Closed 2h 20m
Vietgone
Midtown W
82

Vietgone NYC Reviews and Tickets

82%
(196 Reviews)
Positive
88%
Mixed
9%
Negative
3%
Members say
Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Thought-provoking

About the Show

Manhattan Theatre Club presents Qui Nguyen's twist on the classic boy-meets-girl romance. Here, the lovers are refugees from the Vietnam War, newly settled in a relocation camp in Arkansas.

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Member Reviews (196)

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94
Attitude changing, Unconventional, Smart, Romantic, Thought-provoking

See it if you like shows that help you see something you thought you knew from an entirely new perspective. Great staging. Clever. Funny. A MUST SEE!

Don't see it if ??? Can't think of any reason to not see this enlightening and entertaining show. I know it's a cliché but-I laughed. I cried. I loved it.

85
Relevant, Romantic, Edgy, Clever, Refreshing

See it if You like serious themes presented in a campy way. It's a historical drama, comic book, romantic comedy, and rap musical. (!)

Don't see it if The combination of styles seemed a bit incongruous at first, but it grew on me. Read more

Critic Reviews (38)

October 25th, 2016

"Nguyen is clearly a playwright with an inventive mind, and while 'Vietgone' has many pleasures—including jazzy comic performances from an excellent cast, under May Adrales’ direction—it suffers from a lack of discipline...The flippant tone of 'Vietgone' does sometimes pall...The play ends with an immensely moving scene...The laughter subsides; the play’s flaws recede; and we are left with a resonantly ambiguous picture of the manner in which wars have an indelible impact on individual lives."
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October 25th, 2016

"The freshest, most exuberantly youthful piece I’ve seen at MTC in ages...Adrales’ high-octane staging moves so swiftly and surely, you may not initially appreciate the buckets of stagecraft she and Nguyen throw at us scene after scene...It's the immigrant narrative, but told with disarming frankness and humor—plus a roadside throwdown involving rednecks and ninjas. I cannot emphasize enough what a versatile and lovable cast this is."
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October 25th, 2016

"The playwright and director May Adrales have collaborated to deliver a wildly fun, imaginative production. Not all of it works, and the play itself could benefit from some trimming. But individual elements are terrific, such as the Vietnamese characters speaking in flawless English while the Americans talk with an exaggerated, ungrammatical drawl...In the terrific ensemble, Lee and Ikeda display sizzling chemistry and formidable comic chops."
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October 25th, 2016

"An original, affectionate and often funny tribute to the playwright’s parents...The love story develops along the usual lines, although it’s evident that neither the playwright nor his director want to be considered conventional. One drawback are the song, set to original music, but still obdurately ordinary. The lyrics only repeat things we already know from the dialogue...Whatever re-writes Nguyen might have in mind for this play, he’d be wise to start by tossing out the tunes."
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November 3rd, 2016

"Qui Nguyen’s ode to his parents' history takes an unruly approach to a how-I-met-your-mother tale...Theatricality abounds: the fourth wall falls, Saigon falls too, cartoony ninjas kick into action, rap songs underscore everything. Except for the simplistic songs that stop the play in its tracks, it clicks."
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October 25th, 2016

"Beautifully conveyed through director May Adrales' unapologetically theatrical staging, 'Vietgone' makes you believe that epic tales of heroism and loss exist all around us in this nation of immigrants...The personal nature of the play and a structural refinement in Nguyen's writing results in an emotional resonance unprecedented in his work...Nguyen's clear-eyed recognition of the realities of war is rare, refreshing, and definitely speaks to a dramatist who has matured…but not too much."
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November 10th, 2016

"In its admirable insistence on overturning the usual pieties and insisting that the Vietnamese refugees who populate the play are not helpless victims in a racist America, the play can sometimes be sophomoric, even grating. Then again, when the author's voice is this fresh and funny, how can one complain too much?...Under Adrales' fast-paced, often buoyant direction, the cast proves to be excellent company...'Vietgone' has become surprisingly moving, its many excesses notwithstanding."
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October 25th, 2016

"Astonishingly, none of this feels extraneous or gratuitous...And despite the (intentionally) broad playing style, passionate, complex feelings do indeed come through...'Vietgone' does not entirely benefit from the nonlinear chronology Nguyen has imposed, and the zaniness does start to wear a bit thin...Even during the weaker stretches, though, director May Adrales keeps the pacing sprightly and the froth bubbling, and keeps you from remaining at sea for long."
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November 11th, 2016

“Downtown theatergoers know the work of Qui Nguyen from his productions at the Vampire Cowboy Theatre Company which he co-founded in 2000. While ‘Vietgone’ is often untidy and overly complex, this exuberant autobiographical play is a fascinating look at the Vietnamese American experience from their point of view written by an insider. Under the direction of May Adrales, the versatile cast makes this an offbeat and absorbing evening in the theater.”
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October 25th, 2016

"The story is moving, the rhymes are natural and poignant, and the characters touch on many real challenges of coping with refugee life. Director May Adrales has expertly drawn out wonderful performances from this cast...Nguyen has lovingly created a tribute to his family and his heritage through humor and heart, and without ever stepping foot on the proverbial soap box. 'Vietgone' is definitely not to miss."
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November 2nd, 2016

"'Vietgone' moves into newer territory for the usually staid pieces seen at Manhattan Theatre Club...Very contemporary, flippant and freewheeling play that includes rap, hip-hop (original music Shane Rettig), ninjas, ongoing expletives and frequent timeline changes that can be a little head-spinning...May Adrales directs this playful, yet serious piece and seems to know how to go with the flow, creating an excellent presence."
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October 27th, 2016

"Sometimes funny, occasionally exasperating and totally confounding...'Vietgone' is garnished heavily with potty humor and a generous dollop of rap...It is the surreal aspects, under the helter-skelter direction of Adrales, that make this otherwise over-long skit defensible...Nguyen can be respectfully acknowledged for his decision to avoid anything close to reverential. Perhaps I just wasn't convinced that his honorable family story was best served through this style of politicized farce."
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October 27th, 2016

"Qui Nguyen’s play has all of the ingredients of solid entertainment: a captivating love story, action-packed fight scenes, comedy that hits all the bases, and sculpted men having their shirts ripped off. What truly brings this production to the next level is its ability to challenge normative liberalism and racial stereotypes in a way that is illuminating without being force-fed. It’s a delicate balance that is executed with wit and finesse by director May Adrales."
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November 5th, 2016

"The emotional elements do not consistently fuse with the production’s approach but it’s sexy, funny, and smart a lot of the time...One of the strongest elements of the play is Ikeda’s performance of Tong...It’s nice to see a female character, particularly one in essentially a romantic comedy, be neutral (to hostile) about marriage and motherhood...Despite these smart and interesting choices, the play stumbles when it breaks into rap and R&B musical numbers."
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T
October 27th, 2016

"Playwright Nguyen has developed characters with believable conflicts that drive an intriguing and transformative plot...Under May Adrales’s careful direction, Jennifer Ikeda, Raymond Lee, and the ensemble cast deliver captivating performances permeated with honesty and authenticity...'Vietgone' adds to the richness of the understanding of how love transcends indifference and adds richly to the dramatic fabric of contemporary American theatre."
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October 27th, 2016

"Nguyen and director May Adrales find such richly inventive and entertaining ways to tell the story of these two refugees that the play feels wiped clean of the clichés of both the 'immigrant experience' and 'the hell of war'...For all the pop-culture silliness, the playfulness with language, and the clever stagecraft, 'Vietgone' paints complex and credible portraits of the two main characters...'Vietgone' is comic and compassionate; overlong—and overdue."
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November 5th, 2016

"Nguyen’s script adds confessional rap, fight sequences, and moments so real that the Vietnam we grew up with takes on a whole new shape. This is fantasy-fiction that tells a story of realism. The language is charming slang using humor laced with profanity just to keep things real...This is a talented and clever company...Nguyen’s 'Vietgone' is about loss while his characters use a brave determination to survive in a way that is hip, jarring and oh so watchable."
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October 25th, 2016

"Overtly rollicking and sneakily moving...Some of the writing is lazy, with Nguyen so comfortable in his ultra-vernacular style that he doesn’t challenge himself to create a more distinctive diction for each character...Adrales’s direction is sometimes more vivid than precise...But 'Vietgone' is a more serious work than it initially seems...He sneaks in warmth behind the silliness, solemnity alongside the kung fu, making the deliberately preposterous feel vibrantly real, even poignant."
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B
October 25th, 2016

"The cast members are appealing, but the acting is uneven and often unsubtle. The first-rate production benefits from an excellent scenic design by Tim Mackabee, greatly enhanced by Jared Mezzocchi’s projections...Director May Adrales skillfully holds it all together. It’s an unruly play that could use a slight trim, but its energy and inventiveness go a long way to make up for its shortcomings. I found it refreshing and worthwhile."
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October 31st, 2016

"It is often wildly entertaining, and yet the play provokes thought about the plight of those who left Vietnam during the infamous war...It is mainly the humor that defines this take on the subject, with rap sequences, slapstick and jokes about sex...'Vietgone' director May Adrales accents its comically mischievous edge as well as the serious side. Some cutting might be wise and there are dull spots here and there. But deep feelings effectively burst forth."
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November 19th, 2016

"The setting is the past but the vibe is totally contemporary...Stereotypes are constantly turned on their heads...And, layering real substance underneath all the hijinks, views of the 20-year-long war are similarly upended. The AARP-aged couples on both sides of me left at intermission but the two hours and 20 minutes whizzed by for me and I can't wait to see what Nguyen does next."
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October 26th, 2016

"Part playful, part deadly serious, Qui Nguyen takes aim at both Baby Boomers and Millennials alike in his innovative new work and hits both targets...Nguyen has structured the piece very cleverly, and has given every audience demographic a sympathetic way into the story, ably assisted by his creative team...The play challenges the political views we’ve clung to for decades...He might make us think, but the thought is delivered or followed with a laugh, and that feeling of connection."
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October 26th, 2016

"A sweet, rather straightforward story...It's the telling that's complicated, with Nguyen apparently employing every theatrical device he ever saw, thought of or heard about...There are comic-book fights, distracting projections and musical moments, including performances of (not very good) rap songs that are liberally sprinkled with the usual profanities...The problem with 'Vietgone' is that its focus is scattered, often seeming to slide from the story to the novelty of its telling."
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T
October 31st, 2016

"Nguyen and Adrales tell the story in a thoroughly modern way, lavishly employing the hallmarks of pop culture. There is no real reason for this choice, it seems, other than drawing millennials into the theater and making the old folks feel hip. But this choice has a profound effect on the play...Nguyen had a story to tell. Why he chose to appropriate that story by telling it in terms that have little to do with the characters he presents is anyone’s guess."
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October 25th, 2016

"'Vietgone' is a must-see...It has laughs, ninjas, a serious rap flow, and a rare perspective on the Vietnam War...Nguyen's insights on the Vietnamese perspective are fascinating...'Vietgone' assures that you are always spiritually connected to the characters' stories by, again, having a marvelously talented cast...'Vietgone' truly is a poignant tale for our current socio-political atmosphere. Wonderfully directed by May Adrales."
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October 25th, 2016

"In Mr. Nguyen's eyes, America is far from perfect—and he actually nails the stereotypical types throughout the south and west...A bit too zany at times (it was the '70s after all) and a bit too long and drawn out in others—this play has a future if tightened and given a general tune-up...The story of the actual South Vietnamese is one we Americans rarely consider...Not all of these questions get answered but the last 10 minutes of the play will bring the entire piece to a crescendo close."
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October 26th, 2016

"A high-octane, swiftly hysterical, well-crafted experience. A mash-up of rap, hip-hop, and characters that never say die, it is a super-smart, irresistible way to talk about war...But it’s not a musical–it’s a play and an experience, and originally theatrical. So, I tip my hat to 'Vietgone,' precisely and well-directed by May Adrales, who has found the right tone and color to make this extremely engaging."
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October 28th, 2016

"With 'Vietgone,' Nguyen manages to address the multifaceted experiences of being an Asian American but also successfully subvert casting traditions and the argot stereotypically associated with Asian culture as far as the U.S. is concerned...'Vietgone' falls short with its minimalist musical score...Irrespective, with a talented cast of entertainers with comic gold chops, 'Vietgone' remains a poignant, touching, waggish and even awe-inspiring love letter to America's global village."
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October 26th, 2016

"The springiness in the script is enhanced by May Adrales's vivid staging, which features confessional rap interludes, a hallucinatory fight sequence, and graphic-novel-like projections designed by Jared Mezzocchi...It's funny, it flips the script on a very real language barrier, and it centralizes Vietnamese characters in a story about the Vietnam War (for once). In doing so, it reminds us of the human stories behind our own era's displaced."
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I
November 3rd, 2016

"An eyeful of a show that doesn’t always succeed but ultimately packs a punch courtesy of a perspective-shifting monologue near the end of the show...Nguyen brings surprising sexuality to the table along with an 'I’ll-tell-the-story-my-way' insistence that is often refreshing even if, at times, exasperating."
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October 13th, 2015
For a previous production

"The play has geeks, tongue-in-cheek fight scenes and action that could have sprung from a comic book targeted to millennials wearing thick black glasses and skinny jeans...The play moves back and forth in time in a hectic rhythm that can make it tricky initially to keep track of the characters and the chronology...'Vietgone' careens wildly, threatening whiplash to heighten our amusement. By the end, however, this riotous theatrical cartoon won me over with its simple honesty."
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October 15th, 2015
For a previous production

"You'll be in for a surprise if you go expecting to see noble suffering and eventual triumph among refugees. Delightfully, Mr. Nguyen turns the Ugly American stereotype on its ear...Director May Adrales paces the action quickly, with cast members often making fast changes and often popping up as someone else...South Coast Rep commissioned this piece and supported Mr. Nguyen through the research and development process. It was a good investment."
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S
October 21st, 2015
For a previous production

"A zippy production, brilliantly cast and well directed...Nguyen’s engaging characters and good dialogue would make for a riveting play even given the less than original adjustment scenes...He’s also brought his “geek theatre” sensibility – and his self-professed 'favorite things' (early ’80s hip-hop and comic books) – to this play, so there’s always something surprising going on. It’s a remarkable theatrical experience."
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October 14th, 2015
For a previous production

"An electrifyingly innovative and ultimately quite powerful world premiere...Fortunately there is much more to 'Vietgone' than two hours of mostly gratuitous foul language...First and foremost are the thoroughly engaging characters who populate this 'entirely fictional' rom-com...Nguyen’s love of comic books, samurai stories, and hip-hop figure prominently...Adrales clearly understands playwright Nguyen’s style and sensibility, eliciting sensational performances from her entire cast."
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T
October 12th, 2015
For a previous production

"'Vietgone’s' strengths are the themes it brings up, the Vietnamese perspective it provides to the audience, and its individual scenes...The irreverent dialogue captures the emotions the characters deal with. The unexpected moments of whimsy, fantasy, and fourth wall breaking also really elevate the play...'Vietgone' is not perfect, but it is surprising and unconventional and poignant."
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October 17th, 2015
For a previous production

"I highly recommend 'Vietgone'...I really fucking enjoyed this play. I was fucking moved. To tears. To laughter. I was fucking inspired. And, though ever-suspended between two cultures, I, for two sweet hours, felt that I fucking belonged."
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October 26th, 2015
For a previous production

"The play is entertaining, with great acting from the cast...The playwright’s inventiveness in using language to invert the power dynamic so that immigrants are now hip and cool is fun to watch...However, the absence of Vietnamese culture in this piece left me wanting more...This play is very interesting in that it reflects this particular writer’s search for his history and identity. Though at times 'Vietgone’s' self-reflection can feel like self-rejection."
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October 8th, 2015
For a previous production

"I was impressed with his knack for dialogue, and skill at turning a play around on a dime from ridiculous hilarity, to sharp-pointed emotional drama, and back again. His writing is kind of a roller coaster that way, allowing for great theatricality and very human stories with flawed, lovable characters who carry their pain but are never weighed down by it...It's just an all-around wonderful show and that's all I can say...If you get the chance, GO SEE this!"
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