Ends Oct 06 | 1h 30m | Midtown W


From 40 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Quirky, Clever, Disappointing, Indulgent

About the show

The author of "Men in Boats" returns to Playwrights Horizons with a new comedy that tracks and subverts patriarchal narrative tropes throughout the ages. More…

From the show:

From the brawny castles of 16th Century France, to the rugged plains of 1960s Idaho, to the strapping fortresses of 1920s India, all hail the remarkable stories of Great Men! — and their whiny, witchy, vapid, vengeful, jealous wives. In this kaleidoscopic, time-hopping comedy, Jaclyn Backhaus pushes past patriarchal cliché to reach an ecstatic breakthrough, untethering stories and history — and language itself — from the visions made by men.

Member Reviews (40)


Great acting, Quirky, Clever, Disappointing, Indulgent
Avg Score

Creative and well acted show that loses steam

See it if You like creative scenes that are funny and well staged

Don't see it if You don't like a satirical look at some famous marriages.

Also This is a very good effort by the playwright, Jaclyn Backhaus ("Men on... Read more Read less

During previews
Banal, Great acting, Indulgent, Overreaching, Uneven

See it if The first 2 scenes were very funny and clever. Great performances.

Don't see it if The 3rd scene had nothing to do with wives, nor with the flow of the other 2. It's absurd, not about wives and very cliched.

Also The last scene is severely misplaced in this play. Completely does not... Read more Read less

During previews
Entertaining, Uneven, Funny

See it if You enjoy funny comedic performances. Show is formatted as short vignettes with a common theme.

Don't see it if I really liked the show up until the last scene, which wasn't cohesive with the theme of the previous scenes.

During previews
Disappointing, Confusing, Slow, Banal

See it if If you want a play that tracks women over different time periods. For the most part well acted.

Don't see it if If you want a coherent play that makes sense. A play that needs a lot of fine tuning and reworking.

During previews
Great acting, Indulgent, Banal, Disappointing, Unfunny

See it if to see 4 brave, talented actors yuk it up & try to hold together a trifling historical comedy about the chronic marginalization of women.

Don't see it if u hope for a sharp comedy (or even a mildly funny one!); u expect a play that "subverts patriarchal narrative" to actually feel empowering.

Also Not a single funny thing is said for the entire 90 minutes in what is ... Read more Read less

During previews
Thought-provoking, Edgy, Resonant, Funny, Disappointing

See it if Backhaus' sharp, lazer beam view of history thru "her-story" eyes Funny, poignant, very well acted (esp Adina Verson) it's wildly ambitious

Don't see it if Starts off very strong (esp the 'wives of Earnest Hemingway') w/tart, pungent writing but gets derailed w/spacey female empowerment ending

During previews
Brilliant in parts, Terrific cast, Unintegrated, Uneven

See it if a series of 4 feminist-themed sketches, 1 of them brilliant, 3 of them not, sounds to you like a worthwhile evening in the theater.

Don't see it if you are looking for play that integrates its parts.

Also “Wives” in effect is an anthology of 4 somewhat related sketches that ... Read more Read less

During previews
Intelligent, Great acting, Clever, Ambitious

See it if Significant others(not all spouses) frustrated at their oppressive lot in life,cross time periods to make a statement in sketch comedy form.

Don't see it if History books weren't recording them, but the ladies were there, too.Playwright attempts to bring attention and right this wrong, but fails.

During previews
Needs work, Quirky, Great staging, Great acting, Clever

See it if you like witty dialogue and some very funny scenes. The play has a lot of potential but it needs work done.

Don't see it if you like a show where all the scenes work together.

Also I saw the second preview. It had 10 fewer minutes than the first previ... Read more Read less

During previews
Insipid, Indulgent, Disappointing, Confusing

See it if You find it absolutely hilarious (like some in the audience) when the women call each other "b*tch" or keep saying the F word over & over.

Don't see it if You can't make any sense (like me) of who these 3 women & 1 guy were supposed to be. 4 different scenes & they're different people in each?

During previews
Refreshing, Intelligent, Ambitious, Dizzying, Entertaining

See it if like quirky snapshots throughout history of what it means to be a wive. funny, well acted and staged.

Don't see it if essentially separate stories woven together loosely. a bit disjointed.

During previews
Semi-funny, Quirky, Indulgent, Disappointing

See it if You can get out after the first two vignettes. Steep downhill after that.

Don't see it if As others have noted, the King Henri and Hemingway's wives pieces were mildly amusing.

Also The final piece might as well have been spoken in Swahili. It was that... Read more Read less

During previews
Must see, Indulgent, Great writing, Hilarious, Clever

See it if You like genre-bending, searing comedy that explores gender roles and self-conception across time, place, and culture. Witty writing.

Don't see it if Actors playing multiple characters in different scenes isn't your thing. Non-linear narratives with a clear normative thrust disturb you.

Also One of the most promising, interesting, and funny plays I've seen late... Read more Read less

During previews
Interesting character work, Time hopper, Confusing, Full of questions, Quirky

See it if You like non-linear, impressionistic, gender-challenging theatre.

Don't see it if You need cogency or clarity.

During previews
Unfocused, Disjointed, Disappointing, Hit and miss satire

See it if Funny skit of Ernest Hemingway's wives dissing the author and all he represents.But that's just 1/4 of the show.

Don't see it if You don't wanna to see a work very much "in progress". Three SNL skits leading to a very self-indulgent and puzzling finish.

Also Very disappointing start to the Playwrights Horizons season. This play... Read more Read less

During previews
Great acting, Edgy, Too long, Uneven, Thought-provoking

See it if You like plays about the role of women throughout the ages

Don't see it if You like a continuous story line and a story thst builds.

During previews
Thought-provoking, Quirky, Great acting, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if you want to see a history of how females have been held down by men but rise up regardless

Don't see it if you want to see a coherent, fluid show that continually makes sense and is easy to follow

During previews
Edgy, Relevant, Quirky

See it if Like feminist themes

Don't see it if Don’t like esoteric plays

During previews
Misguided, Weird, Pretentious

See it if you're into unusual theatrical structures, funny anachronistic scenes & ultimately, a young writer's journey to find a new female narrative.

Don't see it if your bullshit-o-meter is very sensitive - that last scene is one of the more ridiculous, pretentious and laughable things I've seen on stage

During previews
Slow, Confusing, Funny

See it if You like comedic vignettes with a common theme.

Don't see it if The #metoo movement has got you down.

Also Loved the first two scenes—-sharp, relevant, funny. The remaining port... Read more Read less

During previews
80 minutes bu still over-long, Lost focus, Thought-provoking, Great acting

See it if you value great acting and can tolerate the loss of focus in the final scenes. The first 2 scenes were on target, well written & executed.

Don't see it if The play loses focus in the penultimate scene and simply goes nutty in the final scene. What a shame. It was so strong up to that point.

During previews
Unstructured, Disappointing, Disjointed, Relevant, Intelligent

See it if you support female voices in Off-Bway houses—no matter what.

Don't see it if you desire stronger writing and stronger direction.

During previews
Not cohesive, Uneven, Thought-provoking, Banal, Funny

See it if U enjoy vignettes about a worthwhile topic of women’s place at 4 different times in history, funny and quirky plays and good ending messages

Don't see it if U enjoy plays with more cohesiveness and u don’t have to spend too much time trying to figure out how it all fits together.

During previews
Funny in the beginning, boring in the end, Slow, Great acting, Confusing

See it if 4 talented actors trying to show female's place in different times and circumstances. Episodes 1,2 are real joy and fun

Don't see it if The last episodes makes to start checking your watch. The logorrhea is cute only for babies who just learned to talk not for the actors

During previews
Thought-provoking, Humorous, Entertaining, Clever

See it if Interesting concept that starts off as a great deal of fun with witty banter and for me falters in end, not living up to PH AD's description

Don't see it if Want a play that maintains it's level of entertainment and fun right to the end. I understand what ending was meant to do, for me it didn't.

September 16th, 2019
“In ‘Wives,’ the Other Halves Have Their Say: Jaclyn Backhaus’s slapdash comedy, at Playwright’s Horizons, travels through time to coax oppressed spouses out of their powerful husband’s shadows.”
read more
September 16th, 2019
“‘Wives,’ in Four Exuberant Feminist Conversations”
read more
September 16th, 2019
“The ‘Wives’ of History Are Breaking Free From Their ‘Man’-Made Storie: Jaclyn Backhaus writes new versions of Catherine de' Medici and Ernest Hemingway's exes for a world premiere at Playwrights Horizons.”
read more
September 17th, 2019
"Jaclyn Backhaus' Frantically Funny and Freestyle 'Wives' Comments on Patriarchal Pigeonholes"
read more

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