New York | 2h 20m | Already closed

Bobbie Clearly

From 9 critic and 75 member reviews
Members say: Thought-provoking, Great acting, Absorbing, Ambitious, Great writing

About the show

The Roundabout Underground presents this New York premiere, a comedy-about-a-tragedy set in small town Kansas. More…

Bobbie killed Casey in the middle of a cornfield in Milton, Nebraska. Two years later, Milton’s residents are ready to tell you their side(s) of the story. 'Bobbie Clearly' pushes the boundaries of the Roundabout's Black Box Theatre, with a sprawling cast of eccentric characters and an ambitious narrative that pulls back the husk of rural life. Written by Nebraskan Alex Lubischer, a second-year candidate in the Playwriting Program at Yale School of Drama and the newest playwright discovered by Roundabout Underground.

New York Stage Review

"Fearless and mesmerizing...Chase emphasizes the uncomfortable intimacy, sometimes having actors appear directly behind audience members in the back rows...In revealing these characters at their most self-conscious and aspirational, the playwright initially flirts with mocking clichés about small-town folk...But as the play progresses, Lubischer, who is in fact from Nebraska, makes his townspeople increasingly difficult to pigeonhole." Full Review

Time Out New York

"Lubischer demonstrates a rare sense of command...Borrowing motifs from everything from 'Our Town' to 'Serial', he displays real craft and scope. The performances, too, are executed precisely...The play’s bold combination of violence and jokiness—the horrifying content told with such gentle mockery—left me confused and sometimes even angry...Lubischer is very interested in Bobbie and has written him a complicated and intriguing play. He’s scarcely imagined Casey, though." Full Review

Gotham Playgoer

"Lubitscher was aiming for a portrayal of small-town life...rather than a portrait of Bobbie. The performances from the talent show are more entertaining than relevant...The quality of the acting varies widely...While I admire the playwright's ambition and raw talent, I do not feel that he was able to maintain firm control over his material. The tone wobbles from moment to moment...Davis keeps things moving along smoothly. While I would not call it a success, I am not sorry that I saw it." Full Review

Stage Left

"The voice of this darkly funny play is too often fractured, oscillating between sincere exploration of important questions of faith and forgiveness and silly vignettes, often musical, that poke fun at small town life. That tension-documentary vs. mockumentary-is never resolved. It is unclear if Lubischer has set out to satirize his characters or give them voice; his approach is inconsistent though engrossing...Fantastic performances by the 11 person ensemble." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"As a group portrait, 'Bobbie Clearly' is often quite gripping...The playwright, Alex Lubischer, is clearly talented -- he certainly knows the territory -- and he finds plenty of drama in fraying friendships and the strange permutations that can be caused by grief. His three-act structure is awkward, however...Sets up a bizarre which point 'Bobbie Clearly' loses any sense of reality...A distinctly flawed work, it is nevertheless an affecting look at a community living in tension." Full Review


"So we spend much of 'Bobbie Clearly' struggling to understand why the title character would want to move back to the community where he murdered one of his classmates...Lubischer's play jumps the rails, as contrivance and sensationalism overtake what was a sensitive exploration of a difficult story...None of it would work without emotionally vulnerable performances from the actors...We never get to see Bobbie clearly, which feels simultaneously less satisfying and more truthful." Full Review

The New York Times

"Takes on many difficult subjects, in several styles. Lubischer seems to have packed his first professional NY production with a sampler of his skills, as if it were a résumé...I wish the production achieved better control of its tone, which seems to wander...Davis does right by the play’s moments of highest tension and emotion...Plays are also about characters, and most of the ones in 'Bobbie' are too contradictory for the cast to act convincingly." Full Review

New York Stage Review

"Lubischer has created a boldly compelling and mysterious piece, filled with interesting characters. It is a play that is intentionally withholding, and it ultimately fails to fully engage only because it remains too stubbornly opaque...A simple conceit, elevated by Davis's creative and dynamic staging...There are smart bits..But because we’ve never really found out what happened—what exactly Bobbie did, what motivated him, how he processed it—we can’t engage in this examination of the fallout." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"An awkward mix of satire and sad reflection...Lubischer has captured the community spirit...Either the playwright or the director has incorporated a tone of parody that unnecessarily pulls us away...The hodgepodge of darkish humor and authentically dark emotions never fully coalesces...In need of careful revision. With the exception of Constance Shulman's pitch perfect portrayal of the town's lone cop, we spend far too little time where it is needed." Full Review

Entertaining, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Relevant

See it if If you like great ensemble cast work and quick dialogue exchanges and thoughtful, engaging writing and great actor/audience connections.

Don't see it if If you don't like actors to be very close to you and acting all around you or if you find the subject of teen murder too difficult.

Great acting, Funny, Quirky, Great writing, Thought-provoking

See it if If you want something funny and thought provoking. See it for fantastic acting. Intimate.

Don't see it if You are afraid to laugh.

Also I enjoyed this show so much I had to see it twice.


See it if you like risk taking. a clever play. outside the box.

Don't see it if you like traditional plays with traditional structures.

Absorbing, Funny, Intense, Relevant

See it if You like beautifully written characters, fully developed by a very talented director and cast. Be prepared to be astonished,

Don't see it if Tales of bullying and vengeful action disturb you. Also, don’t go if seeing an animal gutted will upset you.

Also A heartbreaking and hilarious story. The ensemble is superb, with capt... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Intelligent, Quirky

See it if you enjoy non-linear plot development and a mix of humorous/silly and heavy/deep. It’s a true ensemble piece that makes you think.

Don't see it if you don’t like small venues with minimal staging or if you need straight-forward action. The style is mockumentary.

Absorbing, Great acting

See it if You like fast paced, great acting plays about a life event from multiple angles

Don't see it if You are looking for a fully buttoned up production with great staging, music, etc

Great writing, Great acting, Funny, Thought-provoking, Captivating

See it if You love and support new theatre. It’s bold and ambitious in it’s style and direction. So so cool and interesting!

Don't see it if You are uncomfortable in tight spaces or with actors being in your face

Darkly comic, Great acting, Great character development, Sometimes purposefully uncomfortable, Captivating

See it if you can appreciate dark humor or like mockumentary-type pieces (i.e., The Office, Christopher Guest movies).

Don't see it if you aren't willing to explore the comedic side of a tragedy or don't like dark humor. But this piece deserves a chance.

Also I was very captivated by everyone's performance in this show. At times... Read more Read less

Great acting, Great writing, Great direction, I really enjoyed this mash-up/smash-up

See it if You like problematic, imperfect plays that require you to think, while you laugh and cringe and learn about people you will never know.

Don't see it if drama laced with farce and irreverence offends, you want answers to senseless murder. I totally checked out for the gratuitous buck gutting.

Also It took me a long time to reconcile my verbal introduction to Bobby as... Read more Read less

Edgy, Great acting, Great writing, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to be totally absorbed in a drama with interesting characters, frightening moments, and (thank goodness) some comedy.

Don't see it if You don't like a long play, (2 hours, 20 min) that keeps you totally suspended.

Also Great acting with many heart wrenching moments.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you are interested in small theater performances that touch on relevant and poignant issues.

Don't see it if you want a show that has a lot of pomp and circumstance, or don't want to see a dramatic show.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if Story of a small town trying to cope with a tragedy and forgive. Covers the thoughts and lives of the residents over 10 years. Victims?

Don't see it if You are disturbed by violence and blood. Cannot see two sides to every story.

Also Constance Shulman from OITNB is outstanding as the town police officer... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Entertaining, Great staging, Intelligent

See it if enjoy shows like "Laramie Project".

Don't see it if you don't like theater in the round and prefer a clear separation between the performers and audience.

Clever, Ambitious

See it if you like character based plays where all the information isn't spoon-fed to you.

Don't see it if you like lite and fluffy entertainment.

Also I'm not sure if this is a dark comedy or a funny drama, but I dug it. ... Read more Read less

Promising "bones", Overly-ambitious or mysterious?, Uneven, Surprising, Somewhat dissatisfying

See it if you're forgiving towards a young playwright's workshopped play-in-progress, where ambitious ideas and promising writing sometimes flounder.

Don't see it if you're expecting well-polished writing, a neatly-tied-up finale, mesmerizing and groundbreaking work, and feel-good-vibes: it's a dark one.

Also Bobbie Clearly can be mysterious, alluring, and ambitious: a motiveles... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great staging, Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if You enjoy seeing what a director can do with a theatre the size of my living room.

Don't see it if You don’t like shows that don’t get to the point until the third act (which is literal here since it’s three acts).

Well-crafted writing, Polished ny debut, Edgy, Characterizations thin

See it if An outwardly funny piece about a tragic occurrence, nicely developed if a little long. Some characters are sketchily drawn & remain...

Don't see it if tangential to the story but the emotion is palpable & as in reality not all questions are answered. A fearless new voice.

Ambitious, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if You enjoy multi-talented actors, strong direction and new young playwrights with real promise. Extremely well-produced.

Don't see it if You prefer not to spend over two hours sitting shoulder-to-shoulder on lightly-padded folding chairs. You don’t want to turn your head every

Also few minutes to see the actors who are all around you. The play takes o... Read more Read less

Great acting, Great staging, Thought-provoking

See it if You like shows that do not spoon feed the points to the audience; you are ok with complexity and ambiguity.

Don't see it if This is incorrectly billed as a comedy and tragedy but it’s not funny enough to be considered a comedy.

Great ensemble acting, Thought-provoking script, Uneven, Well staged, directed, and lighted, Purposely slow

See it if you like a thought provoking script in its early developmental stage performed by a very talented ensemble cast on a well designed stage.

Don't see it if you blindly follow professional critics. Sure there are flaws-including one very big one at the end-but overall this is a promising start.

Absorbing, Quirky, Thought-provoking, Entertaining

See it if you might like a genre-bending story about a tragedy in small town and lasting effects over years (drama, comedy, documentary elements).

Don't see it if you don't see the humor in cringe-worthy talent show performances or don't like intimate staging in which the house lights are often on

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great staging, Relevant

See it if you enjoy a drama about a murder and how it affects members of a small town in Nebraska. It is well staged and acted.

Don't see it if you like comedy or a great set. The staging is good but simple props are used.

Also I enjoyed the natural acting of the characters but the Why question is... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Incomplete, Quirky

See it if you like sagas of midwestern small towns spread over multiple years about a murder by a 14-year old boy & its aftermath, to see town react

Don't see it if you are expecting answers to its mysteries, don't like quirky characters that make fun of such locales, can't relate to troubled young folk

Disappointing, Ambitious, Slow, Thought-provoking

See it if you like shows that deal with the results of a violent crime.Explores impact on family, on the community, and on the killer.

Don't see it if you want clearly drawn play that explores these issues.Cast is too large.Hard to remember who is who.Acting is good, but writing needs focus

Ambitious, Entertaining, Riveting, Cliched

See it if you want to see an ambitious, winding take on a multitude of difficult issues. You are happy to be engaged for a couple of hours.

Don't see it if you want some coherence. The interview format is a bit lazy and the characters reductive leading to the actors floundering.

Cast & Creatives (18)