Already closed | 2h 30m | Midtown W

The Whirligig

From 139 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Disappointing, Absorbing, Slow, Confusing

About the show

The New Group presents Hamish Linklater's new drama about a fractured community weaving a circuitous route back to one another. ​Starring Zosia Mamet ('Girls') and two-time Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz. More…

After much time away, Kristina is back in Berkshire County, and word spreads that she and her ex-husband are caring for their estranged, ailing daughter Julie. Brokenhearted and giddy with love and confusion, surprising visitors from Julie's complicated past practically trip over each other to reach the young woman they thought they'd lost years before but still feel deeply connected to.

Member Reviews (139)


Great acting, Disappointing, Absorbing, Slow, Confusing
Avg Score

Disappointing, Unconvincing, Inconsistent characters, Strong acting, Great set

See it if you like dysfunctional family/friend dramedies. TW has huge gaps in plot/character, but the strong cast delivers zippy lines. Impressive set

Don't see it if you want deep insights. TW doesn't add up. Moments of revelation are awkward (almost laughable). Overstuffed plotting; improbable ending.

Also this show is way too long, with too little payoff. The revolving set a... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Unnecessarily long, Disjointed, Lost

See it if You are a fan of one of the actresses. Their scenes are good and the most make sense.

Don't see it if You are a fan of one of the actors. All of their scenes could be scraped with no consequence to the "plot". Sad subject done with no heart.

Also So frustrating that you can't even figure out how to make it better. W... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Unfocused, Slow, Frustrating, Uneven

See it if ACT 1: 50 / ACT 2: 75: Act2 is vast improvement on Act 1. The women & Orsini all did well. Long Flashback scene in 2nd act was the strongest

Don't see it if Act1 is a CHORE to get through, all over the place; most scenes are pointless, VERY boring & at times obnoxious. Couple actors overacting.

Also The show runs 2.5 hours. So much could be cut and streamlined. Mr. Cor... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Entertaining, Interesting, Engaging, Nascent

See it if you want to see a winsome, if imperfect, play by Linklater. A good dramaturge could tighten the script & loose ends of this fledgling play.

Don't see it if you aren't willing to give an experimental piece with a number of plot holes a chance. This was written in earnest & has a lot of potential.

Ambitious, Cliched, Confusing, Thought-provoking, Good acting

See it if Linklater's emotionally charged drama is barely saved by superior acting Themes of reciprocity & blame try to emerge amid whirligig of ideas

Don't see it if Elliot's valiant direction tries to bring coherence but is often defeated However, ending does come together in a somewhat convoluted way

Clever, Edgy, Great staging, Thought-provoking

See it if Loved the staging, acting all good But... 80 and and a 70 produces the 75. Sets are great. Small space works well.

Don't see it if some scenes needed more projection by the actors. .. some confusion re; who is whom.. Will be better with some tender loving care.

Great acting, Cliched, Disappointing, Indulgent, Romantic

See it if You'd enjoy an everyone-is-connected dramedy performed by an ace ensemble.

Don't see it if You don't need to see another suburban-set, white-family dramedy about addiction, love, loss, and death.

Confusing, Disappointing, Great acting

See it if you enjoy characters that do not encourage your sympathy. I could not like any character. I wanted to like this play but couldn't.

Don't see it if you like whiney characters.

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting

See it if Extremely well-acted & heartbreaking tale about a mom's daughter who is dying because of a decision made years ago. Superb cast.

Don't see it if You're easily confused and can't keep track of scenes that go back and forth in time.

Disappointing, Slow, Uneven, Has potential, Underwhelming

See it if you want to see a play with potential and a talented cast; you can hold out for a more interesting second act.

Don't see it if There is a good story here and the play could be profound. Unfortunately, there is too much fat and not enough meat to make this compelling

Also This play is a work in progress and not yet ready for Off Broadway. At... Read more Read less

This should have been better

See it if you want to see a dark depressing drama, which is my kind of show

Don't see it if If a bunch of crazy coincidences both you

Also This is exactly the kind of play that I love on paper but its a little... Read more Read less

Great staging, Relevant, Confusing, Disappointing, Slow

See it if you want to see a very good cast performing a sad, mixed up show. While subject matter was relevant, the time shifts were confusing to many

Don't see it if you can't follow non-linear plots; you want light subject matter; you prefer musicals.

Confusing, Disappointing, Great staging

See it if you like dialogue driven shows about addiction, with non-linear timelines and no happy endings.

Don't see it if you need a linear plot line and you want a clear resolution. I had trouble following what was going on, and frankly lost interest in trying.

Slow, Absorbing

See it if you want to see a good, but not great play dealing with themes of addiction, grief, and guilt. Excellent cast despite flaws in script.

Don't see it if you don't like plays that drag on too long or seeing some great acting wasted on a mediocre script.

I hate to say anything anti-hamish linklater, but this was tedious.

See it if You love Norbert Leo Butz. For the last 5 minutes.

Don't see it if For the other over 2 hours.

Also I really wanted to like this. I understand the whys and the hows of th... Read more Read less

Interesting, Quirky, Great acting, Forced

See it if you enjoy stories about unusual relationships between dysfunctional friends and estranged family members.

Don't see it if interconnections between unlikely people, apparently for dramatic effect, bother you, or if you prefer happy straight-forward stories.

Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Sad, Great acting, Needs editing

See it if you enjoy well developed characters and masterful acting. Butz is great.

Don't see it if you don't like sad plays and flawed characters that are often hard to like.

Challenging, Compelling, Some fine, some inaudible acting, Flabby, Provocative

See it if Interesting concept: which less than perfect person in one's life is responsible for your fall into drug dependency? The rush among Julie's

Don't see it if ...failed support system to assume blame is affecting, if contrived, & ultimately unsatisfying, but moments of raw hope, pain & love emerge.

Great acting, Great writing, Great staging, Confusing, Ending is its only flaw

See it if you want a play that infuses comedy into sad situations beautifully. Because of its flow between now and then, it requires concentration.

Don't see it if you are looking for an easy straight forward play

Disappointing, Slow, Contrived

See it if You are a Norbert Leo Butz fan. He is terrific.

Don't see it if You want a well written play with realistic characters. This is not it. Very contrived to intertwine the people; does not work.

Also Too many padded scenes. Too many coincidences.

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Riveting, Masterful

See it if Beautifully written and produced play about family and friends relationships.A psychological look at the results of early unmet needs.

Don't see it if If you prefer light dramas or musicals.

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Sad, Character driven, Interesting

See it if you like excellent acting, character analysis and an examination of poor decision making and its effect in peoples' future lives.

Don't see it if you favor escapist light entertainment with happy endings.

Great acting, Intense, Confusing, Sad

See it if You appreciate great acting within a somewhat confusing play. Sad examination of the cycle of addiction. Norbert Leo Butz was outstanding.

Don't see it if The play doesn't totally hold together coherently; some characters seemed unnecessary, confusing. The acting was better than the play.

Disappointing, Slow, Confusing, Banal, Casting a tony award winning actor and a popular tv actress in a bad playdoes not make the play worth seeing.......

See it if (ONLY) you need to kill two and a half hours in an air-conditioned midtown location, before meeting friends for drinks or dinner.

Don't see it if you have a closet, cabinet, or desk drawer that needs to be cleaned out. Your time is better spent cleaning out that closet, cabinet, & desk

Also "Curiosity killed the cat" is a proverb used to warn of the dangers of... Read more Read less

Confusing, Slow, Ridiculous, uncaring characters

See it if You want to see a 2.5 hour play about a dying addict & the people in her life including her parents and those responsible for her illness.

Don't see it if you don't like a play with unlikable characters and a story-line that is a bit confusing to follow and you really don't care about.

May 21st, 2017
"While 'The Whirligig' offers treats for fans of in-the-moment acting, its moments fail to cohere...Linklater has done a great job in furnishing the interiors of his characters’ lives, but the teetering structure they inhabit creaks...By the end, you may feel as if that set had nearly been spun o...
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May 21st, 2017
"This uncomfortable mixture of tragedy and comedy is central to Linklater’s affecting and intelligent new play...Scott Elliott’s production keeps a steady sense of balance amid the play’s swirling parts, creating strong bonds of unspoken history within his cast of eight...Even in its exuberant pe...
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May 21st, 2017
"'The Whirligig' never overcomes its strained overwriting and overplotting. There’s genuine emotion at its core and no shortage of wit in the dialogue, featuring generous doses of dark humor. But you can always feel the mechanical wheels whirring in this play performed on a revolving stage. Direc...
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May 21st, 2017
"Expressionistic in form and melancholy in tone...Despite the downbeat subject, it’s a touching play and exceptionally stageworthy in this polished production...The emotional swings of the play are best realized by Butz, who’s giving a brilliant chameleon performance...This sprawling, plot-free p...
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