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My Name is Lucy Barton Reviews

MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON Broadway Reviews

CRITICS RATING:
7.56
READERS RATING:
7.56
Rate My Name is Lucy Barton

My Name is Lucy Barton opens tonight, Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (261 West 47th Street).

Four-time Emmy Award winner, two-time Golden Globe Award winner, three-time Academy Award and four-time Tony Award nominee Laura Linney returns to Broadway in a haunting new solo play adapted by Rona Munro from the bestselling novel by Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout.

Linney plays Lucy Barton, a woman who wakes after an operation to find - much to her surprise - her mother at the foot of her bed. They haven't seen each other in years. During their days-long visit, Lucy tries to understand her past, works to come to terms with her family, and begins to find herself as a writer.

Critics' Reviews

9

Laura Linney makes memory mesmerizing in My Name is Lucy Barton: Review

From: Entertainment Weekly | By: Allison Adato | Date: 01/15/2020

That both of these women are portrayed by Laura Linney is the neat trick of Lucy Barton. In an enthralling performance, Linney embodies both memoirist and memory. Did Lucy's mother even show up, or was she a hospital fever dream? She certainly sounds authentic, and has a real effect on Lucy when she jostles the worst of her daughter's past to the surface. The play, a 90-minute one-act, is a monster of a monologue: Realistic in reflecting the ways that recollections can be inconsistent and tangential, but all the more difficult to memorize for being so. Linney's delivery is seamless. (The show's sound cues, intrusive here, suggest music wafting in from another patient's room; neither the actor nor the audience need them.)

For 90 minutes or so, Linney gives a captivating-no, several captivating-performances, telling and living the story of Lucy Barton's life. As present-day Lucy she is closest to the Laura Linney most fans know from hosting Masterpiece or Love Actually: charismatic, smart, self-assured, yet vulnerable. As her mother, she is nasally blunt and distant but loving in her own way. As younger Lucy, at least in the presence of her mother, she is submissive, sad and a little scared.

8

‘Lucy Barton’ Review: Laura Linney Finds Her Perfect Match

From: New York Times | By: Ben Brantley | Date: 01/15/2020

The title character of "My Name Is Lucy Barton," Rona Munro's crystalline stage adaptation of Elizabeth Strout's 2016 novel, is hardly a woman of mystery. On the contrary, as embodied with middle-American forthrightness by a perfectly cast Laura Linney, in the production that opened Wednesday at the Samuel J. Friedman Theater, Lucy may be the most translucent figure now on a New York stage.

Alone on stage for the 90-minute running time of the show, which opened Wednesday at Broadway's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, Linney skillfully segues between the authorial voice of Lucy and the sharp Midwestern twang of her mother without ever veering into caricature. Bob Crowley's simple set design, supplemented by Luke Halls' video projections, helps set the scene for Linney's performance, which maintains a cunning sense of narrative progression even as she digresses far off the beaten path. (The adaptation is by Rona Munro.) Under Richard Eyre's nuanced direction, she maintains full command of the story even as it meanders from Lucy's hospital stay to flashbacks to her hardscrabble, TV-free Illinois upbringing to glimpses at a future success borne of sacrifice and loss.

8

MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON: MATERNAL AFFAIRS

From: New York Stage Review | By: Melissa Rose Bernardo | Date: 01/15/2020

Theirs isn't an I-love-you-to-the-moon-and-back relationship. Theirs is: "Mommy do you love me?" "When your eyes are closed." When things get too serious-when Lucy's doctor tells her she might need surgery-mom high-tails it back to LaGuardia. But Rona Munro's play-and Strout's book-is more about what's not said: what happens when our eyes are closed, what happens when we're thousands of miles (and worlds away) from our family.

8

MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON: HER NAME IS LAURA LINNEY, IN AN ILLUMINATING PERFORMANCE

From: New York Stage Review | By: Steven Suskin | Date: 01/15/2020

Transforming My Name Is Lucy Barton from page to stage in such engrossing manner is quite a feat on the part of the actor, as well as Strout, Munro, and Eyre. Linney gives an astounding performance, circling the truth (whatever that might be) with a supreme ambivalence. The overall effect, on that almost bare platform set within the stage of the Friedman, being that she-the actress and the character-is thoroughly, and nicely, compelling.

We know, or strongly suspect, very early in the play that a happy mother-daughter ending isn't likely, at least not in any traditional dramatic way. What My Name is Lucy Barton does instead - in its writing, in Eyre's tender direction, in Linney's compassionate performance - is provide a setting in which the women can come to some understanding about their relationship and maybe themselves. Their successes and failures will haunt Lucy - and her audience - for a very long time.

The takeaway from Broadway's "My Name is Lucy Barton," the rich and complex new solo play at the Manhattan Theatre Club's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, based on the 2016 novel by Elizabeth Strout and luminously performed by Laura Linney, is that you can move to a world of Starbucks, progressive politics and vegan-friendly journalism - cities where you can't even glimpse the sky from your bedroom window - and yet, eventually, it is as if you never moved at all. Such is the magnetic, lifelong hold exerted by the circumstances of our youth.

8

Review on My Name is Lucy Barton, starring Laura Linney, on Broadway

From: New York Theatre Guide | By: Joe Dziemianowicz | Date: 01/15/2020

The striking special effect in this Manhattan Theatre Club co-presentation with the London Theatre Company at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on Broadway is Linney herself, a Tony nominee for The Crucible, Sight Unseen, Time Stands Still and The Little Foxes. She shines Chrysler bright. She's a master of using stillness, a sidelong glance, an expressive gesture, but her voice stands out most. Lucy speaks with warmth and vigor. Sunshine drains from her mom's voice, whose Midwest ayec-cent is borderline cartoonish. Still, that vocal exaggeration works. It's Lucy's story and she can tell it the way she wants to.

8

Review on My Name is Lucy Barton, starring Laura Linney, on Broadway

From: New York Theatre Guide | By: Joe Dziemianowicz | Date: 01/15/2020

The striking special effect in this Manhattan Theatre Club co-presentation with the London Theatre Company at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on Broadway is Linney herself, a Tony nominee for The Crucible, Sight Unseen, Time Stands Still and The Little Foxes. She shines Chrysler bright. She's a master of using stillness, a sidelong glance, an expressive gesture, but her voice stands out most. Lucy speaks with warmth and vigor. Sunshine drains from her mom's voice, whose Midwest ayec-cent is borderline cartoonish. Still, that vocal exaggeration works. It's Lucy's story and she can tell it the way she wants to.

On paper, the script of My Name is Lucy Barton is merely 36 pages long, and it reads nicely as a short story. Linney's performance is fine, but, as solo pieces go, the assignment doesn't appear especially demanding. New York is famous for being a city where people arrive to disconnect from their upbringing to reinvent themselves, and those who have escaped from a world where they don't fit the norm may find themselves better connected to this play.

7

'My Name Is Lucy Barton': Theater Review

From: Hollywood Reporter | By: David Rooney | Date: 01/15/2020

In her books Olive Kitteridge and Anything is Possible, Elizabeth Strout adopts a complex linked-story structure to explore character and milieu. But her slender, tremendously affecting 2016 novel, My Name is Lucy Barton, is as direct, deceptively straightforward and singularly focused as its title implies. At the same time, it unfolds a wealth of seemingly unrelated mini-narratives, personal insights and half-buried memories to draw the complicated connection of a daughter to her flinty mother, reconciling with the legacy of a miserable childhood. That duality, between the emotional immediacy of the present and the impressionistic filter of the past, is distilled with faithful exactitude in Laura Linney's finely calibrated performance in the title role.

7

‘My Name Is Lucy Barton’: Laura Linney Makes a Little Life Big on Broadway

From: Daily Beast | By: Tim Teeman | Date: 01/15/2020

The award-laden Laura Linney can spin gold from pretty much anything, as proven in projects as diverse as Tales of the City, Ozark, and The Big C. Not just that, she can make that gold intelligible, epic, and also everyday. Her latest Broadway play, My Name is Lucy Barton-opening tonight (to Feb 29, Samuel J. Friedman Theatre)-features a commanding solo performance (by Linney) in service of an underpowered play.

7

Laura Linney shines in Broadway’s blah ‘My Name Is Lucy Barton’

From: New York Post | By: Johnny Oleksinski | Date: 01/15/2020

That's Laura Linney, the venerable actress, who stars in the one-woman play, adapted from Elizabeth Strout's novel, that opened on Broadway Wednesday night. It's a skilled performance that employs the actress's signature move: commanding the stage while remaining genteel and dignified.

6

My Name Is Lucy Barton

From: TimeOut NY | By: Adam Feldman | Date: 01/15/2020

Linney comes most alive when she's inhabiting Lucy's mother, pushing her voice into a nasal Midwestern bark and delivering juicy storytelling monologues. It's when she is narrating the story as Lucy that the play runs into trouble. Writing and reading are solitary events; public performance is not, and the literary qualities of the text, though often lovely, prove an obstacle: The very fine Linney works hard to suggest an interior struggle behind the smooth, polished reticence of the words-at several points, she verges on tears-yet it is hard to shake the sense that Lucy is writing for us, not speaking to us.

Had the novel been converted into a straightforward, multi-actor drama, many would probably have complained that Strout's meditative authorial voice got lost in the process. But in its current form, "My Name is Lucy Barton" is not unlike a glorified, live audio book. Coincidentally or not, it was just announced that an audio version of the play with Linney will soon be released.