Labyrinth Theater Company presents a new comedy about a modern-day, falling-apart California town, where Mom shares death-defying tales of pioneer crossings as she waits for her bankruptcy to come through. More…
Mom has entered a new chapter in her life: Chapter 11.. She’s filing for bankruptcy, her health could be better, and she should probably stop driving. Mom can't stop her spending money…or borrowing money…or loaning money...or generally digging herself deeper and deeper into bankruptcy. When her daughters decide to stage a financial intervention, things look like they’re getting better. Until they don’t.
"Played masterfully by Deirdre O’Connell, Mom is a plain-talking spitfire...'The Way West' feels like a play long overdue. Three strong female characters fill the ensemble. Musical interludes weave through a plot driven by sharp dialogue and brilliant comedy...Mimi O’Connell provides pinpoint direction here to seamlessly transition the plot’s momentum into these metaphorical explorations of theme, without sacrificing an inch." Full Review
"If all that befalls the family sounds too dark for 'The Way West' to be counted as a comedy, it has the rhythms and sparkle of lighter fare, thanks to the playwright’s witty dialogue and gentle doses of absurdity; the smooth direction of Labyrinth’s artistic director Mimi O’Donnell; and the terrific six-member cast – above all, the always fabulous Dierdre O’Connell as the descendant of pioneers, who elevates deliberate denial into a basic tenet of the American West." Full Review
"With this challenging, important new play, Mansour holds a mirror up to America: where we've been and where we might be going...One of the most watchable actors in New York, O'Connell gives a typically memorable performance...You are likely to leave 'The Way West' feeling deeply ambivalent. Mansour does not create likable characters. They are marked by delusion, jealousy, irresponsibility, sloth, and blind faith. Still, few among us can claim to be completely free of those foibles." Full Review
"A little of Mom's soliloquizing goes a long way and, in less capable hands than Deirdre O'Connell's, these sequences would be wearing. O'Connell, however, is one of the most adroit, compelling actors currently working, and her performance is reason enough to see 'The Way West'...[The designers] have found clever ways to deliver the whopping physical surprises in Mansour's wild and woolly script...Even in its most poignant moments, 'The Way West' is very funny." Full Review
"There are a lot of laughs in 'The Way West' about a family’s descent into debt and insolvency. With humor in pathos, playwright Mona Mansour captures the tenuous way many Americans are living nowadays, financially over their heads with no job security, or worse, permanently unemployed...Mimi O’Donnell’s crisp direction strikes the perfect balance needed to pull off this comedic tragedy. Together with Ms. Mansour, they evoke the family’s back story that you see as plain as day." Full Review
"Ms. Mansour’s intent is genuine, but the play wobbles between realism and absurdism never giving either genre the opportunity to realize her noble dramatic goals...Under Mimi O’Donnell’s reasoned but sometimes inconsistent direction, the ensemble gives each of their characters an often intense and hyperactive authenticity that fills the stage with an aching for redemption and release from the captivity of meaninglessness...'The Way West' seems to be a work in progress." Full Review
"Ms. Mansour may be saying that the American pioneer spirit of survival in the face of every obstacle, on which Mom keeps harping, will somehow prevail, but what she’s shown about this family suggests not that they’ll succeed but that even worse awaits in the future. ‘The Way West’ isn’t funny enough to gloss over how depressing it is." Full Review
"When the production itself becomes unsteady the play turns clunky and mean-spirited. But Mansour's sympathy for her central character and one casually wonderful performance mean that 'The Way West' occasionally lives up to the playwright's own ambitions…O'Connell is indispensable—a sympathetic tragedy-in-motion…O'Donnell handles the play's two farce scenes with quick confidence, but the wide spectrum of performance destabilizes an already tonally challenging play." Full Review
"If there was ever any doubt that Deirdre O'Connell is one of the best actors working in New York City, head down to Labyrinth...It's predictability that makes 'The Way West' wander from its otherwise playful and engaging path...There's a lot to admire about a story focusing on women fighting for dignity...But since the women are victims of their own poor decisions more often than not, by the end when things are in total disarray I didn't really feel sorry for anyone." Full Review
"'The Way West' suffers from a certain monotonousness--things just keep getting worse--that undermines one's interest in the characters. Watching them repeatedly screw up, it becomes increasingly difficult to care what happens to them...Mimi O'Donnell's direction can't bring urgency or a rooting interest to this situation but her cast is fairly solid...As 'The Way West' follows a predictable path to ruin, Mansour's editorializing fails to take it to state-of-the-nation play status." Full Review
"Ms. Mansour’s dialogue can be bleakly funny...While the dialogue often has a comic crackle, the characters’ fecklessness is less charmingly kooky than exasperating...Under the direction of Mimi O’Donnell, O’Connell displays an earthy good humor that partly makes up for her tedious forays into a fantasyland...Mansour seems to be striving not just for laughs but for pathos, too. The trouble is these people behave so absurdly that it’s hard to have much sympathy for them." Full Review
See it if you can laugh through your tears. This is an American Mother Courage. Deirdre O'Connell sings and tells stories while her world falls apart.
Don't see it if you cannot sit for almost 2 hours without an intermission.
See it if A refreshing and quirky story of a mom facing bankruptcy and her avoidance of reality; wonderful, endearing performance by Deirdre O'Connell
Don't see it if It goes on a bit too long and fizzles out without a satisfying ending, but mostly I was entertained. O'Connell knows how to spin a yarn.
See it if like great acting. Diedre OConnell is breathtaking. She is spot on. Set is terrific. Directing is excellent. Parts are a bit overwritten
Don't see it if you are looking for family fun
See it if You like stories about mothers & daughters and themes about surviving financially. The performances are good and the story is entertaining
Don't see it if You don't like small/intimate shows or shows w/ mostly women. I was fully engaged but didn't care for the monologues that broke the 4th wall
See it if You enjoy off beat, naturalistic humor. Deirdre O'Connell's performance is simply amazing.
Don't see it if You bore easily. It lags a bit, at times, and seemed a couple of scenes too long for a "one act". It dies in the end with no resolve.
See it if because you should see everything at this theater. They always do great shows, this one was good.
Don't see it if or go to this theater if you want to see edgy stuff. The acting was good, some fat could have been trimmed off the script.
See it if you're a fan of Diedre O'Connell who delivers, you suffered from the great recession and want company, want to support women writers
Don't see it if one-joke plays or predictable formats don't appeal to you, you expect character growth, you were expecting a comedy, you hate obstinacy
See it if Its a family dynamics and delusion story. There are elements that can feel a little "Lifetime" movie-ish, but I was completely invested
Don't see it if You are not into really intimate productions. I sat in the front row and felt like I was truly sitting in the family 70's decor living room.
See it if u want to ponder the myth of the American West in our era & relatedly the power of faith/ambition/self-delusion in forging on in tough times
Don't see it if you couldn't empathize w/ characters who use avoidance & fantasy as coping strategies as the global economy, and their household's, crumbles
See it if You enjoy good acting.
Don't see it if You like a fully developed storyline.
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