Closed 2h 0m
Widowers' Houses
Midtown W
80

Widowers' Houses NYC Reviews and Tickets

80%
(31 Reviews)
Positive
81%
Mixed
13%
Negative
6%
Members say
Great acting, Entertaining, Thought-provoking, Clever, Relevant

About the Show

The Actors Company Theatre presents George Bernard Shaw's debut play about a young man's crisis of conscience when he must choose between his love and his ideals.

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Member Reviews (31)

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78
Great writing, Entertaining, Delightful, Thought-provoking, Quaint

See it if deliciously old-fashioned, yet timely. Fun, funny and thought-provoking. Issues of financial abuse & political corruption are still current.

Don't see it if small set. Some of the financial details are given a bit to fast to be understood thoroughly.

65
Classic, Old fashioned

See it if You like stories from the 1890s or classic plays. The script still holds up and provides some laughs.

Don't see it if You don't like smaller shows, period pieces or older plays. The acting is a bit uneven.

Critic Reviews (14)

March 14th, 2016

"A curiously static production...Shaw intended 'Widowers’ Houses' to highlight the complicity, greed and indifference that allow the upper classes to thrive at the expense of the lower. His third act bogs down in the obscure details of a real estate scheme...The play is a novice effort by a fledgling dramatist, but it isn’t helped by Mr. Staller’s additions to the text, which have none of Shaw’s comic acerbity. I can’t help thinking that the playwright would squirm."
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March 14th, 2016

"George Bernard Shaw had the notion that very little money can be considered truly clean. Director David Staller offers the rare opportunity to study this obsession at its inception—in an adaptation not always to the good. It’s an odd homage that seeks to improve on an acknowledged master...To Staller’s credit, he has turned out a sprightly, enjoyable rendering that comes across as a piquant drawing-room comedy packing some provocative talking points, very much in the spirit of the original."
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March 22nd, 2016

"A refreshingly unpreachy comedy about the evils of capitalism that ought to be as popular as 'Pygmalion'...TACT’s revival, directed by David Staller, is a winner, a small-scale staging that’s as full of Shavian sparkle as the play itself...Mr. Staller has also trimmed and tightened the text in order to keep the pace as brisk as possible, cutting the cast from eight to six and bringing the running time in at a hair under two hours, all to utterly pleasurable effect."
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March 14th, 2016

"There's a reason 'Widowers' Houses' has been seen exactly once on Broadway...the provocative arguments are in place, but the sparkle isn't yet there...If played straight, 'Widowers' Houses' can be made to work, but the current production works much too hard, never really coming to grips with the acrid facts at the play's center...The script is an uneasy mix of romantic comedy, on which Staller puts too much emphasis, and social drama, which here becomes overwrought melodrama."
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March 14th, 2016

"This excellent revival is a fascinating opportunity to observe that the themes and style of writing Shaw would become known for in his later works were there from the beginning...Shaw entwines the plot with comedy and blunt pragmatism...His characters verbosely state their opinions and observations often at length. The result is drawing room comedy with depth. Director David Staller has ingeniously staged this small-scale production."
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March 16th, 2016

"Despite proficiency from the performers and the creative team, and despite its topicality, 'Widowers' Houses' fails to captivate. It may be an important piece in understanding Shaw's career as a dramatist, but the play itself is unlikely to win over audiences thanks to its excessive focus on real estate transactions."
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March 14th, 2016

"I doubt that the script was ever meant to be played as a farce. In many scenes in the production, however—notably, the early ones—farce seems to be Staller’s game...Later scenes are much more subdued—and the characters come off as humans rather than caricatures. Perhaps Staller meant to switch to a more naturalistic mode as the story’s serious themes emerge. But it’s hard to take the characters seriously when they’ve previously behaved so clownishly."
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March 13th, 2016

"Despite it being classed as one of Shaw’s 'romantic comedies,' the laughs are subsumed by Shaw’s anger at the social conditions he attacks. However, there’s considerable energy and sprightliness in Mr. Staller’s adaptation, enough to maintain the semblance of a comic spirit so that the more nefarious aspects of the plot and characters retain their entertaining edge. This production shows it’s not only pleasurable in its own right...but that its relevance has never vanished."
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March 14th, 2016

"The play is just as relevant today as when it was written...David Staller obviously knows and loves this material and it shows. His direction is crisp, entertaining, fleshed out and fresh. He draws the best from his actors and allows them to go to the edge of their characters without falling off the cliff...This is a must see for all who love Shaw and a great introduction to those who don’t."
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March 13th, 2016

"While all of the characterizations are adroitly handled, Monahon's is the most demanding, the most mercurial. She doesn't hold back from depicting any of Blanche's darker inclinations...Shaw followers don't get the opportunity to take in 'Widowers' House' often, but that's not the only reason for racing to this one. An even more incentive for raising a foaming beer stein to it is that it's so well and so forthrightly done. Director Staller's belief in it being presented pays off handsomely."
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March 15th, 2016

"Here the playwright takes on tenement housing and the ruthlessness of businessmen—topics that still sizzle…Under Staller’s direction, the actors do splendidly…Here and there Staller gives a textual boost to Shaw…It’s symptomatic of the care Staller has invested, although the climactic moment seems the director’s own...It’s a more overtly cynical note than in Shaw’s original, but the playwright might still have approved."
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March 14th, 2016

"A fascinating if uneven show. Director David Staller has mounted an impeccable show, aided by Brian Prather’s pristine set, Barbara A. Bell’s accurate costumes and Peter West’s lighting. The unevenness has solely to do with Shaw’s script. It was, after all, his first play. So most of the characters are two-dimensional at best. The Shavian wit is blunted. The humor, such as it is, is forced…As Shaw would like, we walk out of the theater thinking."
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N
March 19th, 2016

"George Bernard Shaw’s first play, given a first-rate performance by The Actors Company Theatre directed by David Staller, establishes the theme of personal morality vs business corruption that would be a signature of his works through the years...Does this play written more than a hundred years ago seem very current? Director Staller makes it seem as if it could happen today."
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March 14th, 2016

"The comedy gripped the attention of the audience while pressing forward with a message about sex, greed and real estate. The spirited rhetoric by a cast of stellar performers with their strong individual presence in period costumes is as relevant today as it was in the Victorian era. Staller puts a spin on this production that keeps the action moving into the still annoying relevant issues that will resonate with you, and at the same time enlighten and entertain."
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