Review Roundup: Mike Birbiglia's THE NEW ONE Comes to Los Angeles - Read the Reviews
Mike Birbiglia's one-man comedy "The New One" opened October 25 at Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre. Following its Drama Desk Award-winning Broadway debut, "The New One" will play the Ahmanson through November 24.
Written by Mike Birbiglia, with additional writing by Jennifer Hope Stein, "The New One" is directed by Seth Barrish ("Sleepwalk with Me") with set design by Beowulf Boritt ("Act One," "Come From Away"), lighting design by Aaron Copp ("Red State Blue State") and sound design by Leon Rothenberg ("The Nance," "The Boys in the Band"). "The New One" is produced by Kevin McCollum, Iris Smith, Triptyk Studios, Chris and Crystal Sacca, Sing Out, Louise! Productions, JAM Theatricals, Ashley DeSimone, Jamie deRoy and Caroline Hirsch and Lucas McMahon.
Let's see what the critics are saying...
Shari Barrett, BroadwayWorld: Now back to THE NEW ONE and how her entrance onto the scene changed everything. Well, perhaps not for Birbiglia as much as his wife since he still had to sleep locked up in his own bed bag and room. And, of course, he traveled quite often taking his shows on the road while his wife remained at home to care for Una. Then in one uproarious moment, be prepared to watch as more baby items than you could possibly imagine drop onto to the stage from above, a physical representation of the inundation Birbiglia experienced as the baby took over his quiet, at-home life. His comical impressions of many of those items left the audience howling with laughter, no doubt bringing up memories from their own lives when THE NEW ONE arrived and took over every inch of the place and brought a relentless invasion of unexpected joy and terror, all shared in a remarkably fast-paced 90 minutes!
Deborah Howell, The Wave: I could go on about how hard we laughed or how many times we turned to each other, mouths-agape with appreciation; or about the instant standing ovation and hearty cheers from the audience when Mike B. delivered his final touching line, but I'd rather use my 5 minutes with you to say: Just go. Have the best night you've had in memory, and walk out of the Ahmanson believing in something again: live storytelling, burnished and brash; delivered with bravery and brilliance.
Keri Tombazian, The Wave: The opening night audience of the New One was primed to laugh. And laugh we did, at every turn. Birbiglia's self-description: "a cross between Matt Damon and Bill O'Reilly," is spot on. He is both attractive and a little frumpy. That is the one line of dialogue that will be referenced in this review. No spoilers here; for each and every word spoken by this one-man wonder is best heard tumbling out of his mouth in his own voice. Perhaps Birbiglia has many unseen marketable skills, but it is unfathomable that any would trump his preternatural skill of telling stories, whether making movies, acting in scripted television or his best, telling them live. He seems born to this art form, as if, like an untethered helium balloon which has no choice but to fly, Mike Birbiglia follows an unavoidable trajectory propelled by an unseen force.