REVIEW ROUNDUP: “Describe the Night” Opened with a ShowScore of 80

Show-Score | Dec 6, 2017
“Describe the Night”, written by Rajiv Joseph and directed by Giovanna Sardelli opened on December  5, 2017 in New York City. “Describe the Night”, written by Rajiv Joseph and directed by Giovanna Sardelli opened on December 5, 2017 in New York City.


13 critics reviewed the show, resulting in a weighted average of 68.

Jesse Green 
The New York Times 
ShowScore: 30 
“A frankly tiresome play...Joseph's comedy wilts rather than blossoms in proximity to his tragedy, and his tragedy droops into bathos. The production, directed by Giovanna Sardelli, is no help...The root problem is that the characters are mere conveniences, bent like pipe cleaners into the shapes required by the overbearing plot. You spend a lot of time wondering if they are real — to history, that is — but none wondering if they are true. All too evidently, and disastrously, they are not.
Zachary Stewart
ShowScore: 85
“The kind of historical revisionism that is thrilling onstage, but deadly in government...Earnest performances are a key ingredient in the magical realism that Joseph and Sardelli impressively sustain for nearly three hours...An arresting production that often makes us feel like we're in a Russian theater...Much more than an engrossing tall tale...It heroically wrestles with the slippery nature of truth itself, and unnervingly demonstrates why its alternatives are so seductive.”
Frank Scheck
The Hollywood Reporter
ShowScore: 55
“No shortage of imagination. But, it lacks the emotional resonance to make us sufficiently care about its characters...The playwright doesn't succeed at blending his wildly different stylistic tones and narrative lurches with sufficient finesse. For every scene that crackles with dramatic tension, there's another that quickly lapses into tedium. The links between the characters and the complicated series of events depicted often prove frustratingly elusive to decipher.

“Describe the Night” was also reviewed by David Hurst of Talkin' Broadway, Sara Holdren of New York Magazine / Vulture, Tim Teeman of Daily Beast, Robert Hofler of The Wrap, Robert Sholiton of Gotham Playgoer, Elyse Sommer of CurtainUp, Joe Dziemianowicz of New York Daily News, Steven Suskin of The Huffington Post, Frank Rizzo of Variety, and Brian Scott Lipton of CitiTour.


The show was also reviewed by 132 Show-Score members, whose collective ShowScore is a weighted average of 81.

Top five adjectives describing the show:
Great acting, Absorbing, Ambitious, Great writing, Intelligent

JamesGevlin, ShowScore: 78
See it if…"You are a history buff, like involved stories, have enjoyed Rajiv Joseph, enjoy puzzles." 
Don't see it if…"You don't like lengthy plays or cannot bear uncertainty."

Albee_Addict, ShowScore: 86 
See it if…"You love a good tale that spans countries and decades, are interested in Russia or questions what is true and what is false.
Don't see it if…"You hate long run times or require a plot that has a linear narrative. If you always jump ahead in a whodunit, this probably is not for you."
JimDM, ShowScore: 97 
See it if… "You love Joseph’s work, plays about Russia, politics, writing, revolution...want to see a flawless cast tackle an epic, amazing new work."
Don't see it if…"You have a problem with constant shifts along a timeline, don’t enjoy historical drama, or want something fun and easy."

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.