The Mother of Invention
Closed 1h 35m
The Mother of Invention
70

The Mother of Invention NYC Reviews and Tickets

70%
(76 Reviews)
Positive
65%
Mixed
30%
Negative
5%
Members say
Great acting, Entertaining, Thought-provoking, Funny, Absorbing

About the Show

Abingdon Theatre Company presents the world premiere of James Lecesne's play, an unflinching and comedic look at how one family deals with the effects of Alzheimer’s.

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Member Reviews (76)

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477 Reviews | 128 Followers
74
Funny, Alzheimers suffused, Even includes wacky neighbor, Welcome gratuitous nudity, Set made of packing boxes

See it if experience a gifted cast making the most of tragi/comic material in the MARVINs ROOM vein

Don't see it if Alzheimers, family conflict, cardboard boxes, male nudity, too many lamps, Christmas lights, memory journals, guns, or color alerts irk you

406 Reviews | 59 Followers
75
Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if you enjoy a family drama with some unique complications and peppered with humor.

Don't see it if you don't like plays about families.

197 Reviews | 530 Followers
79
Great acting, Confusing, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if A compassionate look at a family dealing w/mother w/Alzheimer's & moving her to assisted living. Wonderful acting but confusing plot lines.

Don't see it if Potential for a great show but too many characters w/unclear actions & motives, weird gratuitous nudity, muddied the plot & caused confusion

268 Reviews | 56 Followers
85
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Innovative storyline and script

See it if an excellent, creative new theatrical voice, a fabulous cast, very clever set and staging and some plot surprise appeals. Funny and intense.

Don't see it if the reality of aging and Altzheimers, dysfunctional families, and overt sexuality unsettle you. This is no Ozzie and Harriet story.

205 Reviews | 43 Followers
80
Ambitious, Great acting, Relevant, Resonant, Quirky

See it if you are interested in family relationship plays, like relevant topics, enjoy intimate plays

Don't see it if you want don't like dark and thought provoking topics Read more

196 Reviews | 83 Followers
84
Absorbing, Ambitious, Great staging, Resonant

See it if You like small plays; you're interested in plays about family relationships. You like Concetta Tomei (who is fantastic in this).

Don't see it if Topics like Alzheimer's and aging and illness disturb you too much. You would be offended by brief male nudity. Read more

181 Reviews | 26 Followers
65
Contrived, Superficial, Flat

See it if family drama

Don't see it if family drama

161 Reviews | 52 Followers
79
Absorbing, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Great staging

See it if a story of siblings with their own issues dealing with deciding to put their mother in a home and a couple of people with shady agendas

Don't see it if no reason not to see it

Critic Reviews (14)

The New York Times
February 9th, 2017

"The show has potential as a faulty-memory play where the protagonists attempt to reshape their own stories...But this Abingdon Theater Company production, directed by Tony Speciale, is no Greek tragedy. Rather, it awkwardly flits between drama and comedy, and the characters are so cursorily written that the actors are left flailing — the experienced Ms. Tomei can’t dig out much in Dottie besides caustic interjections."
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Lighting & Sound America
February 10th, 2017

"A wildly uncertain mix of sex comedy, family drama, and oddball spiritual contemplation, which never gels into anything coherent... Nevertheless, 'The Mother of Invention' goes down easy, thanks to Tony Speciale's smooth direction, and the fine cast...By the time 'The Mother of Invention' reaches its not really satisfactory ending, one has long since realized that it is a collection of plot points in search of a play. It's as muddled as Dottie's mind, on one of her bad days."
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TheaterScene.net
February 10th, 2017

"Containing uneven performances, straightforward direction and clogged with symbolism, it’s a long 95 minutes...There are one-liners galore, wacky situations and a decidedly campy sensibility. It’s a bunch of superficial antics that never really meaningfully connect...Speciale’s physical staging of the action is fine, but doesn’t achieve the heightened zaniness this self-consciously absurd material, striving for profundity, aims for. The casting for these flimsy characters is problematic."
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Theatre is Easy
February 11th, 2017

“Ambitious—if sometimes uneven…A compelling, sprawling comedy that looks at family secrets with an unflinching gaze. Presenting a rare, well-rounded portrait of Alzheimer’s, the show also touches on themes of morality, sustainability, climate change, and the art of dying. It is a smart if imperfect script…At times quite funny and unexpected, the script also occasionally veers into the esoteric, and keeps track of some of the many juggled narratives better than others.”
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Theater Pizzazz
February 14th, 2017

"'The Mother of Invention' is hampered by both its attempt to do too many things in a limited space and by none of those things being fresh and/or revelatory. Lecesne, an Oscar winner and celebrated playwright, misses the mark here, being too expository and unfocused. But Director Tony Speciale has brought on a top-flight cast to tackle the emotional fare, and succeeds in rescuing the material, shaping it into a watchable, if seemingly long play."
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Front Row Center
February 10th, 2017

"With director Tony Speciale moving things along at a fast clip, there is never a dull moment. But, while there is humor, there is disappointingly little pathos to be found. In a play about moving out and moving on, few of the characters are very moving at all...More tell than show, Dottie talks often about forgetting, but we rarely see her forget. Indeed, she is so specific and at ease that the moral seems to be that Alzheimer’s ain’t all that bad for the afflicted."
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Stage Buddy
February 21st, 2017

"All rough material for sure, but it’s no matter, as the top-notch cast is so captivating, the moment the lights come up, you’ll forget you’re watching a down-and-out family gradually spiral out of control...Tomei, in a league of her own, offers a powerful performance that truly illuminates a mother’s internal — and external — struggle to survive...Davis and Reed both have you hooked for the entire span of their emotional journey."
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Theatre's Leiter Side
February 9th, 2017

"Dottie may be suffering from severe memory issues...but she seems perfectly at ease chatting about her condition and her children's dilemma. The device is cute for a while but...her being here in spirit, so to speak, quickly becomes a matter of diminishing returns...Well-cast, nicely acted, efficiently designed...and smoothly directed by Tony Speciale. But, given its lack of originality and too frequent triteness, what it lacks most clearly is the magic of invention."
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