23 critics reviewed the show, resulting in a weighted average of 71.
The New York Times
“You may well find pleasurable pain in the discombobulating stage adaptation…But it will be pain of a different order (possibly involving nausea) from the empathetic kind you experience reading Orwell’s ever-engrossing book…There is an ordering intelligence behind this ostensible muddle...The show’s self-sabotaging ambiguity is meant to make us question every version of reality that’s on offer...That nebulousness is the play’s most ingenious aspect, and also its most irritating.”
"Familiarity tends to work against this honorable but undeniably glum and mostly suspense-less production...The production, while hardly literal-minded...nevertheless feels like a homework assignment from a civics class, replete with a virtual list of study suggestions...In a grim irony, this all makes for the kind of evening that doesn’t so much stimulate thought as shut it down, since the meanings have been so carefully parsed and served up for us."
“While it occasionally feels more like a film than a play and suffers from some strange narrative choices, it still captures the essence of Orwell's message in thrillingly theatrical ways...Icke and MacMillan unveil the exposition in short, often confusing scenes. The inclusion of a book club as a framing device adds to our disorientation. Entire sections are presented via video projected on the set...Despite all of these questionable choices, the resulting play is undeniably riveting."
“1984 (Broadway)” was also reviewed by Steven Suskin of The Huffington Post, Isabella Biedenharn of Entertainment Weekly, Christopher Bonanos of New York Magazine / Vulture, Juliet Hindell of Exeunt Magazine, Michael Portantiere of Talkin' Broadway, Thom Geier of The Wrap, Peter Marks of The Washington Post, Doug Marino of Act Three - The Reviews, Nicole Serratore of The Stage (UK), Roma Torre of NY1, Brian Scott Lipton of CitiTour, Robert Kahn of WNBC, Jeremy Gerard of Deadline, David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter, Joe Dziemianowicz of New York Daily News, Matt Windman of AM New York, Adam Feldman of Time Out New York, Marilyn Stasio of Variety, Elisabeth Vincentelli of Newsday, and Jason Zinoman of Bloomberg.
The show was also reviewed by 220 Show-Score members, whose collective ShowScore is a weighted average of 74.
Top five adjectives describing the show:
Intense, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Ambitious, Absorbing
See it if…"You want something politically relevant that offers a refreshing, edgy take on a classic book."
Don't see it if…"You're easily frightened by incredibly realistic violence and gore. This is NOT your high school summer reading assignment's '1984.'"
See it if…"You enjoy intense thrillers with great use of sound and special effects."
Don't see it if…"You don't like loud noises or violence. There is an abundance of both."
See it if…"You want an interesting interpretation of this classic. Tom Sturridge is excellent. First half is rather slow but it definitely picks up."
Don't see it if…"Strobes, violence, torture and blood disturb you."
See the Show Page with all critic and member reviews.
Note: The ShowScore displayed above is current as of right now, and may be different from the ShowScore when the article was published.