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"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 off its axis. But you’ll also be unlikely to forget the moments in which time seemed to stand still, when the cast fully embodied the script’s insights about the consequences of self-medication." Full Review
"'That’s a lot to digest,' a character says in 'The Whirligig.' After the many plot revelations and chronology-scrambling jumps of Hamish Linklater’s new play, the audience may be inclined to agree...The cast mostly rises to the challenge and is comfortable with the tonal shifts...Scott Elliott stages this production smoothly, considering the constant, challenging changes in setting and timeline...Too bad the big picture that emerges lacks the needed emotional payoff." Full Review
"Linklater creates great roles for talented actors, and this cast just happens to be full of them...We are glad to get to know these characters so intimately, but the price is a script that often feels shaggy and overburdened by ancillary details. Linklater could stand to trim some of his dialogue, even if this cast is doing an excellent job of selling it all...Director Scott Elliott's tidy production also helps to keep the play from getting stuck in a rut." Full Review
"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 play has room for all sorts of characters...Director Elliott is a certifiable casting maven, so each of these colorful supporting roles is played to eccentric perfection." Full Review
"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 penultimate scene, crowded with characters and revelations, Linklater doesn’t overexplain. He gives his stricken creations room to understand themselves, if not redeem themselves." Full Review
"'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. Director Scott Elliott toils to provide cohesion to the disjointed proceedings but proves unable to overcome the overall artifice. But he’s certainly elicited fine performances from the large cast." Full Review
"Linklater has a keen dramatic sense, plus a knack for sparkling dialogue...Despite the serious strains of the evening, the result is heartening and life-affirming...The cast, methinks, could not be bettered...Let it be said that 'The Whirligig,' as a play, is not without its problems; it is long and might seem overcomplicated for playgoers who haven’t necessarily signed on for an evening of studying...I would say, though, that the revenges of the whirligig of time are Linklater’s point." Full Review
“Linklater’s new play displays a performer’s instinct for juicy, conflict-stuffed scenes. There are flaws in construction, but overall, it’s a worthy effort…Linklater is guilty of oversimplification...But he makes up for this error with engaging dialogue and heartbreaking pathos…The first act spends too much time going over the past while the superior second act shows us these conflicts in flashback...Director Elliott and a solid cast valiantly attempt to keep the rehashing vital.” Full Review
"Such unlikely coincidences and contrivances might have sunk completely a different production and a different new play. But Linklater manages to salvage the play’s odd mix of the forlorn, funny, and fanciful by creating appealing and playable characters, who are portrayed by a fine eight-member cast...The design team is adept at keeping the places and periods clear, and helping to infuse what on paper would seem an unrelieved dark tale with a sense of wonder." Full Review
“Intricately plotted, yet emotionally indistinct…What is surprising is how little the revelations matter. If ‘The Whirligig’ offered a psychological acuity to match the rigorousness of its plotting, it would have really been something…In the end, we are asked to care about Julie largely because she is young and fatally ill. After two and a quarter hours of sound and fury signifying so little, this simply isn't reason enough.” Full Review
"The writing, combined with fine, fine performances and a sensitive touch by director Scott Elliott, make for a mighty fine evening of theatre. So fine that a person could almost forget that this play needs a trim...Linklater is in no hurry to move the plot along, which causes the story to get bogged down. What saves everything is his masterful work creating these characters. Each person is a fully formed hunk of damaged goods...A jewel in the making. So close." Full Review
“Hamish Linklater's rambling but often richly listenable new play…It takes a long time to get an inkling of where the play is going, what the stakes are, or why we should be concerned enough to return for Act Two…The dialogue often has a nimble, smartass flavor that, while sometimes registering more as clever stage talk than believable conversation, nevertheless helps sustain interest and spark laughter…'The Whirligig' offers considerable meat for its actors to chew on.” Full Review
“Drama doesn’t accrue. What develops instead is a series of scenes with characters constantly raising their voices…Linklater’s characters don’t so much ratchet up drama as increasingly become pains in the neck…They’re also company whose intertwining, as Linklater arranges it, can seem forced...Linklater does have a knack for pithy and frequently amusing dialogue…Some, but hardly all, of Linklater’s playwriting problems are mitigated by Scott Elliott’s direction.” Full Review
"Linklater’s new play 'The Whirligig' is wrapped in grief, yet you laugh at the insights on life...Filled with some amazing performances...To many this play will seem overwhelming, as if too much has been stuffed onto this canvass. The actors are all sublime and the direction by Scott Ellis is a dance of destruction nicely played. I found this show so emotional I was laughing through the first act and in tears by the end...Smart, funny and touching." Full Review
"A whirligig of inconsistency. That includes the storytelling and the acting...For each decent, believable scene there are two or three others that sound tinny and strain credulity...When all is said and done in this production, there’s blame, responsibility and, possibly, forgiveness to go around — along with a slightly uplifting ending that emerges unearned." Full Review
"A tedious evening of odd exchanges, push me-pull you confrontations, and long detours down paths better left unexplored...The story skips confusingly about in time...The director, Elliott, isn’t able to keep the threads from getting hopelessly tangled until the welcome sorting out of things as 'The Whirligig' spins to its somber conclusion. Linklater reveals each of these characters with considerable warmth and compassion, which does nothing to alleviate their essential banality." Full Review
"Anyone giving this somewhat self-indulgently long, complex drama the called for close attention will be well rewarded. Linklater has created a rich tapestry of inter-connected lives. He writes terrific dialogue, full of wonderful literary references...Norbert Leo Butz is ideally cast as Michael, the father who's always ready with a funny routine even when his heart is breaking...The cast overall is outstanding." Full Review
"Linklater’s characters are all well-rounded and authentic, with believable traits and rich and complex conflicts that successfully drive the engaging plot...Under Scott Elliott’s thoughtful and embracing direction, the characters 'unfold' in layers of surprising details...'The Whirligig' is a gripping psychodrama that explores the intricate dynamics of grief, forgiveness, and reconciliation...Linklater’s impressive play is a must-see." Full Review
“A touching new play…Each and everyone in this spectacularly talented cast is playing their parts with solid authenticity and exactitude...The dialogue is so smart but sometimes so hard to watch…It’s a shame that as a whole, the play doesn’t rise to the same level of solid authenticity as these few moments…As a whole, it’s convoluted and blurs the deep pain that hovers over these people…The heartbreak comes into focus every so often, but then retreats to the background.” Full Review
“When Jon DeVries as Mr. Cormeny says a few minutes before the end of Hamish Linklater's second New York play, ‘The Whirligig,’ ‘That's a lot to digest,’ he isn't kidding. Most of this two hour and 20 minute play is exposition of the kind which gives background and information. It isn't until almost the final scene that all the pieces fall into place and the audience knows how all of the eight characters are connected.” Full Review
"The play’s many revelations would be upsetting if they were credible...Its many short scenes aren’t always clearly identified as being flashbacks or flash forwards...Linklater ends his play with one big kumbaya moment that would challenge even the most ardent watcher of Lifetime TV...Elliott can be credited with putting together a great ensemble...What Elliott hasn’t been able to do is prevent Mamet and others from overreaching when the script asks for a lot of screaming." Full Review
"Quirky, tender, and often quite funny...The play's broad and ambitious theme of our collective responsibility to one another in this crazy world takes a back seat to the production itself. The power of the play lies within its individual scenes, each of which is a self-contained mini-drama...Credit Scott Elliott's direction...and the outstanding performances by a stellar and eminently talented cast for making 'The Whirligig' as fully engaging as it assuredly is." Full Review
"Linklater’s ambitious and moving new play...being given a top-notch production...Linklater’s grasp doesn’t always match his reach; the play clearly aims for (and falls short of) that perfect Chekhovian mixture of comedy and tragedy. Nonetheless, the author is to be applauded for crafting a compelling story—one brought to life here by a superb ensemble...Even when the plot falters slightly, there is always remarkable psychological acuity in how he treats familial relationships." Full Review
"The densely written, highly literate 'Whirligig' is only actor/playwright Hamish Linklater’s second effort, yet it arrives with the gusto and definition of a practiced hand...Characters are well drawn and skillfully manifest...Director Elliott has done an inspired job of controlling both visual and emotional ebb and flow. Timing is pristine. The company is cohesive and focused. A difficult and successfully realized production to which attention should be paid." Full Review
“There are time changes and flashbacks to follow the trajectories of Linklater’s assorted characters, with whom you may or may not relate appreciatively. But you will be unlikely to question the veracity or effectiveness of the acting…Linklater deftly exposes his characters in the different time frames...Death is inevitably sad, but the extent that one will respond emotionally will be governed by how deeply one feels for the characters.” Full Review
See it if you want to see Hamish Linklater's debut as a writer. A great cast (incl Norbert Leo Butz, Zosia Mamet, Alex Hurt, Jonny Orsini)
Don't see it if you want a cohesive storyline that isn't full of cliches or plot movie coincidences.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
See it if you enjoy serio-comic plays, quite relevant to our world, leaving you with something to discuss.
Don't see it if you want show-stopping dance numbers or belly laughs. Not for children.
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.
See it if Your aware of new and up and coming actors with a bright future. A 2 1/2 hour play that involves an assortment of characters.
Don't see it if Slow moving story once again about a person who is ill. This maybe a turn off for some.
See it if You want to be bored out of your mind! The 1st act was a complete snooze fest. I left at intermission. I had such high hopes for this play.
Don't see it if You value how you spend your money & your time at the theater. If turn table stages or people stuck on fake tree limbs = Stay away! Fail.
See it if You hate Norbert Leo Butz and you want his career to die.
Don't see it if You only want to see THE GIRLS' co-star and actress who had a leg-up in show biz because her Dad wrote a couple of decent plays 20 yrs ago!
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.
See it if you want to see a well-acted, well-written play about a small-town community. The staging is clever.
Don't see it if you need a play with big name actors and elaborate sets.
See it if You would like to see a play by a promising playwright with witty insight. You enjoy dark humor and Norbert Leo Butz.
Don't see it if You like a clear, linear story. You dislike "dramedy," You are looking for a strong denouement and catharsis; more developed protagonist.
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.
See it if you enjoy an entertaining play that is about today's culture. At bit confusing at first but it all comes together in the end.
Don't see it if you are the type whose mind wanders and you can't sit still and follow a story because this one requires your attention.