Review Roundup: What Did Critics Think of LONG LOST
Long Lost celebrated opening night on Tuesday, June 4 at MTC at New York City Center - Stage I (131 W. 55thStreet).
The cast of Long Lost features Kelly AuCoin (Of Good Stock, Julius Caesar, "Billions"), Annie Parisse (Clybourne Park,"Friends from College," "Person of Interest"), Lee Tergesen (Rapture, Blister, Burn; "Oz;" "Generation Kill"), and Alex Wolff(Hereditary, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Patriots Day).
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of such works as Time Stands Still and Dinner with Friends returns to MTC with a funny, unsettling, ultimately moving play about the limits of compassion and filial obligation. When troubled Billy appears out-of-the-blue in his estranged brother David's Wall Street office, he soon tries to re-insert himself into the comfortable life David has built with his philanthropist wife and college-age son. What does Billy really want? Can he be trusted? And how much can family bonds smooth over past rifts? Tony winner Daniel Sullivan (Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes and Proof at MTC) directs this riveting new work from one of today's greatest observers of modern life, Donald Margulies.
Let's see what the critics had to say...
Ben Brantley, The New York Times: This dispiritingly predictable portrait of incompatible brothers, reunited after many years of estrangement, is truly surprising only in its failure to surprise. That's because Mr. Margulies, whose "Dinner With Friends" won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for drama, often brings a refreshing jolt of the unexpected to portraits of familial dysfunction and midlife malaise.
Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter: Watching the new drama written by Tony-nominated and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Donald Margulies, it's hard not to ask how the author of such nuanced and entertaining plays as Time Stands Still, Dinner With Friends and Sight Unseen could have written such a mechanical, contrived exercise. The only possible explanation is that the writer had been given the assignment of creating an expert parody of a family drama. If that's the case, he's succeeded perfectly with Long Lost, currently receiving its New York City premiere at Manhattan Theatre Club.
Marilyn Stasio, Variety: Credit where credit is due: the characters are well-drawn and well-spoken. But because there's nothing seriously at stake here, their quarrel shapes up as being largely about language itself. How to make words hurt. How to slap someone in the face with a slur. How to draw blood with a cutting insult. Margulies has a great ear, but lacking credible context, language is only pretty talk.
Robert Hofler, The Wrap: Margulies writes like Neil Simon too, only with far fewer jokes. The absolute flatness of Billy's encounters with David in his office and then Jeremy in the family's luxurious Park Avenue apartment is punctuated only by several bombshells, which go off like clockwork every 10 minutes. Rather than ramping up the drama, these revelations about illness, incarceration, infidelities and a double homicide expose the mechanics of the plot.
Michael Sommers, New York Stage Review: While the play is smoothly rendered by experienced hands, there is no reason why this terribly inert drama should be produced at all except that a distinguished artist such as Margulies wrote it. Too bad that the playwright did not have the insight to shelve it and save everybody a lot of wasted effort.
Steven Suskin, New York Stage Review: If there are problems with the writing, AuCoin, Wolff, Parisse, and Tergesen each make a good case for their characters. Manhattan Theatre Club, loyal producer of at least eight plays by Margulies, has provided a typically expert production under the direction of Daniel Sullivan (of Proof and several Margulies plays).
Joe Dziemianowicz, Theater News Online: Unlike The Model Apartment, an unsettling play about a haunted family by Margulies, Long Lost surprises because it is so unsurprising. Yes, there are revelations (no spoilers), including one you see coming from the opening seconds, and another you don't. Even so, there's not a lick of tension, which makes the between-scene music sound all the more pulpy. The modestly interesting takeaways are reminders of the delicate balance of relationships and that families can have more than one black sheep.
Diane Snyder, Time Out New York: Few playwrights depict domestic tension with the subtlety and insight of Donald Margulies. In Long Lost, two very different middle-aged brothers reunite for the first time in 10 years, still feeling the aftershocks of a devastating loss. In a quietly explosive 90 minutes, the play explores the difficulty of letting go of the past, and how seemingly small cracks in relationships can lead to foundation-shattering destruction.
Photo Credit Joan Marcus