The Velocity of Autumn BROADWAY REVIEWS

  • VelocitySM
  • NY TIMES

  • EW

  • HR

  • TIME OUT

  • AP

Opening Night:
April 21, 2014
Closing:
May 4, 2014

Theater: Booth Theatre / 222 West 45th Street, New York, NY, 10036

Synopsis: 

The Velocity of Autumn swirls around Alexandra, a 79-year-old artist in a showdown with her family over where she’ll spend her remaining years. In Alexandra’s corner are her wit, her volcanic passion and the fact that she’s barricaded herself in her Brooklyn brownstone with enough Molotov cocktails to take out the block. But her children have their own secret weapon: estranged son Chris who returns after 20 years, crawls through Alexandra’s second floor window, and becomes the family’s unlikely mediator. No sooner are the words “Hi, Mom” uttered than the emotional bombs start detonating.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF The Velocity of Autumn

    Talking Mom Out of Bombing the Brownstone | Estelle Parsons, With Explosives, in ‘Velocity of Autumn’

    Charles Isherwood

    April 21, 2014: Estelle Parsons, the great actor who stars as an embattled but indomitable Brooklyn painter in The Velocity of Autumn, a new play by Eric Coble, seems to be living an eternal springtime. Now 86, Ms. Parsons has lost little, if any, of her energy, and absolutely none of her ability to bring sustained, animated life to a well-drawn character. She never leaves the stage during this 90-minute, two-character play, which opened on Monday night at the Booth Theater, and yet she seems daisy-fresh at the curtain call, as if ready to run a half-marathon as an encore. In her determination to continue living her life on her own terms, Ms. Parsons has much in common with Alexandra, the woman she portrays in Mr. Coble’s wispy but amiable comedy-drama about the ravages of getting older, directed by Molly Smith, the artistic director of the Arena Stage in Washington, where this production was first seen.

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  • ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY REVIEW OF The Velocity of Autumn

    Stage Review The Velocity of Autumn

    Stephan Lee

    April 21, 2014: The giant flame-colored tree looming over the set of The Velocity of Autumn stands as a rather on-the-nose but beautiful metaphor for our central character's current state. Like the tree's leaves, Alexandra (Estelle Parsons) is nearing the end of her life but insisting on going out in one final burst of vibrancy. In fact, at the beginning of Eric Coble's two-person play, she's in danger of going up in flames—quite literally. When Alexandra's son Christopher (Stephen Spinella) climbs up the tree and through the window of his 79-year-old mother's Brooklyn apartment, he finds her armed with a lighter and a bottle of flammable liquid, threatening to blow up the whole building if he doesn't get the hell out.

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  • HOLLYWOOD REPORTER REVIEW OF The Velocity of Autumn

    The Velocity of Autumn: Theater Review

    Frank Scheck

    April 21, 2014: At 86, Estelle Parsons is almost too sprightly and vigorous to fully convey the indignities of aging in The Velocity of Autumn, Eric Coble's two-hander play now receiving its Broadway premiere after a previous engagement at Washington, D.C.'s Arena Stage. Playing Alexandra, a 79-year-old woman armed with dozens of homemade Molotov cocktails who has barricaded herself in her well-appointed Brooklyn brownstone rather than accede to her children's desire for her to move into a nursing home, the Oscar-winning actress delivers a memorable turn in an otherwise forgettable, schematic play. Appearing opposite her is the estimable, two-time Tony Award winner Stephen Spinella as Chris, Alexandra's long-estranged gay son, who is forced to climb a tree and enter through a window in order to talk some sense into her.

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  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF The Velocity of Autumn

    The Velocity of Autumn: Theater review by David Cote

    David Cote

    April 21, 2014: In case its telegraph title didn’t clue you in, The Velocity of Autumn is about aging. As 79-year-old Park Slope resident Alexandra (Parsons) repeatedly moans, the sunset years are no picnic: Your mind goes, your body crumbles, and everyone leaves. Ironically, the dominant sensation produced by Eric Coble’s anemic two-hander is also that of growing old. The minutes slip by, you lose feeling in parts of your body and find yourself 90 minutes closer to the grave, with nothing to show for it but a crumpled Playbill.

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  • ASSOCIATED PRESS REVIEW OF The Velocity of Autumn

    Home> Entertainment Review: B'way's 'Velocity of Autumn' Wry, Spirited

    Jennifer Farrar

    April 21, 2014: Not many old people who fear being shipped off to a nursing home fight back with a home arsenal and bomb threats. However, the inimitable Estelle Parsons has gleefully unleashed her inner anarchist with gusto to do just that in the dark comedy Velocity of Autumn, which opened Monday night in a wry, spirited Broadway production at the Booth Theatre. Playwright Eric Coble presents the aging decay of the human mind and body as a necessary process replete with mordantly humorous and empathetic moments. He lightens the potentially depressing subject matter by providing plenty of comedic zingers to both Academy Award-winner Parsons — here powerful and ingratiating — and to her co-star, the equally skilled Stephen Spinella.

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  • AM NEW YORK REVIEW OF The Velocity of Autumn

    'The Velocity of Autumn' has arrived on Broadway

    Matt Windman

    April 21, 2014: Eric Coble’s 90-minute two-character comedy The Velocity of Autumn, which has arrived on Broadway as a star vehicle for 86-year-old Oscar winner Estelle Parsons and two-time Tony winner Stephen Spinella, is the sort of well-meaning but static and underwhelming play that would be better suited for a budget-conscious regional theater.

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