Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake).

Lily Holeman in “Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake)” at Moving Arts Theatre. (photo credit unknown)


“This whimsically eloquent view of a widow, her daughter and their anthropomorphic apartment, all bereft and bonkers, is a potent example of postmodern narrative invention… Ionesco never blended absurdity, terror and sentiment more strikingly… [a] sweetly audacious parable… Callaghan’s breakthrough work.” -Los Angeles Times (Critic’s Pick)

“[A] gothic comedy which balances wit and kitsch with scars and wounds, while wielding a preteen’s sense of morbidity and drama to strike some chilling blows.” -LA Weekly (Recommended)

“Soon-to-be classic… whatever you do, don’t miss it… amazing…” -Entertainment Today

“The idiomatic fusion of gravitas and whimsy that distinguishes playwright Sheila Callaghan’s oeuvre crystallized in her breakthrough play about the extremes to which grief can drive the bereaved… It’s a singularly original, deceptively oddball property…. a striking, uniquely affecting work.” -Backstage West

“Here’s Sheila Callaghan at her best in this delightfully warped one-act… [an] important and unstoppable new writer.” -Reviewplays

“Sheila Callaghan’s breakout play… very twisted, very funny…” -LA Downtown News (from the ‘Don’t Miss List’)

“Crafty, eccentric, spikily poetic… a compellingly steely comic riff on pain… Callaghan’s story tells of a world of fluke accidents and terrible scarrings, where kinship dynamics are about as reliable as nitroglycerine.” – The Washington Post

“Small, dark, and gratifyingly odd.” – Washington City Paper

“Crumble is a beautifully written play that manages to walk that fine line between the experimental and the accessible. Sad without seeking pity, funny without pandering, Callaghan’s is a refreshing talent.” – MetroWeekly

“[Crumble] draws an astute and affecting portrait of two sisters; the preteen daughter/niece whose mercurial moods and needs whet their differences; and the ways in which inanimate objects can serve as a silent sounding board for their, and by extension, our unarticulated fears and desires, and as a springboard to help us identify and at last, deal with them.” -DC Theatre Scene

“This tiny morsel of a play allows the dialogue to sing rather than be stuffed.” – Potomac Stages

“An unexpected jolt of good theater… Without resorting to sap, [Callaghan] conjures real emotional pathos… a dark, screwed-up version of Judy Blume.” -New City Chicago (Tip of the Week, Top 5 of ’05)

“Moments of nail-biting anguish… weirdly satisfying… Callaghan’s writing is studded with startling descriptive passages.” -Chicago Tribune (Top 10 “fringe” shows of ’05)

“[Callaghan] understands that theater is the ideal place in which to explore nonrealistic notions… original… intriguing… as off-kilter as the playwright’s imagination.” -Chicago Sun Times (Recommended)

“Feverishly ambitious… undeniable heart…” -TimeOut Chicago

“Heightened language and acid humor…. if of the ‘I must laugh or I shall never stop screaming’ variety…” -East Bay Express

“An unflinching look at the power of grief… rooted, real and recognizable in its depiction of adolescent angst and awakening.” -Inside Bay Area

“This is an amazing script, one I want to get my hands on and read again and again. It’s touching, bittersweet, brutally honest at times, and freakishly surreal at others… This is not a fluffy show, nor is it depressing. It is thought provoking.” -East Bay Voice

“Sheila Callaghan’s allegorical Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake) demonstrates the power of… dark humor… Crumble is worth seeing.” -Broad Street Review

Crumble is about the way we react to grief… it focuses on that erosion [and] it can be emotionally provoking.” -Austin Chronicle

Crumble is so immersive that it’s often easy to forget that you’re watching a play at all – an unusual (and magical) experience…don’t miss the chance to catch this genuinely thought-provoking show… ” -The Austinist

“Written by Sheila Callaghan, a playwright known for her poetic language and an unconventional approach to narrative… [Crumble] is no cheap horror story or bizarre experimental piece; it’s a darkly comedic play about survival and how to cope with the wreckage of catastrophe.”

“A wacky and surreal work, [an] engaging play that confounds expectations and… is certainly worthy of your attention, particularly if you like things that are quirky and offbeat…funny and surprisingly moving… ” -St. Louis Broadway World

Crumble “kick[s] reality to the corner… characters [have] a chance to go to extremes that, though absurd in real life, make genuine emotional sense…[and] offer[s] theatergoers a chance to step out of the mainstream.” -St. Louis Today

Crumble “instills a buoyant sense of Chekhovian storytelling to a tale that is…constantly compelling… in 70 painful, yet absorbing minutes” -Riverfront Times

Crumble “is just what the script doctor ordered…there are so many shows to see right now that’s it’s hard to choose among them, but I think Crumble should be at the top of any theatre lover’s list.” -The Vital Voice

Crumble is a deeply felt, thrillingly theatrical play… Callaghan’s evocative dialogue–with a quietly mesmerizing…elegiac tone… is not to be missed.” -Baltimore Broadway World

“New York playwright Sheila Callaghan’s Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake) squarely hits… a delicate balance of madcap comedy and nearly unbearable psychological damage… Tragic comedy gold… It invites–and gets–you to laugh at childhood traumas and somehow makes you empathize with an apartment…a subversively entertaining experience.” -Baltimore City Paper

“There’s a decidedly creepy streak…in Sheila Callaghan’s “Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake),” and that edginess — make that cutting-edginess — is explored effectively in the Baltimore debut of a work by the New York-based Callaghan [who] devises a whole new, weird context for them.”-Baltimore Sun

“There is nothing typical about this play… Callaghan astutely weaves the outright fantasy material into what’s otherwise an ordinary family drama scenario… [Crumble has] heartfelt concerns that are no laughing matter by the end.” -Howard County Times

“There’s a decidedly creepy streak…in Sheila Callaghan’s “Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake),” and that edginess — make that cutting-edginess — is explored effectively in the Baltimore debut of a work by the New York-based Callaghan [who] devises a whole new, weird context for them.”-Baltimore Sun

“Widely considered one of America’s finest contemporary playwrights, Callaghan uses an intentionally disorienting framework that blends reality with fantasy, imbuing it all with dark humor…A stunningly original piece… Crumble’s central theme is likely to hold together, regardless of whether Justin Timberlake or Justin Bieber grace today’s magazine covers.” -Minneapolis City Pages

Crumble had the audience “… shivering in reaction to the heartfelt and raw prose… a modern masterpiece…” -Twin Cities Daily Planet

“…This is the most extraordinary show I have seen in a long time. Absurdity spiced with humor accompanied by rich colorful characters cover a slow simmering tragedy that touches your heart and tickles your brain.” -Audience Review,

“This is one of those shows that you will be proud to talk about afterward and that you will be disappointed you missed… If you do just one good thing for yourself this week, make this emotionally fulfilling show your priority…” -Audience Review,

“A perfect script with twists of language that moved from laugh out loud to heartbreaking in a second. Smart, funny, brilliant. One of the best new plays I have ever seen…” -Audience Review,

“Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake) is another example of why I love theatre… [it] will not disappoint…” -Audience Review,

“Go see this show… Big idea, big set, big heart, big impact. The show is funny when it needs to be funny, serious when it needs to be serious… startling script work on many levels…” -Audience Review,

“Very few plays have ever affected me the way that Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake) has… [It] is a powerful play that manages to find some laughs along the way… this script creates lightning… confounding, stimulating, intriguing… every moment crackles… Do yourself a favor and go see [Crumble]- and take your friends.” -John Porter, WCVE 88.9FM

In Sheila Callaghan’s poignantly short dramedy, Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake) at Firehouse Theatre Project… there is a delightful balance of tragedy and comedy.” -Richmond Times-Dispatch