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Jonah and Otto

From 14 critic and 23 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Clever, Intelligent

About the show

Lost Tribe Theatre presents the US premiere of this British drama in which two men share their solitude and their secrets over the course of one night. More…

Jonah is 26, Otto is 62—two men different in every way. But not everything is what it seems when their lives collide one summer's night in a mysterious walled garden on the south coast of England. As their stories of love and loss unravel and memories of the past come to light, it's clear neither can be the same again. 'Jonah and Otto' is a humane, comic, and ultimately haunting exploration of what it is to be alive.

Front Row Center

"An extraordinary play...A fascinating piece of writing wherein a simple premise gives rise to refreshing catharsis...Verbally dazzling, alternately prickly and unruffled, the writing builds subtly on rhythmic increments through a gamut of emotions, at times exploding with unforeseen revelation...Director Geraldine Hughes has masterfully fine-tuned the work of this pair of enormously talented actors to a razor-sharp attention to detail from the music of the text to the arc of the narrative." Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

"This show is a master class in acting handled by two exquisite actors Sean Gormley and Rupert Simonian...This is a show about regrets and living in the present. It is the human condition at its most frail...Geraldine Hughes' direction keeps us wanting to know more...Holman’s writing is interesting...I love the nuances of his words and the underlying things that are left unsaid...This is a do not miss, especially if you love acting. This is one of the best shows I’ve seen all season." Full Review

This Week in New York Blog

"An involving, splendidly acted drama...'Jonah and Otto,' despite a few bumps, is a cogent, analytical tale, ably helmed by actress and first-time director Geraldine Hughes. Gormley is solid and caring as the stiff-upper-lipped Otto, who is at a crossroads in his life, while Simonian is engaging as the odd Jonah...Holman’s dialogue is constantly surprising and wonderfully layered, with funny insults and clever insight." Full Review


"Snappy writing gives this sentimental story a real lift. So does the excellent acting of London-born Rupert Simonian and Irish Rep. member Sean Gormley, under the fine direction of Geraldine Hughes...Holman's characters may seem adrift in their mutual loneliness. But the reward of the play is that we watch them increasingly reflected through each other's sorrows and joys." Full Review

Diandra Reviews it All

"The immediacy of how these men open up to each other will attract audiences to 'Jonah and Otto's' emotional honesty...Director Geraldine Hughes did an excellent job of ensuring that the audience always feel the darkness or dimming light of both these men and their surroundings...With lesser actors, the depth and intensity of their conversations could come off forced, but Gormley and Simonian do well to show that effortlessness stems from their hardships with others." Full Review


"Playwright Holman’s jarring counterpoints of two ill met Englishmen gains odd colors from their quirks and foibles...Director Geraldine Hughes taps deeply into her acting resources to bring Sean Gormley into his best performance to date and to ensure a warm welcome for Rupert Simonian’s American debut. It’s heartening to want to see more of them." Full Review

Irish Central

"Director Hughes does well to focus on the physical, ensuring that both men risk something of themselves and reminding us that it will be consequential...The writing of this play leaves absolutely nothing to chance. Every sentence is carefully considered and carefully freighted with meaning. It’s a tribute to the actors' skill and the director’s nimble interventions that it feels organic, coming from a deeply felt place, with real-life consequences for its two hard-bitten protagonists." Full Review


"There isn’t much of a plot to the play other than the fact that the characters overcome an initial suspicion and antagonism of each other and arrive at a conciliation after gradually expressing their inner thoughts...Both Gormley and Simonian are in complete mastery of their roles. A certain tentativeness that Gormley appropriately displays as Otto is nicely balanced with the more aggressive, tough and streetwise energy of Simonian as Jonah." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"Over the course of 90 minutes, Otto and Jonah engage in thinly plotted talk, sometimes colorfully realistic and even vulgar, sometimes tediously elliptical and metaphorical...Both Gormley and Simonian give reasonably believable performances but Hughes’ direction is dully mundane. Holman appears to be casting an allegorical cloak over his everyday characters, whose interactions, for all their ordinariness, often have about them a mystical, unrealistic hue that is absent here." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"Trying to make precise sense of what’s transpiring moment to moment may not be worth a ticket buyer’s time. The script doesn’t bear the weight of too much analysis...This piece may be a small lapse in playwright Holman’s career...The pressing reason to see 'Jonah and Otto' is to watch what Simonian and Gormley do with their meaty roles, as directed by Hughes...Although Holman’s play adds up to less than the sum of its parts, the acting amounts to a good deal more." Full Review

DC Metro Theater Arts

"Colorful and often vulgar verbal darts are thrown but much of the banter is metaphorical and sounds more like repartee than cohesive conversation...I found the play a well-intentioned ode to loneliness and disappointment, with a message that is far too cryptic. The performances were arresting, the direction of Hughes and the seedy garden set of Beyersdorfer added atmosphere and pace, but in the end the verbal sallies, unfortunately, did not engage or teach me." Full Review


"While the play is at times Pinteresque, it is talky in a way Pinter never is, explaining everything over and over, covering the same ground again and again. Nothing much happens other than the men become more confiding and reveal more of their personal pasts. The play implies that Jonah is menacing, but under Hughes' direction, he never seems much of a threat. The pace is slow and methodical, too slow for its own good. The acting style is too refined, too genteel to make much impression." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"With 'Jonah and Otto,' we are left with little by way of form or context. Despite compelling acting by the two performers, under Geraldine Hughes's direction, the audience is kept at arm's length from being able to find the key to the code that will allow us to unearth any but surface meaning from what is essentially a staged version of an abstract and poetic short story. In the end, we are left as walled in as the garden where it all takes place." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"It amounts to a random collection of heartbreak, spiced up by some of the most overwrought dialogue to be heard in months...Whatever can be done with lines like these, the young actor Rupert Simonian does it; he also is technically gifted, pulling off each of his character's seizures with alarming verisimilitude...Nevertheless, under Hughes' direction, both actors struggle to find a rationale for the things their characters are given to do and say." Full Review

Great acting, Refreshing

See it if you want to see great acting. This play features two great actors that are really balanced. Balance means the world to me.

Don't see it if you want a big crazy set with fireworks. This is all about the acting and building to a clean finish as we say in the wrestling business

Absorbing, Edgy, Thought provoking

See it if You want to stretch your horizons about relationships between the the old and the young.

Don't see it if you are not open to life, love and friendship beyond what you currently know.

Absorbing, Romantic, Intense, Intelligent, Quirky

See it if Two people don't seem to have much in common, but are drawn to each other. Sharp dialog and some unexpected developments.

Don't see it if I never fully bought into these characters and their relationship, but fine acting helped and I enjoyed the ride.

Disappointing, Indulgent, Overrated, Quirky, Thought-provoking

See it if two person cast with topic on feelings/emotions.

Don't see it if two actors you don't find credible or care about.

Indulgent, Excruciating, Slow, Insipid, Pretentious

See it if You believe British accents make a play interesting. You enjoy pretentious, obnoxious faux Beckett.

Don't see it if You're interested in being emotionally engaged, or seeing real characters who actually talk to and not at each other.

Great acting, Resonant, Intelligent

See it if You want to see great acting and captivating writing.

Don't see it if You don't have patience for a complex play that leaves some things open to interpretation.

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

See it if you're interested in seeing serious, thoughtful performances in a play about the conversations between 2 characters.

Don't see it if you're looking for a big, loud production.

Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if You like plays particularly British theater!

Don't see it if You're into flashy, traditional musical theater type shows.

Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Great acting, Resonant

See it if you'd like some delicious moments between 2 great actors, and are in a contemplative mood. Bonus for Brits - it's got references galore!

Don't see it if dark, two-handers aren't your cup of tea.

Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Great writing

See it if you're invested in one on one interpersonal dramas that just get out of hand. It's surprising how intense it gets!

Don't see it if You fear meeting people who might really connect with you in a scary way

Clever, Great acting, Masterful, Thought-provoking

See it if you'd like to experience great acting, thought-provoking themes and a taste of England.

Don't see it if you don't like being entertained.

Absorbing, Great acting, Ambitious, Edgy, Thought-provoking

See it if Hurry down to the Lion Theatre for a real treat!

Don't see it if You only watch Disney

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Must see, Resonant

See it if You want to get an incisive look into what it means to be human, and all the trials and tribulations that come with the territory.

Don't see it if you're only looking for a light-hearted play to pass the time.

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Intelligent

See it if you like quirky characters portrayed by top-notch actors.

Don't see it if you're looking for a bright, bouncy production.

Absorbing, Clever, Enchanting, Funny, Great acting

See it if You appreciate performances, smart writing and can have a laugh at the human condition.

Don't see it if Your favourite film is Horrible Bosses.

Absorbing, Great acting, Edgy, Exquisite, Clever

See it if Very much. The acting of the seizure was superb & the subject was very interesting. We hope it will eventually go to broadway.

Don't see it if We were very impressed with the show & the acting. Bravo!

Also With minimum setting it was a maximum message

Absorbing, Funny, Great acting, Ambitious, Clever

See it if you can. An excellent cast lead a top notch production. Pitch perfect direction and spot on production design catapult the story forward.

Don't see it if you you've never wondered what life is about.

Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if You appreciate great acting. Jonah and Otto entertain the crowd for 90 minutes without pause. It's brilliant.

Don't see it if You are bringing children. The language can be colorful!

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Must see, Relevant

See it if You are willing to explore the vulnerability of being human and to reflect on what can come from sharing that vulnerability with others.

Don't see it if You are not willing to accept or consider that and how, even in our brokenness, we need each other.

Also Beautifully, powerfully and sensitively acted. Emotional!

Great acting, thoughtful, deep themes

See it if You like talented actors and a script that you ponder and talk about for days.

Don't see it if You want plays to express an unmistakable point of view rather than make you reflect.

Wonderful play, beautifully acted, intelligently and compassionately directed.

See it if You love plays that have great heart and humanity.

Don't see it if You're looking for mindless entertainment.

Clever, Great acting, Great staging, Intelligent, Great writing

See it if You love great writing and acting

Don't see it if You don't want to think

During previews
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Thought-provoking

See it if you are rewarded by intense characters who have much to say about the circumstances of life.

Don't see it if You desire a believable play with action and plot.

Cast & Creatives (9)