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New York | 1h 55m | Ends Feb 24

Trick or Treat

From 9 critic and 73 member reviews
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"). More…

A distraught husband, a nosy neighbor, and a dark secret set the wheels in motion for a night of confrontation, mystery, and relentless suspense.



90
Theater Pizzazz

"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." Full Review

65
Theatre's Leiter Side

"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." Full Review

60
Theater News Online

"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." Full Review

55
The Wrap

"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." Full Review

40
New York Stage Review

"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." Full Review

85
Rutland Herald

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." Full Review

80
Seven Days

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." Full Review

80
The Arts Fuse

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." Full Review

60
Valley News

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." Full Review


100
Absorbing, Great acting, Entertaining, A must-see show

See it if ... you want to see how a family deals with a very serious issue by confronting it head-on, while injecting moments of humor.

Don't see it if There is no reason why anyone wouldn’t want to see this show.

95
Clever, Edgy, Profound

See it if You enjoy seeing humor around dark topics.

Don't see it if Can't think of a reason not to see it.

95
Absorbing, Edgy, Great acting, Great writing, Great staging

See it if Excellent ensemble acting and directing. The play develops slowly as a mystery novel that will keep you gripped until the last page when

Don't see it if You do not like psychological tales.

Also answers are revealed.

90
Treat

See it if you appreciate one of those 'Where is this one going?' narratives.

Don't see it if you're uncomfortable with the possible consequences of dementia.

Also Jack Neary has written a spooky story. It has demons and victims and s... Read more Read less

88
Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Intense, Edgy, Great acting

See it if This play keeps you on the edge. There is so much going on in the lives of all participants. Secrets don't stop coming out.

Don't see it if you don't like dark comedy, seeing physical abuse and hearing strong words on stage.

87
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Hilarious

See it if You like dark comedy. You don't mind seeing a show about Halloween in January.

Don't see it if You are uncomfortable laughing about serious topics including Alzheimer's disease.

87
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if you want to see some great acting in a family drama with lots of twists & turns, some surprising.

Don't see it if You're sensitive to the issue of Alzheimer's or generally sick of dysfunctional family dramas. The cast makes this a great production.

87
Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging

See it if you want to see a somewhat atypical show about what drives the intricacies of family relationships.

Don't see it if seeing a show that addresses Alzheimer's might be bothersome to you.

Also I thought the acting, with Gordan Clapp at the helm, was fantastic. I ... Read more Read less

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

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.

82
Funny, Clever, Intense, Well acted, Entertaining

See it if you like dark comedies with clever plots that keep revealing one family secret after another.

Don't see it if you've seen enough plays about dysfunctional families dealing with long-buried family secrets and Alzheimer's disease.

80
Absorbing, Clever, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Entertaining

See it if This play keeps your attention with numerous twists and turns. Audience members were discussing the production after performance.

Don't see it if You want a fluffy, light comedy.

79
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if family drama with tension & humor, dealing with complex ideas many of us may face, but exagerated (I hope!) Great naturalistic performances

Don't see it if you are uncomfortable with life and death issues handled with tension and humor.

79
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if You like a little humor with family tragedies, dramas, Alzheimer’s and a little death

Don't see it if You you want something light and musical

78
Funny, Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if you want to see a dysfunctional family deal with a sad but weird situation. Had funny moments mixed in with the tragic.

Don't see it if you want all the pieces to come together at the end. There were some plot points that were mentioned by never fully explained.

77
Funny, Absorbing, Great acting, Relevant, Great staging

See it if you want to see humor mixed with a difficult and relevant topic, great acting and staging, absorbing.

Don't see it if you are sensitive about some issues of aging, don't enjoy intensity mixed with comedy.

Also I loved the first act but found the second act a bit drawn out, perhap... Read more Read less

77
Absorbing, Clever, Intense, Riveting

See it if you want to have the rug pulled out from under you as far as being taken for an emotional roller coaster ride

Don't see it if See it since it has all the elements of what defines theater. The big three of Drama- Suspense, poignancy and pathos.

76
Great acting, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you enjoy family dramas where secrets are revealed with some surprises

Don't see it if you like musicals or a more serious drama

75
Funny, Cliched, Entertaining, Overwritten

See it if you want to see an entertaining black comedy with good plot twists and good performances and production values

Don't see it if you are bothered by excessive and awkward writing) and direction that doesn't seem to notice these flaws.

Also While it was enjoyable, it was surprising how the director didn't noti... Read more Read less

75
Great acting, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if Dysfunctional family mishandles a bad situation in a tragic dark comedy.

Don't see it if You can’t laugh at funny plot lines at the expense of a character with Alzheimer’s.

75
Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Cliched

See it if You like complex family dramas with lots of twists and turns in the plot but slightly stereotypical characters. Brush up on a Boston accent.

Don't see it if You don't like dysfunctional family dramas with lots of shouting and aggression and not much empathy.

74
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if you enjoy off-beat family dramas

Don't see it if you want something light and the subject of dementia makes you uncomfortable.

73
Cliched, Slow, Dysfunctional

See it if You can suspend disbelief a bit to see a dysfunctional family at work. They’ll do anything to keep the family together. Everyone has secrets

Don't see it if You didn’t like the show Rosanne. The set and play both reminded me of it. Annoying Boston “accents”.

Also If you take a step back from what’s literally happening, you can see t... Read more Read less

73
Funny, Great acting, Intense, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy well acted dark comedies. Great set.

Don't see it if you need a play's reveals to hang together and the implications to match the rest of the play. Repeated devices.

72
Entertaining, Great set, Angst-y

See it if Family history & issues are spun as different members unwillingly share information. Sort of refreshing/sort of diabolical.

Don't see it if If you're not comfortable with lots of high volume anger, this is not for you.

70
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Slow

See it if You want to see a drama (this is not a comedy, whatever the advertising says!) about Faustian bargains people make to protect their families

Don't see it if You will be pissed off by an inconclusive ending - nothing is resolved, the whole thing just peters out.


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Cast & Creatives (8)