"GANG OF SEVEN"
Neu's talent is that he faces these heady issues with a light touch, a raised eyebrow, and a Puckish wit; few playwrights can carry off such breezy intellectualism. The hour-long piece, directed by longtime collaborator Keith McDermott, is Neu's strongest and tightest play in years. A nearly nonstop feast of logic-bending "façadism," psychobabblish bon mots, and hilariously dry-eyed tangents about smear campaigns and sports-arena bloodlust, it brings existential confusion into tight focus. -- Robert Simonson, Village Voice (read the full review)
Jim Neu... has struck again with “Gang of Seven,” a brief but engaging torrent of intriguing ideas and dizzying wordplay. Largely a conversation among seven archetypes seated onstage, the play raises a heady froth of provocation within its hourlong running time....“Gang of Seven” rewards repeat viewing--once is not enough to savor the abundant verbal pirouettes.... By the end you may not have retained all of the play’s notions, but your brain will be abuzz with them. -- Andy Webster, New York Times (read the full review)
In Jim Neu’s bizarre but intriguing new comedy about focus groups, seven strangers recount, in flurries of jargon-like language, the story of how they came together under the guise of market research, and then pseudo-philosophize at length about belonging, anonymity, and community. But when two of the members are mysteriously struck by a bolt of individualism, things begin to fall apart. Or do they? Neu, who has worked extensively with Robert Wilson in the past, has crafted a deceptively creaky meditation on the contemporary entanglement of reality, identity, and the marketplace. The show itself reflects this entanglement when the play, in a genuinely surprising metatheatrical turn, is revealed to be more than you bargained for. -- Goings On About Town, The New Yorker
If you've ever been in a focus group and marveled at the solemn commitment the group makes to the facilitator and their client, Gang of Seven will be a comic revelation. On the other hand, if you never had the fortune, or misfortune, to focus on a completely inane subject until you absolutely were thrilled or revolted by it, then Jim Neu's writing and Keith McDermott's directing will give you a a warm welcoming wink to the possibilities of focus group as theater and pop psychology. -- Larry Litt, NY Theatre Wire (read the full review)
Language is the eighth character in Jim Neu's new comedy, Gang of Seven. Seemingly banal comments end with unexpected meaning, non-sequitors assume threads of continuity, and meaningless banter delivers insight into an entire nation. Those who can keep up with Neu's verbal gymnastics will be rewarded with an evening of smart, if not altogether wacky, theater. -- Jo Ann Rosen, nytheatre.com (read the full review)