Review Roundup: What Did Critics Think of Jack Thorne's SUNDAY?
Atlantic Theater Company presents the world premiere production of Sunday by Tony Award winner Jack Thorne(Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and directed by Obie Award winner Lee Sunday Evans (Dance Nation).
There is a moment when you want to look ahead to the future, but the past is eating you whole. In Sunday, friends gather for a book group, anxious to prove their intellectual worth, but that anxiety gets the better of any actual discussion as emotional truths come pouring out.
Let's see what the critics had to say...
Michael Dale, BroadwayWorld: In regards to Sunday, Atlantic Theater Company puts on their usual first class production, and director/choreographer Lee Sunday Evans and a fine ensemble cast make admirable efforts, but playwright Jack Thorne, whose current HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD and recent KING KONG are both cases where impressive spectacle overshadows not especially inspired writing, offers a dull script, detached from empathy, that struggles to stand on its own without the benefit of flashy design work.
Ben Brantley, The New York Times: The vitality of youth has been drained altogether from the 20-something friends who assemble in "Sunday," the British playwright JackThorne's new play about a listless New York book club that gathers at the ashen butt end (or is it the blighted beginning?) of the week. The characters in this willfully anemic Atlantic Theater Company production, which opened on Monday night at the Linda Gross Theater in Manhattan, make Chekhov's most stagnant no-hopers feel like Pollyannas on Benzedrine.
Sara Holdren, Vulture: Sunday has a strong, appealing ensemble that goes a long way in keeping us on board, but it lacks staying power. When it's over, it practically evaporates. As a dip into the anxieties of today's twenty-somethings-a generation at once galvanized and paralyzed by coming of age in a particularly terrifying world-it feels more like a collection of character sketches than a fully fleshed out dramatic work.
Robert Hofler, The Wrap: "Sunday" is as small as "King Kong" was big but just as awful. The word awful is used here for both its current definition, meaning "bad," and its original definition, meaning "filled with awe." Indeed, "Sunday" is the kind of play that's so bad it fills you with awe.
Helen Shaw, TimeOut: Sunday is listless and out of joint, full of redundant arguments and, when it wants to make points with crashing clarity, third-person narration. It creates a kind of miasma of anxiety, which-to wax charitable-might be Thorne's way of making us feel the discontents of modern young adulthood. But there's too little assurance for that: The bad pacing and dated conversations merely feel like the products of a play that hasn't found itself.
Alexis Soloski, The Guardian: Maybe Thorne, who is 40, doesn't actually know how younger people speak. Maybe setting a play in America wrongfooted him. Maybe all those years spent working on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and King Kong have severely compromised how unmagical, non-simian creatures think and speak and behave. He doesn't seem to like any of these people, with the possible exception of Marie (Sadie Scott) and her creepy downstairs neighbor (Maurice Jones), and he patronizes them terribly.
Donna Herman, New York Theatre Guide: If only two-thirds of the play was not taken up with the pointless, endless book club scenes that relate to nothing and go nowhere in the scheme of the play, and concentrated on the relationship between Bill and Marie, Mr. Thorne might have himself a play. Instead, we are treated to endless ruminations on toxic masculinity in the Anne Tyler novel "Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant" and others, along with endless vitriol spewed by Milo. Especially towards Marie.
Elysa Gardner, New York Stage Review: Which is why it's disappointing to report that Thorne's new play, Sunday, is something of a mess-a fascinating mess, with great bursts of eloquence and moments that will move you deeply, but ultimately less than the sum of these parts.
Michael Sommers, New York Stage Review: Other than depicting an utterly clueless generation, Sunday offers a rather pointless visit with some unlikeable individuals you'd probably never care to meet. Lee Sunday Evans, the director, obtains solid performances from the actors, who at least give the flat-liner drama some semblance of real life. The omniscient character of Alice points out the "defining moment" of various characters, although how they precisely define these people escapes me. Mostly the show makes me wish I had stayed home with a good book.
Photo Credit: Monique Carboni.