Review Roundup: JONAH Opens at Roundabout Theatre Company; What Did the Critics Think?

Jonah opened on Februray 1 at the Laura Pels Theatre in the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre.

By: Feb. 02, 2024
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Review Roundup: JONAH Opens at Roundabout Theatre Company; What Did the Critics Think?
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Roundabout Theatre Company is presenting the world premiere of Jonah by Rachel Bonds, directed by Danya Taymor, which opened on February 1. Read the reviews for Jonah below!

Jonah began preview performances on Thursday, January 11, 2024, and opened officially on Thursday, February 1, 2024, at the Laura Pels Theatre in the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre (111 West 46th Street). This is a limited engagement through Sunday, March 10, 2024.

The cast of Jonah includes: Gabby Beans as “Ana,” Hagan Oliveras as “Jonah,” Samuel Henry Levine as “Danny,” and John Zdrojeski as “Steven.”
 
 
Ana is away at school, far from home and deeply alone. When she meets Jonah, everything she's longed for begins falling into place—except that Jonah is not all he seems. What begins as an exploration of thrilling desire shifts into more complex negotiations of intimacy and survival, as Ana is haunted by her past, present, and future. This heart-racing coming-of-age story from Rachel Bonds will keep you guessing until its final twisting moments. Danya Taymor directs.

Review Roundup: JONAH Opens at Roundabout Theatre Company; What Did the Critics Think? Laura Collins-Hughes, The New York Times: All of that can leave a theatergoer in a state of wariness — which, it turns out, is a great way to watch this play: trusting nothing, unsure where reality lies, guard firmly raised against any kind of charm. Mind you, “Jonah” will charm you anyway, and make you laugh. So will Jonah, the adorable day student (or is he?) whom Ana, our teenage heroine, meets at her boarding school (or does she?). Who and what is illusory here?

Review Roundup: JONAH Opens at Roundabout Theatre Company; What Did the Critics Think? Adam Feldman, TimeOut: Bonds interweaves Ana’s three narratives skillfully, letting the audience piece together what’s happening (and what has happened) as Jonah jumps from one to another, exploring themes of desire, vulnerability and trauma. That’s a big part of what keeps us engaged, so it’s a slight disappointment when the play’s denouement tips into overexplanation. But director Danya Taymor, in her visually spare world-premiere production at the Roundabout, elicits compelling performances from all four actors. The men are believably devoted in very different registers, and Beans—who earned a Tony nomination for her biting Sabina in The Skin of Our Teeth—delivers another charismatic and varied star turn. Even when the play is just okay, she shines.

Review Roundup: JONAH Opens at Roundabout Theatre Company; What Did the Critics Think? Charles Isherwood, The Wall Street Journal: While on the level of character depiction “Jonah” holds our attention, its episodic nature, stretches of mundane dialogue and the disjointed narrative lead to a certain frustration: Where we are in Ana’s life is impossible to pin down, and the jumpy story is more confusing than illuminating.

Review Roundup: JONAH Opens at Roundabout Theatre Company; What Did the Critics Think? Robert Hofler, The Wrap: ®In other words, watching “Jonah” is oft ...

Review Roundup: JONAH Opens at Roundabout Theatre Company; What Did the Critics Think? Sandy MacDonald, New York Stage Review: Bonds crafts a denouement as genuine and original as it is moving. Her focus – within an intentionally smudged time frame – is boundaries, those breached and those willingly erased. She brings a fresh perspective to often overworked dramatic themes (sexual assault, domestic abuse) and adroitly mixes in contemporary concerns. Relationships now come pre-set with clearer rules: Participants are required to seek permission and keep asking, to a sometimes silly but reassuring degree.

Review Roundup: JONAH Opens at Roundabout Theatre Company; What Did the Critics Think? Joe Dziemianowicz, New York Theatre Guide: But in this 100-minute presentation from Roundabout Theatre Company, characters may be more imaginary than they look. So buckle up – and pay attention. You’ll do that anyway, since director Danya Taymor’s fine-tuned cast will keep you glued.

Review Roundup: JONAH Opens at Roundabout Theatre Company; What Did the Critics Think? Juan A. Ramirez, Theatrely: Gabby Beans stays onstage throughout Jonah, a well-composed new play by Rachel Bonds, that tracks the development of her character’s imagination and reality from high school through sometime in her 30s. An actor of great magnetism, her skills are called upon to portray Ana, who we meet as an imaginative teen tiptoeing into a situationship with the adorable Jonah (Hagan Oliveras), a day student at the preppy boarding school they attend.

Review Roundup: JONAH Opens at Roundabout Theatre Company; What Did the Critics Think?
Average Rating: 75.7%


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