran's beautifully written script steers clear of self-pity, pop psychology, and agitprop, and dramatizes with exquisite simplicity a complex individual’s response to adversity." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"Moran's deeply affecting account has lost none of its potency in the intervening years, and 'The Tricky Part' is a timely reminder of the healing power in sharing and receiving traumatic histories...Moran is a gifted raconteur with a talent for making the audience lean in closer even as they want to pull back when the memories become so excruciatingly personal and disturbing. Indeed, the strength of the play stems from its simplicity." Full Review

The Theatre Times

"Where Moran succeeds so brilliantly is in depicting the complexity of his relationship with Bob, a relationship that wasn’t without tenderness or even love...Moran is a subtle story-teller and his attention to detail nothing short of surgical...It’s his warm voice and soft, gentle eyes that make you feel like you’re sitting across a dinner table and he has just decided he can really trust you." Full Review

Intense, Riveting, Funny, Profound, Masterful

See it if you want an honest account of experiencing sexual abuse as a young teen, and what it takes to find peace as an adult.

Don't see it if you do not feel emotionally prepared for frank descriptions of sexual abuse and later confrontations with the abuser.

Also Though it can be a tough watch- a show centering on child sexual abuse... Read more Read less

Must see, Masterful, Intelligent, Exquisite, Absorbing

See it if You like stories about shared humanity, you grew up in the Catholic Church and can have a good laugh about it.

Don't see it if you like the moral of your theatre to be black-and-white, with no ambiguity or room for thought (truly, just go see it)

Thought-provoking, Great acting, Absorbing, Funny, Heartbreaking

See it if you want a show with heart, that tells a story, and brings you into a world. No real set/props/costumes.It's all in the words and the acting

Don't see it if you are averse to feeling stuff.It is about 5-10 minutes too long, but that's its ONLY flaw.Acting & writing are as good as it gets.

Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you want to see a brave and intelligent coming to terms with sexual trauma experienced as a boy. It's provocative, funny and deeply honest.

Don't see it if you can't abide solo shows. Although this one may change your mind. Beautifully wrought piece of theater.

Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great acting, Exquisite, Absorbing

See it if a lacerating but highly relatable one-man recounting of sexual abuse might interest you. It is BEAUTIFULLY written and rendered. Excellent

Don't see it if you don't like solo autobiographical shows or sometimes sexually graphic (but also profound) stories / tales of sexual abuse are too tough.

Masterful, Humanizing, Upsetting, Absorbing, Deft

See it if you seek a moving, superbly-executed *solo* perf., melding monologue with dramaturgy, on one's being sexually exploited as a young t(w)een.

Don't see it if you are unwilling to "do" solo theater; gay-themed material; or a frank recounting of pedophilia - the act itself and its lasting effects.

Also Moran is masterful monologist and storyteller. He has woven his Cathol... Read more Read less

Exceptional storytelling!!!, Profound, Absorbing, Great writing, Riveting

See it if You want to be mesmerized by one of the best storytellers I’ve seen in a long time. He weaves a deeply personal story of anger/forgiveness.

Don't see it if You don’t like one person shows, though this is one of the best. Even though it’s a very serious subject he uses a good deal of humor.

Powerful, Emotional, Great writing, Absorbing

See it if This is a true story. He folds out his life and shares good and bad experience. The bad/hard parts can be upsetting .

Don't see it if Abuse, one man show.

Also This is one of those story that need to be told not just to adult but ... Read more Read less

Intelligent, Great writing, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if You can handle the joy and the trauma of attending Catholic school being presented very well.

Don't see it if You are expecting a cute show like Nunsense

Thought-provoking, Riveting, Relevant, Resonant, Funny

See it if interested in a nuanced, honest, and unflinching look at child sexual trauma. Moran finds the humanity in the most inhumane moments.

Don't see it if TW: child sexual trauma. Don't like criticism of the Catholic Church.

Also Disarmingly personable and intimately familiar. The playwright/perform... Read more Read less

Must see, Soft yet raw, Layered & mature, Courageous, Masterful

See it if To experience brillant Martin Moran bio show with a natural voice, to explore difficult subjects and contradictions in abusive relationships

Don't see it if You see things in white & black terms and have only anger / no compassion for abusers You are uncomfortable with LGBTQ sexuality

Also Martin Moran is at the top of the craft with this stunner. He digs int... Read more Read less

Masterful, Relevant, Profound, Moving, Intense

See it if I felt an intense connection with the author through his tale of suffering, loss of innocence, and ultimately, compassion.

Don't see it if You aren't up for an explicit story of sexual abuse that goes to surprising, ambiguous places. Life is rarely black & white.

Great writing, Thought-provoking, Riveting, Resonant, Great acting

See it if You like truthful, heartfelt stories well-told.

Don't see it if You don't like solo shows and don't like upsetting material.

Profound, Intelligent, Absorbing

See it if You enjoy one man shows that are masterfully performed and carefully balances heavy and light

Don't see it if You don't like one man shows or want something fluffy

Absorbing, Intelligent, Resonant, Thought-provoking, Great writing

See it if You want a very well written, well rendered play detailing the emotions and reactions and effects of sexual advances upon a young person

Don't see it if If you do not care for one man shows or want to face some unpleasant facts.

Masterful, Absorbing, Risk taking - honest - courageous

See it if To explore sexual abuse from a deeply personal vantage point To understand shame and need for self-forgiveness experienced by victims

Don't see it if If abuse issues hit too close to home and would trigger trauma or if you are unable/unwillingly to feel compassion for gay victims of abuse

Funny, Riveting

See it if Expert raconteur shares far more than just a story. His self-examination is so honest and intelligent and there's plenty of humor.

Don't see it if You need extremes - villains and heroes. Even if you don't usually like solo shows, MM is so damn likable and such a great storyteller.

Also One of the best solo shows I've ever seen. MM never seemed like he was... Read more Read less

Great acting, Great writing

See it if Masterful retelling and reflecting of his complicated time with an older man who took advantage of his childhood innocence & gay development

Don't see it if Sexual trauma of a 12 yo boy intersecting with Catholicism is triggering. Don't like one person shows.

Also Free ticket from Show Score.

This intense one-man show takes you emotionally inside the molesting of a child and his healing from it. powerful and important., Great writing, Intense, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You want real and intense probing into the emotional damage caused by the molesting of a child. Very valuable insight.

Don't see it if It may be too painfully intense for some who might be triggered by it to relive their own bad experience.

Resonant, Absorbing, Great writing

See it if you want to feel connect with the author through his tale of suffering, compassion and loss of innocence.

Don't see it if you don't like shows with a subject matter that is too intense or has a personal trigger

Spectacular performance about a young boy's survival and healing; a brave, deeply personal show that exudes strength, love and a profound devotion to understanding life's complexities!

See it if You want to be moved & feel hopeful

Don't see it if You can't handle some harsh reality

Thought-provoking, Resonant, Funny, Absorbing

See it if Simply staged, well-structured, and compelling, a personal story delivered with a sympathetic warmth that belies the tragic horror beneath.

Don't see it if Just like life, the piece isn’t neatly tied up or cathartic, and you don’t have to be gay, Catholic, or an abuse victim to appreciate it.

Insightful, Unabashedly personal, Intense, Funny, Absorbing

See it if you enjoy autobiographical solo pieces. One of the best going esp. given the disturbing subject. Moran seduces the audience completely.

Don't see it if a bare stage, one man show format bores you. Fair warning, the story is true and very unsettling. Humor helps navigate the tricky journey.

Great writing, Must see, Intense, Masterful, Profound

See it if You want to be mesmerized by a heartfelt true story told by a masterful actor. I was riveted, but also entertained. Just go.

Don't see it if You don't like solo shows, minimalistic sets, or true stories, or you are triggered by stories of sexual abuse.

Intelligent, Relevant, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You like one man shows that truly shine a light on abuse of young men. It’s very sincere and moving

Don't see it if If want a lighter play. This one touches deep places in the heart.

Cast & Creatives (4)