New York | 1h 40m | Already closed

The Way West

From 11 critic and 28 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Funny, Entertaining, Disappointing, Absorbing

About the show

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.

1h 40m | Already closed | Bank Street Theatre (West Village)

Theater Pizzazz

"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

New York Theater

"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

Front Row Center

"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

Theatre Reviews Limited

"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

Theatre's Leiter Side

"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

Time Out New York

"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

Theatre is Easy

"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

Lighting & Sound America

"'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

The New York Times

"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

Delightful, Great acting, Quirky, Hilarious, Must see

See it if You like original clever new work with great acting.

Don't see it if You don't like small theaters

Absorbing, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Original

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.

Great acting, Funny, And sad

See it if Like outstanding performance by Deirdre O'connell or as we know her as Didi. As well as the other females cast members.

Don't see it if if you do not like off broadway theater.

Different, Great acting, Quirky, Original, Funny

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.

Clever, Entertaining, Edgy, Great acting, Great writing

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

Banal, Cliched, Disappointing, Indulgent, Insipid

See it if Watching Deirdre O'Connell weave her magic is enough for you. It is for me.

Don't see it if You don't have and affinity for DiDi.

Thought-provoking, Funny, Moving, Great acting

See it if funny and poignant. True and whimsical. Great acting all around. Entertaining.

Don't see it if you don't like small shows.

Entertaining, Funny, Relevant

See it if You like stories of real people facing real challenges

Don't see it if you want a happy ending

Entertaining, Great acting, Relevant

See it if you enjoy Diedre O'Connel. Great acting. Interesting premise.

Don't see it if you don't like workshop productions. Needs work and re-writes.

Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Relevant

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

Absorbing, Funny, Great acting

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.

Great acting, Slow, Disappointing

See it if You like dierdre o'connell. Good performances from the actors all around. Point of the piece seems unclear - and/or not enough.

Don't see it if You aren't patient

Clever, Great acting

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.

Ambitious, Disappointing, Indulgent, Slow, Cliched

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

Disappointing, Slow

See it if you like Deirdre O'Connell.

Don't see it if you want something original.

Confusing, Disappointing

See it if you love being bored by banal characters with nothing to say

Don't see it if you want to wash the cat

Slow, Quirky, Overrated, Boring, Strange

See it if You like strange scenarios and are open minded to whatever may be. Very slow moving subject and story.

Don't see it if You like simple story lines

Enchanting, Thought-provoking, Original, Funny, Great acting

See it if You love new theater and great Acting all around.

Don't see it if You are looking for fluff.

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

See it if Family relationships and struggles resonates within your own life.

Don't see it if You have a short attention span.

During previews
The mom character is so endearing-- i just wanted to hug her, Great acting, Original, Absorbing, Enchanting

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.

During previews
Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Great writing, Relevant

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

During previews
Absorbing, Ambitious, Entertaining, Funny, Great staging

See it if you like family conflict

Don't see it if you don't like characters doing a few monologues

During previews
Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Edgy, Intelligent

See it if You love a play with family dynamic and impact of eccentric personalities on its members

Don't see it if You prefer upbeat, fast-paced shows

During previews
There's the germ of an idea here but needs further development, Excellent cast, Trails off at the end and leaves you wondering what to think

See it if You enjoy good acting.

Don't see it if You like a fully developed storyline.

During previews
Bleak, Vigorous, Great acting, Engaging, Powerful

See it if you don't want to miss Deirdre O'Connell. She's amazing as always.

Don't see it if you don't want to see a show that (while full of life) is super bleak.

Cast & Creatives (13)