Already closed | 1h 30m | Midtown W


From 75 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Disappointing, Clever, Funny, 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.

1h 30m | Already closed | Peter Jay Sharp Theatre (Midtown W)

Member Reviews (75)


Great acting, Disappointing, Clever, Funny, Indulgent

Clever, Great acting, Edgy, Disappointing, Confusing

See it if you like feminist plays & unexpected twists, learn why women feel so unempowered, like non-linear plots that jump in time, odd happenings

Don't see it if you need a linear plot following same characters, shocked by ill-treatment o women, yearning to stand up on your own& living for who you are

Intelligent, Didactic, Cliched, Funny, Ambitious

See it if you like entertaining theater that furthers the cause of liberating women from patriarchal stereotypes.

Don't see it if you don't like to be preached to in a show that presents it's message in a fairly one dimensional, stereotypical way.

Indulgent, Great concept, Disappointing, Clever enough

See it if The show begins brightly and absorbingly with a fresh look at history that might have been had women been in charge.

Don't see it if The end bogs down in self-indulgent, even embarrassing, rant on womenhood, motherhood and feminism. Even a feminist will have issues with it

Indulgent, Disappointing, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting

See it if You want broad comedy, female bonding, very good performances, and what felt like sketch comedy from Carol Burnett. Unevenly entertaining.

Don't see it if You want a tonal consistency. The final scene was so jarring from the rest. This isn’t wrong—I just hated it. There is comedy, drama...

Disappointing, Muddled, Indulgent, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if If you really want to support a play that has some interesting ideas but doesn't succeed in realizing them.

Don't see it if you prefer work that is more disciplined, insightful and clear-headed.

Tedious, Disappointing

See it if you are interested in knowing how things may have been different over time if women were in charge.

Don't see it if I found it to be tedious and could not wait for it to end.

Disappointing, Too long, Uneven, Creative staging, Great acting

See it if you enjoy creative, well-acted, nicely-staged, funny shows that provide a clever look at women in history and raise good feminist issues.

Don't see it if you can't deal with a play that starts off well but goes somewhat downhill as the show progresses and culminates with a disjointed final act

Also This is a play that starts on a really upbeat note with the "Wives" of... Read more Read less

Great staging, Quirky, Ambitious, Relevant, Clever

See it if You feel that women have always been overshadowed by the men in their lives, but can look at this situation with a sense of humor.

Don't see it if You are looking for high drama, as opposed to light treatment of a serious problem (women's suppression by men).

Disappointing, Ambitious, Quirky, Funny, Great acting

See it if you want to support Playwrights Horizons entirely, and not just their hits.

Don't see it if you need a coherent through-line or something with a little modesty/humility.

Great writing, Entertaining, Delightful

See it if you like to explore the role of women in relationships throughout history and different parts of the world

Don't see it if You want a linear plot throughout the whole show, and not thematically tied short plays


See it if there is one part that is worth seeing the Hemingway vignette

Don't see it if confusing and last part is not worthy of watching.

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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.

During previews
Resonant, Relevant, Cliched, Indulgent, Quirky

See it if You enjoy drama exploring the role of women throughout history.

Don't see it if You are not interested in a rather one note play about the historical devaluation of women.

Also I did really enjoy one of the scenes during which the former wives of ... Read more Read less

During previews
Confusing, Indulgent, Disjointed, Inside-jokey, Quirky

See it if The mix of period and modern in staging, language and topics is something you want to work to follow; you like leaving with questions

Don't see it if You want a linear, crisp story; you don’t like camp and excess in storytelling

During previews
Uneven, Great acting, Clever

See it if you want to see a show with great acting and are willing deal with it being uneven.

Don't see it if you want the whole work to be balanced and connected.

Also The opening was hilarious, but the whole play had a mixed quilt feel. ... Read more Read less

During previews
Great acting, Disjointed, Banal, Half-baked, Indulgent

See it if you would enjoy some very good actors valiantly showcasing their talents with very weak, disjointed, banal material. Great cast.

Don't see it if if you expect a thoughtful, thought-out work. Scenes did not cohere. A few moments of pleasure amidst a sloppy mess.

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.”
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September 16th, 2019
“‘Wives,’ in Four Exuberant Feminist Conversations”
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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"
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