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Utility

Members say: Great acting, Clever, Slow, Relevant, Confusing
74
Critics
75
16 reviews
Members
70
5 reviews
 

The Amoralists present 'Utility,' a new drama about the trials and tribulations of a working mother.

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Amber has two jobs, three kids and an 8 year old's birthday party to plan. Her on again-off again husband, Chris, is back on and determined to help out the best he can. Sometimes that's good enough. As Amber struggles with the tiny avalanche of day-to-day setbacks, she finds herself becoming a stranger to the person this life is turning her into.

 

Cast & Creatives (12)


Reviews (21)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
75
Avg Score

85
The New York Times

"Not a lot happens in Emily Schwend’s 'Utility,' but its air hums with a tension that’s just this side of despair...'Utility' is a skillfully constructed, beautifully acted domestic drama about struggling simply to make do...There are no fireworks here...Ms. Schwend offers a close, unblinking look at a moment in the life of a woman who’s treading water as fast as she can, trying to keep her family afloat." Full Review

65
Theatermania

"A soberly ambivalent assessment of the sacrifices people make not just to get ahead, but to just maintain a life they didn't want in the first place...'Utility' sometimes feels like the exposition scenes of a horror film, one in which the killer never shows up to work...Shaggy dialogue and dead-end exposition aside, 'Utility' is a vitally honest story of perseverance in the face of the massive challenges facing working-class American families." Full Review

85
Theater In The Now

"The Amoralists have a winner with 'Utility.' The story is clear and real. And that’s what sets it apart. For the most part, Emily Schwend lays everything out on the kitchen table...with one moment of ambiguity, Schwend’s story will leave you wanting to know the answer for a long, long time. Maybe if Schwend writes a sequel, we’ll get a resolution." Full Review

85
Theatre Reviews Limited

"Under Jay Stull’s precise and assiduous direction, 'Utility' focuses on a couple of days in the life of this couple...The ensemble cast deliver authentic and honest performances...Sometimes the pace seems slow; however, this assessment surely is the result of the discomfit experienced at the raw truth delivered by Ms. Schwend’s disarmingly accurate script." Full Review

60
TheaterScene.net

"'Utility,' a kitchen sink drama, is as realistic as the day is long. The problem with the play is that as theater it is unrelievedly grim, with little or no catharsis along the way...The cast is uniformly accomplished giving indelible performances...It is weak on dramaturgy in that there is little progress or catharsis to keep the play from remaining on one level throughout the evening." Full Review

85
Talkin' Broadway

"The playwright has done a masterful job in creating an atmosphere of tension that threatens to crush Amber through the daily demands of her life...The cast does an excellent job in delineating the characters and their stressed-out lives. But the backbone of the production rests with the compelling portrayal of Amber by Ms. Vache, who allows us to see both the external strife and the internal struggle of a woman doing everything she can to keep the wolves at bay." Full Review

90
Theatre is Easy

"The characters and situations in 'Utility' are fairly recognizable, however the acting is very strong...The commitment is apparent as each actor is truly alive as their character...Each artist involved with 'Utility' further adds to this fantastic cohesion to execute a standout production." Full Review

85
BlogCritics.org

"Intensely acted under smooth direction by Jay Stull...Now and then I found myself wanting or expecting more action. The pleasure, and the accomplishment, lie in the revelation of character through drawled dialogue and dusty situations that feel raw and real. And Vache’s Amber is sure to prove one of the standout performances of the year." Full Review

60
Exeunt Magazine

"With the intricate performance lacework that Schwend’s script demands, the cast and director really have to make every moment count. Someone needs to be generating energy and a vibrating undercurrent of emotion even if no one is saying a thing. Here, the actors hold on these moments but the meaning plays a bit too faint. The characters are operating on multiple levels. But we do not always get to see that secondary layer in all the performances, all of the time. " Full Review

85
Off Off Online

"Drably titled but fascinating new kitchen-sink drama...Director Jay Stull keeps tension in the action and yet lets the strands of Schwend’s drama play out, sometimes just a bit sluggishly, and at others in a pleasantly leisurely way...His cast is superb." Full Review

40
Manhattan With a Twist

"The ingredients for this to be an impressive production were there, but once the show started going I realized that they weren’t used to their full potential. Besides the acting, the script betrayed its own story way too often…While the relationships are smartly written, the plot has some holes that could not be ignored…The play is not for me, but it could be for someone else." Full Review

75
Show Showdown

"In her quietly vivid play, Schwend shows us the straight jacket that is working poverty…There's not a lot that is new here, and some of the scenes sound altogether too familiar. But Schwend cares about her characters, and over time, we do too. Toward the end of the play, there are a few scenes that raise 'Utility' to a higher level." Full Review

40
Fuck Yeah Great Plays

"Shwend’s play plants the beginnings of many issues that never seem to come to a head...Annie Baker-esque silences dot the show, but without the pressure of conflict, it’s hard to experience them as anything other than waiting for one of the characters to speak. The actors are charming and do their best to overcome the sleepiness of the script." Full Review

85
Theater Pizzazz

"The deep-down truthfulness of the behavior comes from the slow careful way playwright Schwend builds the relationships and the action…So much desire and missed opportunity is expressed in awkward, slow fits and starts that the beauty of this play explodes quietly...The actors perform as a graceful ensemble…'Utility' is a very satisfying experience, and unfolds like a bittersweet secret." Full Review

90
The Knockturnal

"A play worth seeing!...Some might consider this play a little slow and not as dramatic because of the pace. However, if you are able to empathize with these characters, Amber in particular, you will really understand how deep these characters go. And with that being said, these actors do a phenomenal job of taking these roles and making them feel very real and very sincere. It was so good that sometimes we forgot that we were watching a play. " Full Review

85
Stage Buddy

"The script is beautifully written by Emily Schwend…The power of 'Utility' is in its authenticity, which is aided by subtle details...There was no lesson to be learned from Amber’s hard work and there was no light at the end of her tunnel. Watching it was like watching life as it often is--a lot of hard work with a fleeting minute or two to sit and reclaim yourself." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
70
Avg Score

91
Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Great writing, Great staging

See it if everything about this is great. The ammorlists always do a good job. they have only ever done one below average show.

Don't see it if there is no reason not to see this other than it closed and you can't see it. Look out for anything the ammorlists do.

79
Great acting, Slow

See it if You like family drama's or a fan of great acting

Don't see it if if you don't like living room (in this case) kitchen dramas.

45
Overrated, Slow, Would be so much better if it ran 70 minutes instead of 100 minutes.

See it if you want to see the work of the great Melissa Hurst.

Don't see it if you don't admire plays that are directed at a snail's pace.

76
Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you want to a good production , well acted

Don't see it if You need to view fast paced plots

36
Clever, Enchanting, Confusing, Entertaining

See it if you have nothing better to do

Don't see it if stay home