Review Roundup: What Did the Critics Think of LOG CABIN?

Review Roundup: What Did the Critics Think of LOG CABIN?

The world premiere of Log Cabin, a new play by Pulitzer Prize finalist Jordan Harrison, and directed by Tony Award and Obie Award winner Pam MacKinnon, opened last night!

It's a faraway age of hope and inclusivity; in other words, it's 2015. When a tight-knit circle of married gays and lesbians - comfy in the new mainstream - sees themselves through the eyes of their rakish transgender pal (Mr. Harvie), it's clear that the march toward progress is anything but unified. With stinging satire and acute compassion, Jordan Harrison's pointed comedy charts the breakdown of empathy that happens when we think our rights are secure, revealing conservative hearts where you'd least expect.

Let's see what the critics are saying...

Jesse Green, The New York Times: There's something brave and bracing about his putting all his ideas out there, taboo though many of them are. And no one can say Mr. Harrison is highly invested in making his main characters look good. But unlike "Marjorie Prime" and, more recently, "The Amateurs," "Log Cabin" seems shapeless: offering tough medicine, perhaps, but nothing to store it in. It dribbles away.

David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter: Living in a world in which the concept of "normal" keeps shifting is a potentially lively subject, and had Henry been a layered character rather than just a representation of the next threshold in queer rights (the production at least scores points by casting a trans actor), there might have been something here. But the occasional nugget of witty dialogue aside, Log Cabin is contrived and unconvincing.

Tim Teeman, Daily Beast: Log Cabin wants to do good things. It wants to open up conversation and skewer the prejudices and hypocrisies within the LGBT community.

But there is something in the static direction and the mannered-ness of The Acting Company that makes all these questions, all these issues packed tight, not urgent. The couples just don't feel like couples, whether getting along or not getting along. Silly details-like a character claiming to have spotted a partner's infidelity from a window on a dark street happening within a taxi quite a way away sounds as physically impossible as it is utterly implausible-stand out and annoy even more.

Naveen Kumar, Towleroad: Rather than shed insight on the nature of love and identity at the intersections of privilege and marginalization in which the play is set, Harrison further tests the incredulity inspired by the phrase "log cabin" with plot twists that range from absurd to biologically inconceivable. That election night 2016 also figures into the script, but hard politics don't spill over into the rest of the story may be most unbelievable of all. In the end, they still don't seem wide awake to the fact that getting used to progress is the least of our worries.

Jonathan Mandell, DC Theatre Scene: His philosophical musings go down easy thanks to his wit, which is served well under the direction of Pam MacKinnon by a fine cast. It is no surprise that Jesse Tyler Ferguson lands Harrison's jokes; he is portraying a character that at least on the surface recalls Mitchell Pritchett on Modern Family. It's also enticing to see Ian Harvie, who is himself a transgender man, portray Henry - and also, in several clever scenes, Jules and Pam's toddler.

Elysa Gardner, New York Stage Review:

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