Closed 2h 55m
A Day by the Sea
Midtown W
80

A Day by the Sea NYC Reviews and Tickets

80%
(121 Reviews)
Positive
90%
Mixed
7%
Negative
3%
Members say
Great acting, Intelligent, Slow, Absorbing, Entertaining

About the Show

The Mint Theater Company revives N.C. Hunter's forgotten 1953 play, a warm and often humorous depiction of the 'crisis' of middle age.

Read more Show less

Member Reviews (121)

Sort by:
  • Default
  • Standing in our community
  • Highest first
  • Lowest first
  • Newest first
  • Oldest first
  • Only positive
  • Only negative
  • Only mixed
100
Funny, Enchanting, Profound, Intelligent, Introspective

See it if Beautiful language, wonderful characters, regrets, fears and hopes ... an insightful, melancholy contemplation of life.

Don't see it if You prefer more action and intensity.

83
Great acting, Intelligent, Slow, Resonant

See it if Enjoy classic well made play format (3 acts), a Chekhovian flavored melodrama, moving performances

Don't see it if Have little patience for the well crafted play which takes its time (3hrs) to resolution, the "Masterpiece Theatre" genre

Critic Reviews (31)

August 25th, 2016

"This is a very well made play, and Austin Pendleton, the director, gets the most out of it…Mr. Elfer is terrific, and so is Ms. Firth, whose Frances gradually emerges during this two-intermission play as the most complex character on the stage. Their pas de deux is a beautiful study in conversations never had, or had too late…Miss Mathieson isn’t around much, but what Ms. McKie does with her one big scene, a confessional moment of yearning, is heart-stopping."
Read more

August 25th, 2016

"Apart from the easily parodied genteel surface of Hunter’s work, one is struck by its derivativeness. At moments, it’s as if Hunter wrote on tracing paper laid over 'Uncle Vanya.' Of course, there are worse talents to ape, and Hunter is a sensitive observer of English neuroses and resilience. The fine cast navigates the quippy, stiff-upper-lipness with vibrant grace…A melancholy study of middle-age malaise leavened by flashes of wit and humor, good for 'Downton Abbey' addicts."
Read more

August 25th, 2016

"The Mint has outdone itself with its latest effort…It is that rarest of rarities, a forgotten masterpiece, acted by the best ensemble cast I’ve seen in recent seasons and staged with taut vitality by Pendleton…Ms. Firth, a familiar face to fans of the Mint, and Mr. Elfer, who is new to me, are as good as they could possibly be, though no more so than the eight other members of the cast, all of whom give vividly drawn performances…Everything about this staging is as right as the play itself."
Read more

August 25th, 2016

"While the feelings presented in this play are universal, they're strained by the three-act structure, with too little action to justify its length…While 'A Day by the Sea' is surprisingly relevant (loneliness never goes out of style), Pendleton's production, no matter how attractive it is, cannot overcome the tediousness of the script…Despite Pendleton managing to guide a few of the cast members to performances of genuine ache, most of the company is too actorly to be truly believable."
Read more

September 4th, 2016

"'A Day by the Sea' is now receiving a jewel of a production by the Mint Theater Company, directed with deft delicacy by Austin Pendleton...It's the second act when the sparks start flying and the drama gets intense...While missed opportunities and dim futures are the major themes of the play, they contrast with Hunter's language and the setting's nostalgic elegance, giving 'A Day by the Sea' a bucolic beauty that tries to defend against the darkness of reality."
Read more

August 26th, 2016

"Such delicate materials need the most careful handling, and it's a good thing the Mint has engaged Austin Pendleton, a director who sifts meaning from the subtlest of details. He has assembled a cast that knows exactly how to dig under their characters' polite surfaces in search of the quiet torments that afflict them…Once again, we are in debt to the Mint for bringing to our attention a playwright we should have known better all along."
Read more

August 25th, 2016

"The play's length and its three-act structure seem ill advised...Most of the subplots and interrelationships between the characters are interesting in themselves, but they are not woven together very well by the playwright — a flaw exacerbated in the Mint production by the flaccid direction of Austin Pendleton…Whatever flaws exist in the show's direction and some details of the performances, the Mint has given 'A Day by the Sea' a typically gorgeous, thoroughly professional production."
Read more

August 30th, 2016

“‘A Day by the Sea’’s first act is entirely made up of exposition and back stories, and Austin Pendleton’s leisurely direction makes the play slower than it needs to be. And then in the second of the play’s three acts all of the characters seem to have a catharsis as to what their lives might be and the temperature heats up. The casting could not be better and the play turns extremely poignant as Hunter’s characters must come face to face with the choices they have made.”
Read more

August 26th, 2016

"Hunter’s similarity to Chekhov is uncanny, and I mean that as a compliment of the highest order… It is the subtleties that reveal profound depth, human fears, and highest hopes…This ten-person ensemble realizes the play to its greatest potential…This play is a lost treasure trove of exquisite writing filled with hilarity, awkward interpersonal moments, and highly intelligent observations about life...A beautifully eloquent text that earns its place in the category of great dramatic literature."
Read more

August 26th, 2016

"Can one really start again? And would the outcome result any differently? It’s these questions that director Pendleton endeavors to answer as he wisely moves his talented cast from garden to beachside picnic. Life’s puzzle of growing older juxtaposed with youth, and the nature of human temperaments and frailties become more focused as the three-act blossoms in an all too lengthy and tedious 2 hours 55 minutes! But it does have its many moments of humor and heartfelt sincerity."
Read more

August 25th, 2016

"The Mint Theater Company has done it again. Their handsomely staged, splendidly performed production of 'A Day By the Sea' proves that old-fashioned, well-made plays of the 1950s can still entertain and overcome their dated aspects…Austin Pendleton manages to make these entrances and exits go smoothly so that the actors can make the most of their well-developed characters and the witty interchanges Hunter wrote for each. And do they ever!"
Read more

August 26th, 2016

"Hunter’s quietly passionate drama…Under the taut direction of Austin Pendleton, a uniformly strong ensemble reveals the devastatingly calm results of wrong choices and world war…The play is three acts in three hours, with each act having its own purpose and tone...Pendleton transforms the goings-on into a modern era episode of 'Downton Abbey'...Elfer and Firth are perfectly paired with his Julian casting a pensive Hugh Grant charm and her damaged Frances done with playing games."
Read more

September 13th, 2016

"Mint Theater Company’s exquisite production of N.C. Hunter’s 'A Day by the Sea' brings to light a play that after an unsuccessful Broadway run more than half a century ago, sank into obscurity; however, unearthed in 2016 has so much more to say about our days...Directed by the masterful Austin Pendleton, 'A Day by the Sea' is essential theatre."
Read more

August 25th, 2016

"The best one can say of the revival (and of the play itself, for that matter), whose most prominent name is that of director Austin Pendleton, is that it’s dully respectable. The staging is uninspired, the casting flawed, and the acting uneven; moreover, the slow-paced, relatively plotless play, although not entirely lifeless nor without moments of dry humor, suffers too many longueurs. And Hunter’s writing in act one offers a lesson in how not to introduce exposition."
Read more

August 28th, 2016

"The production is well done, especially in the casting of Julian Elfer. Director Austin Pendleton and set designer Charles Morgan give us the feeling that we are looking through a painting of life...The dialogue is so profound that the wisdom in those words echoes today's thoughts and quandaries...This is such a true ensemble and they make this page of life come so alive…With this gem of a play, this fabulous theatre company will offer you a night of theatre that is sure to satisfy."
Read more

August 25th, 2016

"The actors bring infinite subtleties to their assignments...Firth’s sense of intelligent dolefulness, Tanner’s authority, Godwin’s quick shifts between anger and regret, McKie’s enduring sadness are only part of the ensemble’s overall effectiveness...Surely, much credit for the success of this 'A Day by the Sea' goes to Austin Pendleton...He is attuned to Hunter’s Chekhovian blend of disillusionment, humor and eventual acceptance, and brings it all to vibrant, plangent life."
Read more

August 26th, 2016

"Pendleton has mined this paean to the regrets and follies of middle age for all its worth. The acting is excellent, as are the production values. Praise-worthy all…It is not an easy play by any means, but it is a significant work that will resonate with anyone who has had to shelve an ambition or wrestle with accepting what is rather than what might have been. Mr. Pendleton, the Mint, and the entire company of actors have done a great service in restoring this neglected work."
Read more

August 29th, 2016

"The new production is impeccable, especially with respect to the acting and directing…It is a tribute to the Mint to yet again call our attention to an important writer from the past....Firth is splendid…Other characters are also well-defined and impeccably portrayed…The Mint Theater Company has captured Hunter’s vision with perfection."
Read more

W
August 26th, 2016

"The play feels slow…It’s impossible to tell how much of this is attributable to the script and how much to the production, which is not, in my opinion, up to high Mint Theater standards…Pendleton’s direction is radically uneven. There are wonderful small gestures…On the other hand, there are actors who seem to disappear when not speaking, intermittent lack of focus during dialogue, and cast members so theatrically flamboyant embodiment is left in the dust of bravado."
Read more

September 10th, 2016

"Has charmed most of the critics. Although not me. I'll grant that Hunter makes some gimlet-eyed observations about the choices people make in their lives and the courage necessary to take responsibility for those choices. And his play doesn't go to predictable places. But this production seems to me to just skim the surface of Hunter's melancholic truths. The cast is wildly uneven...The production also struck me as chintzy."
Read more

August 26th, 2016

"The play is marvelous. Pendleton and his cast tease out what is most salient and profound in the work...The playwright’s beautifully constructed three acts speed by because of the acting ensemble’s uncanny, in-the-moment presence shepherded by Pendleton’s pinpoint attention to the specificity of character development…'A Day by the Sea' is a play of monumental humanity and searing elegance with a soupçon of well-placed humor brought about by the exquisite performances."
Read more

August 27th, 2016

"Directed with precision and grace by Austin Pendleton on Charles Morgan’s lovely sets, the superb cast brings to warm life this world of dimmed elegance…The characters’ outside-world concerns resonate surprisingly in tune with today’s crises of war, terrorist violence, and threats of fascistic resurgence in the West…Among the excellent supporting cast, Polly McKie is especially fine…If N. C. Hunter’s work has been forgotten, it’s wrongly so. 'A Day by the Sea' proves it."
Read more

September 3rd, 2016

"Pendleton helps his gifted cast develop expressive grace notes, and some prosaically written scenes conjure surprising strength...Mental activity helps one through the more arid sections of 'A Day by the Sea,' of which there are several...If, like me, you relish the languid rhythms and gentle forward motion of the well-made mid-century play, you’ll want to catch 'A Day by the Sea.' But this one could have been a little more well-made."
Read more

August 30th, 2016

"Hunter's play isn't precisely boring. Or, let's say, its boringness isn't a simple matter: Hunter knows that his people are dull and his dramatic action sluggish...Chekhov, the classic maker of plays in which 'nothing happens,' is often cited as Hunter's model...We have to piece Chekhov's facts together for ourselves; Hunter's people, in contrast, explain themselves all too fully...Pendleton's production does its best to find vitality inside the script's eerie, stop-and-start moods."
Read more

August 25th, 2016

"‘A Day by the Sea’ has us wondering how this play ever got produced in the first place, let alone beat out others more deserving of a revival…This production features good actors, but the slim plot, sketchy character development, and exposition-laden dialogue don’t give them much to work with…Morfogen scores the most laughs...He has lines like, 'Does something happen soon? It’s pretty dull, this,' which brought laughs of appreciation from the audience thinking the same thing."
Read more

October 4th, 2016

"Manages to be Chekhovian in feel and yet be its own fine drama...Director Austin Pendleton and the top-notch cast certainly knew what to do with this sixty-three-year-old neglected gem...There’s Hunter’s strength: the line that makes your mouth open with awe and reminds you that you’re in the company of a first-class writer...For those who insist that any play over a couple of years old is automatically dated, how about the sequence where Uncle David predicts global warming?"
Read more

September 5th, 2016

"There is some slow going in early scenes, but remember, this is a three-act play. Once the characters’ needs and frustrations are presented, the play, in gifted director Austin Pendleton’s hands, moves along vibrantly...Performances are excellent, with particular subtlety and detail demonstrated by Katie Firth and Julian Elfer...'A Day by the Sea' is a rich and thoughtful production, with a warm and universally meaningful text."
Read more

August 28th, 2016

"Under Austin Pendleton’s steady and gentle direction, we gradually see how effectively Hunter scratches the surface of social interactions to reveal what lies beneath: sadness, anger, and disappointments, as well as hopes and dreams...'A Day by the Sea' initially seems like a play of manners...Although Hunter’s play is not raw like those of Pinter and Osborne, it’s not Disney either—not everyone lives happily ever after. Instead, it shows how much we really just march through life. "
Read more

August 31st, 2016

"'A Day by the Sea' is a full three hours, which is long by modern standards, but it remains interesting throughout. Under Austin Pendleton's sure-footed direction, the play's 10-person ensemble is top-notch…This play is so full of understated yet beautifully expressed, human moments…'A Day by the Sea' is a snapshot of life in 1950s England that is every bit as recognizable in 2016 New York City, and most likely will be for future audiences, whenever and wherever they may be."
Read more

September 13th, 2016

"Its profligacy with words leads to a run time of nearly three hours...'A Day By the Sea' is a piece that could easily falter and become dull, but it gives director Austin Pendleton the kind of actors’ scene work at which he thrives, and with an interesting, often excellent cast, he manages to maintain audience concentration and engagement for the full run time handily. It’s a fine, bittersweet way to end New York’s theatrical summer."
Read more

September 7th, 2016

"'A Day by the Sea' is intelligent and moving. It presents a slice of real life. In a word: terrific...Don’t be deceived by the passive-sounding title; cataclysmic events are the backstory here that Hunter weaves deftly throughout the story…The set design is museum quality. Executed by Charles Morgan, the action is literally framed—like the large oil paintings that are backdrop. Director Austin Pendleton has done a splendid job choreographing a story that moves with comparable artistry."
Read more

Watch This Next (3)

83
Great
1K+ Reviews
Open run
NYC: East Village

This family-friendly show celebrates the power of percussion and the sheer joy of banging on things.

Buy
82
Great
500+ Reviews
Open run
NYC: Midtown W

An actor drinks heavily (in the vein of Comedy Central's 'Drunk History') and then tries to corral others into…

Buy
81
Great
30 Reviews
Opens Aug 09
NYC: Upper W Side

Shakespeare in the Park is back this summer with Jocelyn Bioh's joyous adaptation of "Merry Wives."

Buy