Review Roundup: Audible Theater's SWING STATE Opens Off-Broadway

The New York premiere is running for a seven-week limited engagement.

By: Sep. 18, 2023
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Review Roundup: Audible Theater's SWING STATE Opens Off-Broadway
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Audible Theater’s New York premiere of The Goodman Theatre production of Swing State, written by Pulitzer Prize finalist Rebecca Gilman (The Glory of Living, Spinning Into Butter, Boy Gets Girl) and directed by Tony Award winner Robert Falls (Death of a Salesman), officially opened on September 17 at Audible’s Minetta Lane Theatre (18 Minetta Lane, between MacDougal & 6th Avenue – one block south of W. 3rd Street), Audible’s creative home for live performances in New York. Swing State will also be recorded and released on Audible at a later date, extending its reach to millions of listeners around the world. Read the reviews here!

Review Roundup: Audible Theater's SWING STATE Opens Off-Broadway Jesse Green, The New York Times: In the play overall, though, you do. And until a thrillingly staged climax that moves unusually fast, you usually foresee the corners with plenty of room to prepare. The result is a play that seems becalmed on its surface despite the powerful emotions underneath — not just the characters’ emotions but the author’s.

Review Roundup: Audible Theater's SWING STATE Opens Off-Broadway Charles Isherwood, The Wall Street Journal: As Ryan, Mr. Weiler gives a similarly nuanced performance. The jittery young man remains traumatized from his time in prison, and is prone to panic attacks. But Mr. Weiler also underscores how deeply grateful Ryan is to Peg underneath his truculent exterior, and how the sudden death of Jim has left a hole in his heart, too. In the role of Dani, Ms. Thompson, looking like a slightly awkward, overgrown girl, brings some leavening humor to the play when she proves to be an unusually sensitive “good cop,” despite being new to the force. And while she has the least complex role, Ms. Fitzgerald fills out the sometimes harsh contours of Sheriff Kris forcefully.

Review Roundup: Audible Theater's SWING STATE Opens Off-Broadway Frank Scheck, New York Stage Review: Veteran director Robert Falls has staged the piece with his usual impeccable professionalism, with Todd Rosenthal’s homey set design and Evelyn Danner’s on-the-nose costuming providing heartland verisimilitude. But the top-notch production is not enough to compensate for the fact that Swing State — even the title feels overly calculated — feels like a sociology paper in search of a play.

Review Roundup: Audible Theater's SWING STATE Opens Off-Broadway David Cote, Observer: One caveat I have is the final scene, a de rigueur resolution after a punishing climax which borders on pat. Tragedies can end at an unbearable apex of sorrow or offer a healing postscript. In his pre-pandemic shocker Greater Clements, Samuel D. Hunter went with the former. Sweat (2015), by Lynn Nottage, ended in grimness but with a glimmer of shared humanity. Gilman comes down solidly for forgiveness and closure (there’s even a joke related to cremains and seeds). I didn’t entirely buy it tonally (despite tender performances) and it left a bland aftertaste, but I will admit: if the choice is between giving up or going on, we should arc toward hope.

Review Roundup: Audible Theater's SWING STATE Opens Off-Broadway Juan A. Ramirez, Theatrely: Through her deft cross-pollination of tragedy, character study, and old-fashioned drama, what emerges is a moving portrait of quiet lives made to growl loudly into an abyss encroaching from all sides, and a call for remembrance of the comfort we might find in one another.

Review Roundup: Audible Theater's SWING STATE Opens Off-Broadway Allison Considine, New York Theatre Guide: Gilman’s drama takes audiences on a wayward chase through the pits and peaks of humanity to find the culprit. Like the dwindling prairie land, of which there is only four percent remaining in the U.S., the characters in the play must learn to fight the droughts and fires of life in order to regrow and survive.

Review Roundup: Audible Theater's SWING STATE Opens Off-Broadway
Average Rating: 70.0%


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