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

Entertaining, Resonant, Great writing, Great staging, Great acting

See it if you can. This is a wildly entertaining show that manages to both split your sides and crack your mind wide open.

Don't see it if you're expecting something stuffy and buttoned up. This show's raucous energy manages to bolster the dramatic punch it packs.

Quirky, Great acting, Funny, Clever

See it if Four time period about women in comedy form (modern language).

Don't see it if Light weight show. Ending does not fit.

Also Enjoyed watching but the last scene it did not fit in the show to me.

Inconsistent, Funny, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if you enjoy good acting, funny & witty moments; interesting take on the treatment of women through the years; some laugh out loud moments.

Don't see it if you are looking for consistency amongst the three vignettes; third vignette seems out of place; don't appreciate satire or lots of cursing.

Ambitious, Resonant ideas, Disappointing, Not epic, Delightful

See it if 4 interrelated, skit-like shorts by Backhaus; 1 w/ a hilarious Hemingway parody that will be most appreciated by women who love Hemingway.

Don't see it if you’ve no tolerance for affected irreverence. Too little time to develop intimacy that would make the serious parts authentically impactful.

Also Feels a little raw in both good & bad ways. The show is, unfortunately... Read more Read less

Indulgent, Intelligent, Ambitious, Funny, Clever

See it if A mixed bag. The stories of 3 wives at different eras. Some vignettes worked and were entertaining. Game performances.

Don't see it if Others did not. A bit confusing as to who was who. The vignette at "Oxbridge" University was a little too obvious.

Entertaining, Funny, Uneven

See it if 4 short vignettes of the theme of "wives" throughout times. Quirky style - eg modern language in a 1600's setting.

Don't see it if You want one cohesive story. 3 of the 4 vignettes work well, but the 4th goes so far off that it breaks the unity of the show.

Confusing, Bold

See it if Explorations in breaking the patriarchal narrative and norms with a historic, colonized not-only Western lens.Some entertaining wacky points

Don't see it if Mishmash of times, contexts, ideas, and acting styles can get confusing / too norm-breaking, subversive.

Also Diversity: 3 of 4 of the cast are South Asian! 3 of 4 of the cast are ... Read more Read less

Quirky, Refreshing, Great staging, Clever, Delightful

See it if Clever and fun look at women through the eras-- four short segues through time with singing dancing a lot of irreverence, some humor and

Don't see it if some piercing insights. The sets were magical and oh so clever, but the four vignettes were inconsistent and got a ittle plodding at the end

Also the very best sequence was the memorial planning with Hemingway's wive... Read more Read less

Uneven, Clever

See it if you want to see a very, very funny opening scene even though it goes downhill from there; you like seeing 4 actors play different parts;

Don't see it if you expect to enjoy all four scenarios;

Relevant, Indulgent, Ambitious, Funny, Clever

See it if You’re interested in a work that explores women’s roles & portrayals in history (great Hemingway wives sketch) in funny unusual ways

Don't see it if Not really a play. Three sketches, the third of which was more a pep talk for women. Never comes full circle (though tries to)

Also I love anything that highlights women in history and anything that enc... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Great writing, Entertaining, Clever

See it if you want a different view of how the women behind the men think.

Don't see it if you think women should stay quiet.

Relevant, Great staging, Great acting, Entertaining, Delightful

See it if You enjoy good acting, staging, lighting in a well written fun play about the plight of being a woman. Very entertaining.

Don't see it if You are a male chauvinist.

Effective acting, well staged, suspenseful as it builds towards a gruesome conclusion

See it if You want to see an exploration of human behavior soul searching interesting

Don't see it if You want to confront a troublesome subject

Funny, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if you like plays that are comments on gender roles and done with a light witty style. The settings keep moving. Small cast keeps it fun.

Don't see it if you want a traditional narrative play with a big cast and sets. This presents big ideas within a smaller frame.

Slow, Fluffy, Disappointing, Confusing

See it if you'd like to see historical matters told from the point of view of the women (wives) of the time.

Don't see it if you're expecting a complete, coherent, experience. This feels more like work in progress.

Also The idea is good but the execution is disappointing. The writer has id... Read more Read less

Funny, Intelligent, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy seeing history from a woman's point of view.

Don't see it if you have no sense of humor.

Great acting, Funny, Clever

See it if if you like great theatrical comedy and loved men on boats this is for you

Don't see it if you don't want laughter or expect too much structure

Thought-provoking, Edgy, Dizzying, Absorbing, Ambitious

See it if You love anachronistic, feminist witchy theater happenings that know where they've come from and are burning brightly towards somewhere.

Don't see it if You need clear traditional narratives and/or approaches to history/theater. You need answers spelled out. You think history is great men.

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

Enchanting, Great staging, Great singing, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if It's a wonderful example of modern storytelling of a plot you know. And although you know the ending, it hits you like a punch in the gut.

Don't see it if if you don't like modern takes on an old tale. It's difficult to come up with a reason someone wouldn't like this show.

Thought-provoking, Entertaining, Delightful

See it if you're interested in new feminist plays

Don't see it if you're not interested in new feminist plays

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
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.

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”
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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"
read more

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Cast & Creatives (3)