Already closed | 1h 30m | Midtown W

Wives

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)

MEMBERS SAY:

Great acting, Disappointing, Clever, Funny, Indulgent
68
Avg Score

During previews
68
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
76
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
66
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
70
Edgy, Relevant, Quirky

See it if Like feminist themes

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

During previews
68
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
70
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
70
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
40
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
65
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
69
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
65
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
78
Relevant, Great acting, Entertaining, Clever

See it if You like (and want to support!) female playwrights and directors as well as new work. Also if you like historical fiction.

Don't see it if You prefer linear plots and are a white man uncomfortable with stories about women being in power/control.

Also The cast is good, but Adina Verson is a stand out. Truly one of the be... Read more Read less

During previews
65
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
70
Funny, Clever, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if You enjoy clever and funny feminist manifestos. The acting is terrific. The last is a little heavy handed and could stand to be edited.

Don't see it if you aren't open minded. This is 3 short stories, very well done, with a 4th segment that tries to tie it together, not entirely successfully

During previews
69
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
80
Resonant, Great writing, Clever, Funny

See it if You're interested in history re-tellings, but don't get hung up on details. The language is modern, but I loved that.

Don't see it if You're looking for something slow or in depth. It's 4 different stories in 80 minutes, but they all tie together beautifully.

During previews
55
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.

During previews
69
Confusing, Quirky, Funny

See it if a clever, funny, non-narrative piece that gives voice to the wives of men who's previously owned their stories

Don't see it if you prefer clear, narrative storytelling

During previews
45
Slow, Disappointing

See it if Your relative is in it.For example, Adina Verson is hilarious as a Julia Child-esque medieval cook at the open & good w/weak material later.

Don't see it if You are hoping to laugh throughout what aims to be a farcical play.

Also First preview, so some potential to improve. But other than the first ... Read more Read less

During previews
65
Clever initial premise, Then it becomes messy, But

See it if The first two scenes are funny + fun, and it's easy to find a link between them and forsee how future scenes will embellish on this idea.

Don't see it if HOWEVER, the third scene does not make sense with what's been set up. Furthermore, it's baffling why it's in the play and how it adds to the

Also discourse. The fourth scene would tie things together if that third on... Read more Read less

During previews
44
Disappointing, Slow

See it if You are a fan of Jacqueline Backhaus and want to see her entire oeuvre. This is no Men On Boats. The Hemingway wives are divine though.

Don't see it if Just don't see it.

Also The actors are all excellent and there are valuable, interesting ideas... Read more Read less

During previews
80
Great acting, Enchanting, Quirky, Resonant, Hilarious

See it if You love fresh plays and purposeful yet hilarious comedy. Also if you are interested in historical feminist works.

Don't see it if You are not okay with curse words or prefer more traditional plays.

During previews
70
Clever, Dizzying, Resonant

See it if Very funny and insightful throughout. The ending didn't work for me, but that was the point (in a good way)

Don't see it if You only want one continuous story

During previews
75
Relevant, Quirky, Intelligent, Disappointing

See it if You like a show that hits on themes which are relevant.

Don't see it if Moments are dull or expository. It’s a well crafted play but structurally it bounced oddly for me.

During previews
70
Forced, Great acting, Indulgent, Cliched, Clever

See it if if you want to see great performances, especially by Adina Verson. if you like cheeky jokes and enjoy the empowerment of women.

Don't see it if if you don't like silly comedic plays. if you don't appreciate satire and a bit of absurdism. if you want an intelligently funny play

Also The show is essentially 3 really funny sketches exploring women in rel... Read more Read less


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"
read more

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