In his review in The New York Times, Ben Brantley wrote, "Is there a Croix de Guerre for actors? If so, it should be pinned immediately on Sigourney Weaver, who is performing breath-stopping deeds of bravery at the Cort Theater, where Christopher Durang's unfortunate "Sex and Longing" opened Thursday night.
Clad only in a satin slip and flimsy robe, Ms. Weaver heroically confronts terrors that her monster-battling character in the "Alien" movie series could never have imagined.
It's one thing to take on repulsive space creatures that tear through people's stomachs. It's another thing altogether, though, to face down a Broadway audience, alone and half-naked, as a woman begging for sex in any form, with no discernible affinity for the role you've been asked to play . . .
What's notably missing is the essential, life-giving connection between humor and fear that usually transports this playwright's work beyond the arena of easy satire. Like Ms. Weaver in the comedy's excruciating first act, he seems peculiarly detached from his material, stirring ingredients together like a tired chef with a well-worn recipe . . .
The evening's real star is Ms. Ivey, who brings a radioactive comic energy to her appealingly loathsome character. In Ms. Ivey's dexterous hands, the tyrannical, child-warping Bridget, who rides over her philosophical contradictions like a steamroller in high gear, comes to suggesta contemporary equivalent to Wilde's Lady Bracknell . . .
Perhaps this messy, mechanical play is the cathartic product of breaking through writer's block. One questions the judiciousness of even producing "Sex and Longing." But if it paves the way for fresher and more fluid works from Durang, it will actually have been worth it. "
In her review for Newsday (Oct. 11), Linda Winer gasped, "There were times in the first act of Christopher Durang's Sex And Longing that I literally had to bite the inside of my mouth and think sad thoughts to keep my laughter from becoming a spectacle at the Cort Theatre. The other two acts, alas, were so bad, I could have wept."
"...The first act is rude -- Durang never has been for the easily affronted -- but also brave and hilarious and articulate with the vintage Durang voice, an original irreverence that makes glee from rage and compassion. The second act is more preachy and obvious, the third's a disaster... There is not enough content here to support three acts, not enough momentum to forgive two intermissions and not enough craft to keep Durang's detractors from falling back on the old criticism...that he draws sketches and absurdist Thurber cartoons instead of plays."
Winer couldn't have been more laudatory about star Sigourney Weaver, however. Of the actress she wrote, "Weaver, whose blithe mastery of pyshical and psychological comedy remains undiscovered by Hollywood, is wonderful as Lulu... She wears satin slips and bedsheets -- beautifully -- for all occasions." Winer was also most complimentary about co-star ("the fabulous") Dana Ivey and the production's design (by John Arnone).
Howard Kissel, in his review for the Daily News (Oct. 11), saw Sex And Longing as an act of friendship - - that is, Sigourney Weaver appearing in this "amateurish" play as a kind gesture to her old Yale friend, Chris Durang.
Kissel went on to write, "A case can be made for producing plays to encourage writers to keep going. An equally good case can be made for urging them to keep something like this in a drawer... Dana Ivey stands out as the busybody reformer, but she cannot relieve the tedium of a skit stretched to three acts."
More reviews will be posted as they come in.