Closed 1h 55m
Trick or Treat
Midtown E
74

Trick or Treat NYC Reviews and Tickets

74%
(113 Reviews)
Positive
75%
Mixed
17%
Negative
8%
Members say
Great acting, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Entertaining, Great staging

About the Show

Northern Stage's new dark comedy skewers a family in crisis on Halloween. Starring Gordon Clapp ("NYPD Blue").

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Member Reviews (113)

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86
Great writing, Great staging, Great acting, Entertaining, Quirky

See it if you like a serious subject treated with humor while enjoying some plot twists by a good cast on a good set with light and sound plusses.

Don't see it if you expect a light story with a definite end. This is a roller coaster of family + one who make the situation ridiculous in some ways.

80
Great acting, Great staging, Funny, Slow, Cliched

See it if you enjoy family drama where the past informs the present. Some great moments and marvelous performances.

Don't see it if Don't see it if you have if issues with representations of dementia. The deep secrets are fairly predictable and are slow to be revealed.

Critic Reviews (18)

January 23rd, 2019

“Absorbing...The show features the finest direction by Dunne and an excellent cast. While the play portrays some serious family issues, it has just the right shades of humor...As the story unfolds, there are unpredictable twists and turns...This four-person ensemble portrays Neary’s captivating tale with all the humor, spirit, and drama it demands...There are some tense, surprising and even absurd moments...Yet, audiences will be able to relate...It is a must-see production.”
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January 22nd, 2019

“There are more tricks than treats in this ungainly hybrid of a thriller, domestic comedy, and dysfunctional family slugfest...’Trick or Treat’ is an unpleasant, uninvolving evening...Exploiting sensitive subjects like illness and violence against women without providing a single compelling character...It makes occasional passes at being a probing family drama but is fatally undermined by its relentlessly carpentered, often barely plausible, plot."
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January 20th, 2019

"Rather than producing catharsis, the multiple secrets laid bare and lies exposed amount to something more like unintended parody...I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that any number of patrons were stifling laughter in deference to the actors. That quintet plays the drama—all right, the melodrama—according to the frenzy the script increasingly demands, and director Carol Dunne guides them accordingly...In the final analysis, 'Trick or Treat' may be trick, but it’s definitely not treat."
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January 21st, 2019

"Superior first act...The second act, which tosses out too many curve balls and tonal shifts for the play’s own good. Neary earns credit for pulling us in and keeping us guessing for a while...Under the direction of Carol Dunne, performances are credible even when the story loses its grip... In the end, all of the plot pieces fit, but when it comes to a satisfying evening, the play is more trick than treat."
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January 24th, 2019

"Michael Ganio's costumes are as natural as one would expect, and Tyler M. Perry's lighting design is always on target, illuminating a play that has been designed in every particular, begging the question, where exactly are the surprises. It's well written, but ultimately far too pat to be convincing."
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January 29th, 2019

"This pitch-black comedy manages to find humor in the unearthing of buried family secrets...The first half of the play is suspenseful drama mixed with dark comedy...Under the direction of Carole Dunne, each cast member convincingly navigates the play's twists, turns and changes in tone, challenges that might have easily sabotaged the show in lesser hands...'Trick or Treat' straddles the line between genres."
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January 20th, 2019

"Playwright Neary negotiates the action among the family members with humor, sensitivity and pathos...As the second act continues, Neary shifts the tenor and action in another plot twist and the family relationships clarify...Neary pings every theme about the fault lines of the human condition...This is a profound work with smashing performances by the cast, who raise the stakes at every moment and engage us to the end."
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January 20th, 2019

"If only the right attitude were found,…'Trick or Treat'…might have qualified as a chillingly humorous exercise, something in the vein of…'The Trouble with Harry.' But the play veers from comedy and even farce to melodramatic pathos, struggling to maintain a fundamental sense of believability…Although each of the characters challenges credibility, the actors at least make them colorful. Clapp's Johnny is convincingly petulant, narrow-minded, and thickheaded."
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January 20th, 2019

"Dunne’s direction never finds the right focus in this short but confused first act...What Neary does pull off with complete success is the surprise appearance of the play’s most talked-about character...Kathy Manfre helps to ground the far more stable second act of Neary’s play...But the twists in the plot keep piling up, pushing 'Trick or Treat' into soap-opera territory...Much of that havoc comes from there being way too much plot."
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January 21st, 2019

“Neary’s play ‘Trick or Treat’...has the best first act closing scene of any recent play, and it fits neatly with the thrust of the story about a mess of a family that nevertheless makes its immorality entertaining...The cast is excellent, making the characters as believable as they are outrageous. Good actors can go a long way to covering up a play’s contrivances, as is sometimes the case here. Neary even succeeds in bringing some pathos into the nasty situation, and the cast pulls that off too.”
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January 22nd, 2019

"Ghosts and demons are expected to rise up on Halloween, and the ones within the haunted house of Jack Neary’s twisted and brutal tragicomedy, 'Trick or Treat,' do not disappoint...Clapp’s powerhouse execution of a father with all the wrong dreams receives strong support from his co-stars...Director Carol Dunne brings a masterly pacing to the proceedings, pulling focus toward important clues while navigating the audience through a patchwork of lies."
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January 21st, 2019

"An exceptionally well-written play – a family drama, a mystery, and a black comedy all in one...Neary’s ear for dialogue is terrific but that’s not all the play has going for it: it also has been blessed with a truly extraordinary cast...But when all is said and done, the play really belongs to Gordon Clapp. His is an award-worthy performance as Johnny...It is a performance that will remain with you long after you have left the theater."
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January 21st, 2019

“The show is labeled a black comedy...However, the show plays out more like a drama or a thriller would...A superbly written thriller, with no slumps in the suspense...Characters are explosive and intense...The quick, fiery Irish interlude music matches, if not accelerates, the show’s whistle-stop pace and the average heartbeat of any given audience. The actors’ performances are as fascinating as their characters are exasperating."
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V
February 15th, 2019

“Neary’s script is a bit of a change from most of the gently acidic comedies...Here there’s a dramatic shock at the outset, but one that quickly gives way to edgy humor, before a classic switcheroo propels the piece into the realm of farce – which in turn is prelude to painful revelations...Neary can’t help being funny...but there’s always heart in the laughs. If in the late going the chaotic farce turns toward tragedy and dark secrets tumble out, there’s heart there too.”
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January 25th, 2017
For a previous production

"A show that weaves together comedy, drama, and suspense...The story is propulsive, and neither director nor playwright pauses to tap the brakes. But nothing rushes by too quickly; director Carol Dunne and an accomplished acting ensemble let every revelation register...The best laughs in the show are character driven...The playwright's effort to present a moving story using comic touches is largely successful, even if straddling two moods occasionally undercuts both."
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T
January 22nd, 2017
For a previous production

"A less skilled playwright might have gone for the obvious and focused on mercy-killing and the ravages of Alzheimer’s. But, with the surprising doings of the second act, Neary takes an unpredictable direction. Plot twists uncover long-held family secrets...Clapp gives a near-flawless performance as the fatigued patriarch...Neary mixes in some ironic humor, often through quasi-malapropisms and Johnny’s amusing confusion about American cultural icons."
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V
January 25th, 2017
For a previous production

"A New England play through and through, from the setting to the accents to the humor. But its premise is more powerful than the play that eventually ended up on stage...The first act of 'Trick or Treat' has flashes of tender empathy, profound sorrow, dark wit...But then one too many contrivances begin to work their way into the story, and drama becomes melodrama, courtesy of some implausible plot twists that weaken the strengths the play does have."
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January 25th, 2017
For a previous production

"It’s very humanly funny. The premiere benefited from a production that combined brilliant ensemble acting with some stellar performances. Direction by Carol Dunne, without misstep, delivered taut, on-the edge of-your-seat storytelling enriched by real humanness and plenty of wit. Central was Gordon Clapp’s irresistible portrayal of Johnny, in part because the part was written for him...It’s entertaining and important theater."
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