Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Intelligent, Entertaining, Clever

About the show

Mint Theater Company presents an exploration of conflicts and competitions that erupt amongst the cloistered teaching staff of an all-girls boarding school in the American premiere of this 77-year-old play.

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Jean Wade is an enthusiastic young teacher new to an all-girls boarding school, where she soon finds herself popular with the students and at odds with her quarrelsome colleagues--especially the antagonistic Miss Connor. When Miss Connor's life's work (a history of "beautiful acts" through the ages) is found torn to shreds, Jean is the most likely suspect. As evidence mounts against her, Jean must choose whether she will fight, or surrender to the school's toxic environment.

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See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews


"Overbey and Walton put their hearts into this juicy contretemps. But there’s absolutely no grandstanding in director Jenn Thompson’s beautifully composed ensemble piece. Individually, the performances are distinctive, but the collective work of the company is even more impressive. Ellis’ voice is as tart as her wit, and the players clearly relish the surprisingly contemporary tone of an 80-year-old period play." Full Review


"An exemplary ensemble plays out Ellis' sharp and clever dialogue without the benefit of a modern eye. The reality that this imperfect situation was often the only alternative to marriage adds a dark texture to highly-polished proceedings. As is often the case with Mint discoveries, 'Women Without Men' offers a fascinating peek into how theatre has always been used to address contemporary issues." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

“A sharply observant comedy-drama filled with crackling ironies, a craftily worked-out mystery, and an astringently unsentimental point of view...Ellis was gifted with a remarkably mature vision, allowing her to capture her characters in all their pettiness while deftly, unsentimentally laying bare the social dilemma that entraps them…This production shows the Mint doing what it does best: finding long-lost works that remain remarkably stageworthy today." Full Review

The New York Times

"This 1938 play, which the Mint has resurrected under Jenn Thompson’s direction, is a mostly sturdy and occasionally creaky construction about the perils of a circumscribed life...Ellis, an Irish playwright, is expert in depicting the minutiae of relations among the women, the use of pet names without pet feelings, the flimsy loyalties and jealousies...The acting is generally skillful, though the three younger actresses playing schoolgirls don’t yet seem quite at home in this world." Full Review

Cultural Weekly

"You would think modern audiences would cringe at the portrayal of these pathetic women as frustrated spinsters...But Ellis’ compassionate, detailed writing overcomes the social limits of her era, offering three-dimensional pictures of people living one-dimensional lives. Jenn Thompson directs with a sure hand and the proficient cast is perfect down to the smallest roles of three rebellious students." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"Smart, insightful, even sympathetic, Ellis' tight work is beautifully realized in the current revival. That's thanks to a stellar ensemble cast, who clearly delineates the sensibilities and sorrows of each teacher, and the Mint Theater, which is to be applauded for staging neglected gems. It's scored a winner in 'Women Without Men'...[it] bristles with emotional ferocity, as director Jenn Thompson calibrates the tension with precision." Full Review

Broadway Blog

"In ‘Women without Men,’ an absorbing 1938 Irish play by a now largely unknown playwright,...the Mint has found a worthy piece...Under Jenn Thompson’s nicely paced direction, a fine ensemble invests this conventional, well-made play—in which humor, suspense, conflict, and sentiment share the stage—with continuing interest. Hail to the Mint..., not least for resuscitating a work with so many juicy women’s roles, especially one without any men at all." Full Review

Front Row Center

"Despite its declarative title, there is no feminist agenda on display in the Mint Theater’s charming but sharp-clawed production of ‘Women Without Men’…Veteran Off-Broadway director Jenn Thompson makes the most of her fine cast, fast script and intimate setting...The six scenes are expertly paced, whether it’s two characters in heated discussion, or eight in a battle royale. Despite the cattiness, the actors find a way to make their characters human, sometimes achingly so.” Full Review


"In addition to getting solid performances out of her actors, director Jenn Thompson has created a nice touch by using the students' songs for the between scenes pauses...Despite Ms. Thompson's best effort this dour group portrait does tend to have slow spots that may have some audience members wishing some of the chatter could have been trimmed. But paring these forgotten plays down to a more modern length isn't the Mint way." Full Review


"The Mint Theater Company has become famous for revivals of lost or forgotten masterpieces from the world repertory. Now it has found an unpublished Irish play by the little known author Hazel Ellis that proves to be both fascinating and involving. 'Women Without Men', produced at Dublin’s Gate Theatre in 1938, is receiving its American premiere with a taut production by Jenn Thompson and a remarkable all-female ensemble of 11." Full Review


"The cast, under Jenn Thompson’s direction, is rock solid, and each of the actresses manages to create a distinct personality for her character. You probably would not want to spend much time with these women in real life, but this portrait of their confined and constrained lives is thoroughly engaging...'Women Without Men' is yet another triumph for the Mint, a company that has made it its mission to unearth and breathe new life into little known works from the past." Full Review

Woman Around Town

"Playwright Hazel Ellis takes us further into the minds and hearts of the staff, illuminating characters so authentic, played with such authority, one is empathetic rather than sympathetic. A terrific presentation on all fronts...Director Jenn Thompson helps her actresses develop distinguishing personality traits. Everything unfolds in its own, realistic, well-paced time allowing for thinking and reaction...During this production, one is completely unaware of the theater in which we sit." Full Review

Wolf Entertainment Guide

"A quality production with a very convincing cast that makes the playwright’s character assortment come vividly alive under the sharp direction by Jenn Thompson...The cast members who portray the collections of staff and students are all terrific, making up an effective ensemble...As the drama gathers force, everyone seems so very real, and so do the situations that the author sets up...'Women Behind Men' is well worth having been discovered and offered here." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"The story is surprisingly fresh and modern...Swiftly and smartly directed by Jenn Thompson, 'Women Without Men' moves quickly and never lags...Thompson understands Ellis’ script and has crafted a more than worthy production to showcase her writing, as well as the distinct talents of the cast...This play is definitely worth a visit for anyone concerned with gender parity in theater, and specifically with the work of an excellent 'lost' female playwright." Full Review


"From the spectacle of the richly appointed furnishings that recall the time period, to the costumes, the music, and the background 'tick-tock' of time passing in the lives of these women, the director Jenn Thompson and the superb cast have created a world we become entangled in and find tragic. All of the elements combine to reveal the potency of Ellis’s themes...This exquisite production of a 'lost' play found by the Mint Theater Company is a must-see." Full Review

DC Metro Theater Arts

"It’s difficult to understand how this fine ensemble piece managed to be ignored by American managements until now...Here is a play written in the 1930s that resonates today even though its circumstances are tightly wrapped in the mores of its time...Not since Claire Boothe Luce’s 'The Women' have there been such juicy roles for women of all shapes, sizes, and ages, so three cheers for Mint Theater Company!" Full Review

Manhattan Digest

"Hazel Ellis has masterfully captured human nature and the petty grievances that can so often prevent us from real connection. Thankfully, director Jenn Thompson understands them, too. She has assembled a whip-smart and talented cast that knows how to deliver the goods; goods that might have been delivered years ago, but which the Mint Theater is now reviving with vitality and zest." Full Review

NY Theatre Guide

"Director Jenn Thompson has crafted a magnificently sensitive and honest production. Her artful and intelligent hand is evident in the exquisite performances, excruciatingly brilliant tension development and the overall creation of unforgettable moments of human frailty. The entire piece galloped at an elegant pace and kept me entranced throughout...I loved every minute of this volatile, heart breaking, exasperating, poignant and lucent production." Full Review


"The Mint, which specializes in rediscovering forgotten plays, does a well-nigh flawless job with this one. The trouble is, the characters are such unpleasant company...Ellis knows how to fashion a well-made play...It’s just such a dreary, oppressive setting...The company plays it brilliantly: Under Jenn Thompson’s sure direction, each actor gets to shine…‘Women Without Men’, while it may not deserve to be forgotten, isn’t one of the Mint’s more thrilling rediscoveries." Full Review

Show Showdown

"Ellis's writing is subtle and smart, and she knows that humans are not heroes or villains but fallible and needy. As she vividly delineates the way that need shrinks people's souls, she is sometimes, perhaps, overly bleak...The production at The Mint is up to the usual high standards. Jenn Thompson provides smooth direction, and the cast is strong." Full Review

Let's Talk Off-Broadway

“This richly characterized and surprising play by a pioneering Irish woman playwright tells us that — women without men are a very sad lot! It’s a fine play though…Thanks to the Mint Theater for producing this fine and little known play, and introducing us to the paradoxes in this work by a successful pioneer woman playwright...It’s not just 'Who knew?' when one sees a superb production of little known works from the past produced by the Mint – it’s ‘Thank Heavens we know now’!” Full Review

A Seat on the Aisle

"A wonderful revival of the long lost play...An excellent production...This production of Hazel Ellis’s 'Women Without Men' clearly deserves a place in that panoply of Mint successes...Suffice it to say that the entire production is first-rate, in no small measure due to its first-rate cast... If there is a special place in Heaven reserved for women who work so well together to provide us all with such a fine theatrical experience, these women can all start adjusting their wings." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"'Women Without Men' is a smart, involving, skillfully crafted play...Some of the action and character relationships in the play might be viewed as soap opera-ish...But the whole enterprise is elevated by the exceptional quality of Ellis's writing and the superb Mint production. Jenn Thompson's direction of the play could not be improved upon, and across the board, the acting is extraordinarily good." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Relevant, Disturbing, "shero"less

See it if You are up for a hard dose of how women can use gender as a weapon against each other

Don't see it if You need hope in narrative

Also This is a fine piece of drama but it drove me crazy. The plot revolves... Read more Read less

Great acting, Tense, Unpleasant, Complicated, Female-centric

See it if you're interested in a female playwright's complicated view of female relationships. It's not clearly feminist but is thought-provoking.

Don't see it if a play about unpleasant characters will make you uncomfortable. You are stuck in the characters' tense, irrational world of petty meanness.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if You're looking for good ensemble acting and a look at a period of history of spinster school marms who vent their frustrations on each other

Don't see it if Looking for light and upbeat. A bit dated and a grim look at women who don't have men

Great writing, directing and acting

See it if You enjoy a well-written play with all women. The claustrophobic world of Irish women teachers beautifully displayed in this mint Mint show.

Don't see it if Hearing accents all over the place bothers you. Greatest fault was the Irish accents which were very inconsistent. A dialect coach please.

Original, Clever, Thought-provoking

See it if Miss Jean Brodie was your hero, this is how real women lived through the transitional periods between the wars.

Don't see it if an all-female ensemble with one good cardboard character and one bad cardboard character don't appeal to you

Absorbing, Ambitious, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Women and work

See it if Always count on the Mint Theater for strong revivals of old shows. This play shows how far women have come and how much stays the same.

Don't see it if Show about a group of women teaching at a Dublin girls' school in early 20 century Ireland. If it sounds interesting, you will enjoy it.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Refreshing, Entertaining

See it if this was an absorbing play-wasn't bored for a moment

Don't see it if trouble understanding accents

Ambitious, Great acting, Resonant, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if you have an interest in forgotten plays of the early 20th Century. This one is a gem and deserves this excellent, beautifully acted revival.

Don't see it if you only like cutting edge, contemporary dramas, or think old black and white movies are boring and fake.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Needed editing

See it if Well worth seeing, too long, excellent ensemble acting, fine direction, needed editing.

Don't see it if you don't like old fashioned well made plsys

Disappointing, Cliched, Overrated, Slow, Dated

See it if you like old fashioned, well made plays (so called).

Don't see it if Unfortunately, largely boring. and the new theater is lousy. Don't buy the cheap tkts. The sight lines are dreadful.

Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Masterful, Great writing

See it if you like thoughtful, masterful dramatic plays full of strong characters

Don't see it if an all female cast does not sound appealing to you, if you like quickly developing stories

Dated, Real housewives of ireland (if bravo existed in the 1930's)

See it if If a group of 1930's Irish women being mildly bitchy and back-stabby for 2 hours would constitute a quality theater experience for you..

Don't see it if You are looking for big plot points or enjoy being educated, moved or entertained during the 2 hrs you commit to sitting through this show.

Excruciating, Slow, Dated

See it if You want to take a nap. The last 3 minutes of the first act were interesting. That should tell you a lot.

Don't see it if Just don't.


See it if you like to fall asleep in theatres, like to watch other people fall asleep in theatres, like bad accents and/or insipid plotlines.

Don't see it if you have the option to see a show that you might stay awake in.

Slow, Tedious, Charming, Pleasant, Good acting

See it if you like quaint period pieces set in Ireland. A mix between Mona Lisa Smiles and Anne of Green Gables. Great acting from senior cast members

Don't see it if you will be bothered by inconsistent accents and tedious and boring subject matter. First act is really slow but picks up after intermission

Disappointing, Overrated, Slow, Dated

See it if you like old Irish plays, with old fashioned costumes and crappy Irish accents. If you like naturalism and a slow plot.

Don't see it if you want a fast paced show, with accurate accents, and if you want to be on the edge of your seat and constantly entertained.

Great acting, Intelligent, Great writing

See it if a revival that's, unfortunately, always relevant; a group of quarreling, competitive, petty colleagues. Well written, excellent acting.

Don't see it if if you don't like period pieces.

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Dated

See it if You'd enjoy a well-written, superbly-acted period piece set in an all girls Irish boarding school. Reminds me of a Mauve Binchy novel.

Don't see it if You'd be disturbed by a group of women, who spend a good deal of time complaining and arguing, but ultimately agree to keep a secret.

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if Wonderful entertaining

Don't see it if no reason

Enchanting, Refreshing, Skillful, Perceptive, Minor

See it if you appreciate craft in every element of a play and production. It's a largely forgotten work of the kind of women who tend to be forgotten.

Don't see it if you want to be bowled over by the newest and the nowest. Its pleasures are delicate and minor but real and sturdy.

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy discovering little known plays that have relevance today, appreciate exquisite staging with distinct characters who charm & anger

Don't see it if you don't like plays that time to build plot and character, don't appreciate all-female casts and creative teams, see no value in old plays

Clever, Dated

See it if you enjoy classic style plays, like those of Lillian Hellman. Also, if you enjoyed the genius cattiness of the original film of "The Women"

Don't see it if you like a happy and neat resolve by the end. Also if you like fast paced action. Or difficult to solve mysteries with a big reveal.

Funny, Clever, Great writing, Slow, Dated

See it if You want to see a play that is exquisitely written and has a handful of fine performances

Don't see it if You need to see something that holds your attention and keeps you in suspense. Or if terrible wigs are distracting

Funny, Absorbing, Dated, Entertaining

See it if You like shows with all women casts with characters bickering and being petty.

Don't see it if You don't like period pieces. You don't enjoy dialogue with bickering.

Funny, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if Love to see women playwrights and an all female superb cast. Like period plays or have liked anything the Mint has produced in the past.

Don't see it if You want to see a man on stage - don't like 'bickering' or like to see what probably goes on in every workplace where there are many women.

Cast & Creatives (18)