REVIEW: Mike Birbiglia’s “The New One” on Broadway
Comedian Mike Birbiglia’s solo show “The New One” is not a play so much as it is a standup comedy act with high production value.
That’s not a criticism, just an answer to the question “what is it?”, because it turns out that “what it is” is a hilarious and heartwarmingly universal portrait of one man’s skeptically reluctant journey to parenthood.
Following a tour and a six-week stint at off-Broadway’s Cherry Lane Theatre last summer, the instantly lovable Mr. Birbiglia brings his winning sense of self-deprecating observational humor to Broadway in a smartly woven evening of comedic storytelling delivered with his unassuming, low-energy stage presence and slurry, whispery speech.
The show, directed by longtime collaborator Seth Barrish, begins on a deceptively bare stage as a meditation on man’s relationship with his couch, a seemingly silly divertissement that packs profound meaning in the end, and then is largely structured around Mr. Birbiglia’s “seven reasons no one should have a child”, each teeming with insight and wit, and, of course, good tangent stories.
I knew nothing going in, and that’s generally a good idea for comedy, so I won’t say much more except that “The New One” is an ideal outing for anyone who’s ever had a child, or been around children or parents, or been a child. So, basically, everyone.
In an era where nearly every comedian’s act is just a Netflix click away from the comfort of your own couch, it is refreshing (dare I say, subversive even) to see one in person. Borrowing from their advertising campaign, and the message on buttons distributed upon exiting the theatre, just “go!”
Bottom Line: Comedian Mike Birbiglia’s solo show “The New One” now on Broadway is a hilarious and heartwarming standup comedy act recounting one man’s skeptically reluctant journey to parenthood. Teeming with insight and wit, and performed by an instantly lovable schlub, this is an ideal show for, well, everyone.
“The New One”
138 West 48th Street
New York, NY 10036
Running Time: “90ish” minutes (no intermission)
Opening Night: November 11, 2018
Final Performance: January 20, 2019