China Doll BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Sara Krulwich
  • NY TIMES

  • DEADLINE

  • VARIETY

  • VULTURE

  • TIME OUT

Opening Night:
December 4, 2015
Closing:
January 31, 2016

Theater: Gerald Schoenfeld / 236 West 45th Street, New York, NY,

Synopsis: 

"China Doll" is a play about a wealthy man, his young fiancé, and an airplane. The man has just bought a new plane as a wedding present for the girl. He intends to go into semiretirement, and enjoy himself. He's in the process of leaving his office, and is giving last minute instructions to his young assistant. He takes one last phone call...The characters are Mickey Ross, a billionaire; Carson, the assistant, and a telephone.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF China Doll

    In David Mamet’s ‘China Doll,’ Al Pacino as an Urban Warrior in Winter

    Ben Brantley

    December 4, 2015: No matter what his salary is, it seems safe to say that Christopher Denham is the most underpaid actor on Broadway. Mr. Denham — a young man with, I sincerely hope, a very resilient nervous system — is one of a cast of two in “China Doll,” the saggy new play by David Mamet that was finally opened to critics on Wednesday night at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater, and he is onstage for almost the entire show. So is — pause for ominous silence — Al Pacino. Now please cue sound effects of chalk scratching on countless blackboards and the ping, ping, ping of an endlessly dripping faucet, and you have some idea of what Mr. Denham must be going through night after night after night. Of the plays opening on Broadway this fall, none have had a more fraught back story than “China Doll,” though it was always guaranteed to be a commercial slam dunk. Mr. Mamet is one of the few living American playwrights whose names have sexy marquee appeal. As for Mr. Pacino, he’s one of the last of a breed of scenery-munching titans who came of age in the 1970s, sons of Brando who turned Method into irresistible madness both on screen and onstage.

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  • DEADLINE REVIEW OF China Doll

    Al Pacino Pilots A Nonstop To Nowhere In David Mamet’s ‘China Doll’

    Jeremy Gerard

    December 4, 2015: Mickey Ross, the graying mogul played by Al Pacino in David Mamet’s cockamamie new play "China Doll," has a scheme to fly off into the sunset with his gorgeous young girlfriend. To that end, he’s just made the down payment on a $60-million Swiss jet, which is waiting on the tarmac in Toronto, where he’s stashed the GF while he sews up some loose ends at home in the States before joining her and heading to London. The loose ends get in the way. End of story, though not, sad to say, of China Doll. No, that end is a very long two hours off. The time is not totally wasted, because some of the greatness of Pacino missing in recent performances has returned with a vengeance. Set in Mickey’s apartment (a rare disaster from designer Derek McLane that bears a closer resemblance to the main floor of a corporate headquarters than anywhere a human would actually live), China Doll is virtually a monologue, possibly with more lines than Richard III, a favorite role of Pacino’s.

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  • VARIETY REVIEW OF China Doll

    Al Pacino in David Mamet’s ‘China Doll’

    Marilyn Stasio

    December 3, 2015: Come back, come back, wherever you are, David Mamet. All is forgiven (even “Race”) if you will just quit jerking us around on non-plays like “China Doll” and get a grip. There’s material for maybe a one-act in this overblown character study of a power broker whose sins are about to catch up with him. But even with Al Pacino putting him through his emotional paces, this tarnished titan is going through hell in a vacuum, with no one to play off but unheard voices on the other end of the telephone. Mickey Ross, the obscenely rich and powerful magnate played by Pacino, looks like a penned animal prowling the glass cage of his apartment office. (The sleek modern design is by Derek McLane, the tasteful lighting by Russell H. Champa, and the star’s killer suit by Jess Goldstein.)

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  • VULTURE REVIEW OF China Doll

    Pacino As a Stressed-Out Billionaire in David Mamet’s China Doll

    Jesse Green

    December 3, 2015: Al Pacino is not an actor of much breadth but he stakes a narrow territory deeply, and that can be brilliant to watch onstage. "China Doll," his shaky new Broadway vehicle, by David Mamet, offers flashes of that brilliance between long mucky passages in which he appears to be hunting for the narrative, if not the next line. (He’s 76, and Mamet has given him what amounts to a 10,000-word speech; you try it.) The familiar Pacino mannerisms are all in place — the constant pa-pow! choreography of the hands, the hangdog moues, the sudden mid-phrase changes in volume. But this is no Serpico or Sonny Wortzik, fighting the man; Mickey Ross is more at the Roy Cohn end of Pacino’s spectrum. He is the man. In fact, he’s a billionaire who lacks nothing, not even a beautiful young quasi-fiancée, bought and paid for: “I saved the receipt,” he teases her. Alas for him, and for us, that quasi-fiancée, Francine Pierson, who may be the porcelain plaything of the title, is merely on the phone, not in the stupendous stratospheric apartment (courtesy of set designer Derek McLane) where the play takes place. No, Francine is stuck in Toronto, in a hotel, under an assumed name, and therein lies Mickey’s problem, or what passes for one.

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  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF China Doll

    China Doll Theater review

    David Cote

    December 3, 2015: Like most people these days, I go to the theater so I don’t have to see or think about Donald Trump. Yet here’s Al Pacino, with goofy hair and a monstrous ego, spewing two hours of bullshit as pugnacious, self-righteous moneybags Mickey Ross. His is not just any B.S., however: David Mamet has scripted this dramatically desiccated pencil sketch, in which Ross sweet-talks, wheedles and vituperates his fiancée, lawyer and political enemies, via Bluetooth. Have you ever had the desire to watch Pacino at home, arguing all morning with AppleCare Plus? You are in luck.

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