Review Round Up: Grand Horizons, Helen Hayes Theater

We round up the reviews for Bess Wohl’s play, which has officially opened on Broadway.

(c) Sara Krulwich/The New York Times.

The New York Times: “But what is it Wohl really intends? She’s too serious a playwright to be trying to game the market — though “Grand Horizons,” with its pace, pedigree and cast of seven, is likely to be performed in regional and amateur theaters for years. Nor do I think it is purely a botch, a mess that got that way by itself. The constraints of its genre are too bizarre not to have been chosen deliberately, just as Wohl deliberately constrained “Small Mouth Sounds” by setting it at a wordless spiritual retreat, and “Make Believe” by using the playacting of children as a medium for dramatizing mistreatment.”

AM New York: *** “Don’t be shocked if “Grand Horizons” soon becomes a favorite among community theaters looking for a new crowd-pleasing comedy in the style of the late Neil Simon.”

Time Out: **** “Grand Horizons is not especially profound, and its women are written more fully than its men. But in Leigh Silverman’s production for Second Stage, the gifted cast—which also includes Maulik Pancholy as Brian’s would-be hookup and Priscilla Lopez as a blowsy neighbor—keeps the energy high.” “Best efforts and a sweet heart notwithstanding, Grand Horizons falls short of its expansive title. The promising Wohl has something of value in her sights, a generosity that wants nothing but the best for her disappointed characters that almost, but only almost, comes into focus in her Broadway debut.”

Broadway World: “In her Broadway debut, playwright Bess Wohl nails the genre beautifully with Grand Horizons, which, with an expert cast perfectly guided by Leigh Silverman’s directorial hand, provides two hours of solid laughs (including some pretty high peaks of riotous guffaws) while quizzically pondering issues of love and marriage.”

The Wrap: ” there are punchlines galore in Wohl’s well-crafted script, where the laughs and the story beats land like clockwork under Leigh Silverman’s nicely paced direction.”

Hollywood Reporter: “That much of this formulaic material nonetheless proves highly amusing is a testament to Wohl’s often genuinely funny writing, the expert comic direction of Leigh Silverman and the ensemble’s terrific performances.”

Variety: “To be sure, the gender divide may be more flexible than in days of yore and the sex jokes may be raunchier. But savvy director Leigh Silverman has mastered the peculiar tone of light comedy that is created out of dark matter and at one time defined the essence of sophisticated Broadway humor.”

Talkin’ Broadway: “All told, Grand Horizons sacrifices what could be a serious examination of an aging couple in a crumbling marriage in order to set up some admittedly funny lines and situations. It also stretches things out unnecessarily by bringing in extraneous or, at least, underdeveloped characters. It makes me wonder if we might be seeing a promo or pilot for a television sitcom in which we might, over time, get to see the play’s central theme explored in greater depth. For now, however, the enterprise is wading in very shallow waters.”

Grand Horizons continues to play at the Helen Hayes Theater until the 1st March.

%d bloggers like this: