Fuzzy tb5
New York | 1h 5m | Already closed

The Brutes

From 5 critic and 27 member reviews
Members say: Confusing, Ambitious, Disappointing, Dizzying, Thought-provoking

About the show

A portrait of the tempestuous relationship of the Booth family: John Wilkes Booth and his brothers, Edwin and Junius Jr.  More…

John Wilkes Booth, a loyal Confederate, is joining his Union family in New York City in November 1864, on the Thanksgiving before the one and only performance in which the three brothers ever shared a professional stage, and before John Wilkes was permanently etched into history as the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln. Beliefs are challenged, histories intertwine, and deep family ties are strained and broken. Though set in 1864, the story could be set in our current time, in terms of civil strife, families torn over issues, and a country sharply divided.

1h 5m | Already closed | New Ohio Theatre (West Village)

Theatre is Easy

“A new smart but exhaustingly dense play...Despite this well-packaged setup, the problem is that, across the work’s dense 75 minutes, none of the characters shift from their starting positions...In its current form, 'The Brutes' is rather long on Stoppardian erudition and metaphor and less invested in how the siblings impact one another...Fellini, doubling as director, produces a lively variety of stage pictures in the small in-the-round space.” Full Review

The New York Times

"It would seem potentially well matched to both this time of year and our foully antagonistic national mood. But even when the Booths sit down together for Thanksgiving dinner, and Wilkes, as they call him, provokes a fight about the war, this labored, fragmented play remains frustratingly inert, weighed down by a surfeit of story...The paradox of this production, performed in the round on an almost bare stage, is that despite the closeness of the action, the play itself feels remote." Full Review

Drama Queens Reviews

for a previous production “It is challenging for an actor to breathe credible life into...an average individual. Accomplishing this in a period piece with a little Shakespearean dialogue...is a lofty endeavor for any thespian. This cast rose to the occasion...While there is humor peppered throughout, this is a dark and heavy play...Between Wimpee’s script...coupled with the exceptional acting, it felt as if we were transported to the 1800’s and witnessing the brothers Booth and the tormented ghost of their father.” Full Review

Arts Independent

for a previous production “This the story about the Booth family both in and out of the theater, was really compelling and powerful and captured its audience...Wimpee’s juxtaposition of the time periods...was clever and uniquely done...Fellini lifted the piece with artistry and intrigue...Actors were amazing, professional, and very powerful. I loved this show and would gratefully see it again...An interesting and intriguing time well spent in the theater.” Full Review


for a previous production “Wimpee brings us a play that follows the once famous Booth family and their stormy relationship...Fellini’s casting was as stunning as her production scheme. The acting was very believable, and pulled the audience into the story...The lion’s share of the play is written in Shakespearean language, which can be tricky for those not used to its sound. Overall it was a fun and interesting night of theater.” Full Review

A facinating look at an important, but forgotten performance.

See it if you are interested in historical recreations, and forgotten performances.

Don't see it if you like lavishly staged, full Broadway productions

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Great writing

See it if You are interested in the history of the Booth family and the mind of Wilkes-Booth prior to The Lincoln Assasination

Don't see it if You do not want to see a show based on the history of the Booth family. Do not like shows off off Broadway.

Also My friend and I were very surprised at how well written this script is... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if You like historical plays that are told from a different and rarely heard perspective

Don't see it if you don't like plays with a lot of dialogue and multiple characters

Ambitious, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if you are interested in theater history and want to see a play about the famous - and infamous - Booth family.

Don't see it if you are looking for a straightforward drama as the some of the scenes - especially those involving “the brutes” - can be confusing.

Ambitious, Confusing, Excruciating, Slow, Jumbled

See it if you like to support small, new theatre companies. Or if you are Booth-obsessed. Or if you have friends in the cast. Otherwise, don't

Don't see it if you expect the script to make sense. It is ambitous and ultimately, unsuccessful. The acting and staging aren't much better. A weak show.

Dizzying, Great acting, Confusing, Fragmented

See it if good acting especially adam belvo; historical plays

Don't see it if if you dont like fragmented confusing plays....the actors did the best they could with a mediocre script

Also the back and forth between caesar and the lincoln theme could have bee... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Dizzying, Quirky, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if you are fully in tune with the history of the brothers and want a different take on a part of their lives with some good acting.

Don't see it if you want any peace-this is a romp from beginning to end with shouting, shooting, stomping and bright lights that often make you squint.

Ambitious, Confusing, Disappointing, Interesting concept, Garbled

See it if you have an interest in the history of the Civil War and theater history surrounding the Booth family.

Don't see it if you are interested in a more linear plot, traditional staging.

Also Parts of the play were fascinating, but it tried to mix in too many el... Read more Read less

Dizzying, Edgy, Intelligent, Intense, Confusing

See it if you want to see a snippet of theater history when the three Booth brothers share the stage.

Don't see it if you like a linear plot and well defined characters (the story line is somewhat random which made it difficult to follow).

Good acting to what end?

See it if You like words. A rather murky comparison of the 2 greatest actors of their age in signature role who happen to be father and son.

Don't see it if You are fussy about Shakespeare. The Shakespearean sections do not soar. you want a big production

Ambitious, Clever, Confusing, Unfocused

See it if to see a sparsely staged but overstuffed story of the Booths prepping for a benefit & dealing w/family feuds & the charged politics of 1864.

Don't see it if you're not interested in 19th C theatre history; you expect to find any heart or motivation beneath the densely packed play of ideas.

Also There is so much going on in this play, that one has to hand it to dir... Read more Read less

Dizzying, Indulgent, Confusing, Disappointing, Excruciating

See it if you want to learn some history of the Booth Family brothers (Junius Jr., Edwin and John Wilkes).

Don't see it if you do not enjoy plays that have the actors screaming their lines and the plot jumping all over the place.

Ambitious, Dizzying, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if You REALLY love Julius Cæsar (the play, not the Roman dictator (spoiler alert:he dies)). You like well acted shows that aren't well written.

Don't see it if You need a coherent plot (there are ghosts and a framing device in this that are largely unneeded) or great writing. Neither are found here.

Ambitious, Clever, Intense, Thought-provoking, Disappointing

See it if you like history, but don't care if the facts are correct. This show required outside research after for me to see the connections.

Don't see it if you hate when a show has less than half original writing. (Shakespeare was the predominant writer of the evening).

Great acting, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if Great acting! Intriguing plot. Civil war and presidential assassination insights. Serious play.

Don't see it if Muddled storyline. Don't want a serious play. Prefer lighter material.

Ambitious, Great acting, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if You like really good acting. I thought the actors did their best with the material they were provided.

Don't see it if You like plays to have a story that is not impossible to follow. I found the story very confusing.

Also Character's weren't well defined, nor were their relationships. A grou... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Dizzying, Banal, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if If you want to see a history based play of negligible if any importance.

Don't see it if If you're looking for a musical

Ambitious, Delightful, Great acting, Intense, Confusing

See it if You want to see A+ acting. The cast was really great, especially Belvo, Fellini Keeney and Martin. If you can follow fast dialogue.

Don't see it if You struggle to follow interweaving plot lines or don't know a lot about the Civil War.

Ambitious, Clever, Delightful, Meta, New

See it if You like history. You like Shakespeare and great Shakespeareans. You work with your siblings. You appreciate that all the word's a stage

Don't see it if You're hard of hearing. You dislike wit for its sake. You won't contemplate the repetitiveness of history or the necessity of theater

For a previous production
Ambitious, Confusing, Intriguing

See it if you are interested in the civil war, or American theater history.

Don't see it if you are not willing to concentrate very hard just to follow what is going on.

Also I found "The Brutes" consistently intriguing, but ultimately disappoin... Read more Read less

For a previous production
Dizzying, Edgy, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Good acting

See it if you can keep up with alot of dialogue and characters.

Don't see it if you're looking for an in-depth exploration of JW Booth.

For a previous production
Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Indulgent, Confusing, Slow

See it if Wimpee's well conceived tale of the Confederacy told thru the Booth acting dynasty Good acting esp Belvo's Edwin & O'Brien's Julius Sr Booth

Don't see it if Plot lines strained & confusing requiring patient sorting thru Works best when dealing w/back stage histronics of an all Booth performance

For a previous production
Ambitious, Disappointing, Cliched, Slow, Good acting

See it if you enjoy watching a play with good acting.

Don't see it if object to historical plays that appear pointless and uninteresting.

For a previous production
Confusing, Entertaining

See it if you're familiar with and enjoy Shakespeare. There were enough funny moments to keep the performance entertaining.

Don't see it if you find it difficult to intensely focus on dialogue. It is rather taxing.

Also I look forward to reading more reviews. I found it very hard to unders... Read more Read less

For a previous production
Ambitious, Indulgent, Confusing, Shallow, Has its moments

See it if You have some familiarity with the Booth family & know your Shakespeare references. You enjoy plays based on historical figures.

Don't see it if You want a play w/a strong POV: I was unsure what it was trying to say. You want insight into the Booths: this doesn't go beyond the basics.

Cast & Creatives (16)