Relatively Speaking on Broadway Reviews

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Relatively Speaking Broadway Reviews

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Average Critics Rating:
3.56 out of 10
Average Reader Rating:
3.25 out of 10

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Each Family, Tortured in Its Own Way - Score: 8
From: New York Times By: Charles Isherwood Publication Date: 10/20/2011

Few family members are spared in this enjoyable if lightweight diversion, loosely assembled around the idea that our nearest and dearest can do us wrong in infinitely inventive ways...These plays are not going to do anything much in the way of reputation burnishing for their three celebrated authors — and certainly none is required — but they are packed with nifty zingers and have been directed by John Turturro with a boisterous flair for socking home the borscht-belt humor.

Coen, May and Allen combine with relative success - Score: 7
From: Associated Press By: Mark Kennedy Publication Date: 10/20/2011

The plays are sometimes poignant, sometimes sad and often hysterical...Squeezing three playwrights into a single show is dangerous business, particularly when they're all tacking the reality of relatives, but only Allen seems to have emerged the stronger for the effort.

'Relatively Speaking' - Score: 7
From: Backstage By: David Sheward Publication Date: 10/20/2011

First the good news: Woody Allen is as funny as ever. His one-act play "Honeymoon Motel," the capper on an evening of three short works collectively titled "Relatively Speaking," has so many laughs packed into its 60-minute running time that audiences had better make sure their health insurance is paid up. They'll need treatment for aching jaws and smarting bellies from laughing so hard. However, the preceding two pieces, Ethan Coen's "Talking Cure" and Elaine May's "George Is Dead," provide mixed results.

Woody Allen’s Co-Ed Obsessions; Gay Brothers - Score: 6
From: Bloomberg News By: Philip Boroff Publication Date: 10/21/2011

Directed by John Turturro, the playlets concern themselves with corrosive family relationships. At a time when light contemporary comedy without songs or British accents is a rarity, they’re something different for Broadway.

'Relatively Speaking' - Score: 5
From: Bergen Record By: Robert Feldberg Publication Date: 10/21/2011

The whole thing is made tolerable only by the wonderful Richard Libertini, who is hilarious as a very confused rabbi. I won't give away the ending, but this being a Woody Allen story, you can probably guess whether it's the old guy or the young one who ultimately gets the girl.

Relatively Speaking - Score: 5
From: Entertainment Weekly By: Clark Collis Publication Date: 10/20/2011

The idea of watching three short comedies written by Woody Allen, Elaine May, and Ethan Coen, respectively sounds more than fine on paper. And there are times during Relatively Speaking when you are reminded that the combined credit list of these big-screen deities of drollness includes Annie Hall, Heaven Can Wait, and Fargo. Alas, there are times when you are reminded that these are also the folks who brought us Whatever Works, the Ladykillers remake, and Ishtar.

A mixed bag on Broadway - Score: 5
From: USA Today By: Elysa Gardner Publication Date: 10/20/2011

This collection of short plays, which opened Thursday at Broadway's Brooks Atkinson Theatre, proves that similar extremes can apply to theater. For these accounts of homegrown neuroses — by veteran wits Elaine May, Ethan Coen and Woody Allen— offer both disarming highs and disappointing lows.

Relatively Speaking - Score: 5
From: Variety By: Marilyn Stasio Publication Date: 10/20/2011

If the three one-act plays performed under the omnibus title "Relatively Speaking" had been written by playwrights named Joe Smith, Jane Doe and Sid Jones, they'd probably still be making their way through the workshop pipeline at some not-for-profit (and not-too-daring) theater in the West Village. But since the scribes happen to be Woody Allen, Elaine May and Ethan Coen, these modestly amusing plays have landed on Broadway in an ungainly production helmed by (pause for one more big name) John Turturro.

'Relatively Speaking' - Score: 3
From: New York Daily News By: Joe Dziemianowicz Publication Date: 10/21/2011

I won't spoil the play's cleverest moment - but it explains why Jerry has no business being with Nina and why various loudmouthed relatives, a eulogy-happy rabbi and an insightful pizza deliveryman pile into the room and raise a ruckus. It's heartening to see Allen use some of his favorite film actors, including Caroline Aaron, who plays Jerry's wife, and Julie Kavner, who is Nina's mother. Old pals, great. Old jokes, and there are plenty of 'em, not so much.

One-acts by Woody, Ethan Coen, Elaine May - Score: 3
From: Newsday By: Linda Winer Publication Date: 10/20/2011

One can kindly describe "Relatively Speaking," the umbrella title for these three minor playlets by major comedy writers, as a theatrical throwback. Unfortunately, throwbacks, if they are to get somewhere, need to have aim, momentum and a sense of direction. For those keeping score, Allen's play has the most jokes. May's has the most heart. And Coen seems the most lost.

Relatively Speaking - Score: 3
From: The Hollywood Reporter By: David Rooney Publication Date: 10/20/2011

Turturro is particularly out of his depth in this entry. Farce needs buoyancy, breathlessness and physical momentum to achieve liftoff. The director merely ushers the ten-member cast onto Santo Loquasto’s crowded set and then doesn’t know what to do with them beyond stand and deliver...Bottom Line: This comedy ménage àtrois is not without laughs, but overall, it’s thin and tired.

Honestly speaking, it's 'Relatively' unfunny - Score: 1
From: New York Post By: Elisabeth Vincentelli Publication Date: 10/20/2011

"Comedies" implies humor, wit and gags, and they’re in short supply in the show, flatly directed by John Turturro. Subpar at best, these efforts -- I use the term loosely, because it looks as if nobody tried very hard -- come nowhere near the authors' best. This is an egregious case of selling your audience short.

"Relatively Speaking" - Score: 1
From: NY1 By: Roma Torre Publication Date: 10/21/2011

For those of you old enough to remember the days when anything written by Woody Allen and Elaine May was a major event, "Relatively Speaking," featuring three one acts by Allen, May and Ethan Coen is little more than a big bloated tease. For the rest of you, if you want to know how this embarrassment made it to Broadway in the first place, stay home and rent some of their old stuff instead.

Relatively Speaking - Score: 1
From: ScheckOnTheater By: Frank Scheck Publication Date: 10/21/2011

Relatively Speaking, the new evening of comic one-acts by Woody Allen, Elaine May and Ethan Coen, has just opened on Broadway, and all I can say is…oy! That this level of writing talent--not to mention an estimable cast of many comedic pros--could produce such a lethargic, laugh-free evening is a mystery and a tremendous disappointment.

Relatively Speaking - Score: 1
From: Time Out New York By: David Cote Publication Date: 10/20/2011

Dear reader, I want you to laugh. And to judge from the horribly stale Relatively Speaking, I want you to laugh more than do Ethan Coen, Elaine May and Woody Allen. Shall I regale you with the tale of getting kicked in the crotch by a potty-mouthed granny, causing me to double over moaning? Or shall I recount, in photorealistic detail, a contretemps between a week-old burrito and my intestines? Maybe I'll just slip on a banana peel and fall on my ass. Such slapstick clichés would generate more guffaws than this tedious three-pack, in which family foibles inspire a trio of famous writers to draft sketches of feeble or nonexistent comic value.

You Hear the One About the Hunchback? - Score: 1
From: Wall Street Journal By: Terry Teachout Publication Date: 10/21/2011

It isn't hard to see why the producers of "Relatively Speaking" thought it would be a smart idea to bring to Broadway a triple bill of one-act comedies by Woody Allen, Ethan Coen and Elaine May...The theory is impeccable, the results disastrous.

'Relatively Speaking' - Score: 1
From: am New York By: Matt Windman Publication Date: 10/20/2011

While it's true that Allen’s one-act is not very good, it is considerably better than the ones written by Ethan Coen and Elaine May that also comprise “Relatively Speaking,” a truly dreadful triple-bill of comedy sketches directed by John Turturro with a pretty strange cast that includes Marlo Thomas and Steve Guttenberg...This is just an old-fashioned, third-rate farce and is hardly worthy of being done on Broadway.

'Relatively Speaking' involves a joyless threesome - Score: 1
From: New Jersey Newsroom By: Michael Sommers Publication Date: 10/19/2011

John Turturro staged the plays. Because the material is so poor it’s impossible to assess his work. Three-time Tony-winning designer Santo Loquasto provides a trio of homely settings. Since each play involves unattractive characters being unpleasant, these environs prove to be relatively appropriate.