1984 (Broadway)
Closed 1h 41m
1984 (Broadway)
76

1984 (Broadway) NYC Reviews and Tickets

76%
(627 Reviews)
Positive
78%
Mixed
15%
Negative
7%
Members say
Intense, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Edgy, Absorbing

About the Show

This stage adaptation of George Orwell’s classic novel stars Tony winner Reed Birney, Tony nominee Tom Sturridge, and Olivia Wilde in her Broadway debut. Ages 13 and up only.

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Member Reviews (627)

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MJK
677 Reviews | 187 Followers
70
Absorbing, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Sensory-overload

See it if you want to see an inventive, grim staging of Orwell's dystopian novel; you want to see the origins of "fake news" & "alternative facts".

Don't see it if you're unprepared for an assault on your senses in a brutal, loud, bloody, in-your-face production, played more for shock value than empathy

677 Reviews | 152 Followers
80
Ambitious, Dizzying, Edgy, Indulgent, Thought-provoking

See it if you're curious about a stage adaptation, the current political situation upsets you, you fear the coming of Big Brother,

Don't see it if don't like unexpected use of bizarre loud noises and bright light, bloody depictions of bodily harm, overall sense of unease Read more

533 Reviews | 488 Followers
80
Thought-provoking, Confusing, Upsetting, Compelling, Ambitious

See it if you're interested in spending 101 minutes meditating on the definition/malleability of reality.

Don't see it if you'd be disturbed by some pretty graphic violence, or you're looking for some escapist fluff.

563 Reviews | 195 Followers
75
Ambitious, Intense, Great staging, Overrated, Resonant

See it if You done your homework & know what you're going to see. You're OK w/unnerving themes & staging. You're familiar w/the book.

Don't see it if You can't handle stage violence or angst-inducing themes. You want dynamic acting-w/the exception of Reed Birney, the acting's flat. Read more

510 Reviews | 129 Followers
79
Disturbing, Tense, Ambitious, Theatrical, Painfully absorbing

See it if you are looking for an intense experience; you can separate yourself from what you see; you like good story/acting especially from Sturridge

Don't see it if you're squeamish/cannot tolerate mental/physical violence. The play is worth seeing, but it is very unnerving and difficult to watch.

399 Reviews | 202 Followers
75
Relevant, Riveting, Ambitious, Confusing, Dizzying

See it if A fresh take on a classic. Relevant to our time. Good performances. Riveting,

Don't see it if Disjointed. Hard to follow at times. Hard to watch. The strobes were unnecessary and painful. The torture was very graphic. Read more

387 Reviews | 132 Followers
90
Stunning but not to everybody's taste, Intense

See it if you’re open to feeling emotions that aren’t usually elicited in the theater; you know what theatre of cruelty* is

Don't see it if you’re impatient; you see one show a year with your family and don’t want it full of tedium, confusing characterization, dread, & terror Read more

406 Reviews | 62 Followers
79
Absorbing, Profound, Slow, Indulgent, Dizzying

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.

Critic Reviews (54)

The New York Times
June 22nd, 2017

“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.”
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Time Out New York
June 22nd, 2017

“Intense in a way I’ve never seen on Broadway: It’s gut-churning…This gripping show rewards watching, though…As technology becomes more pervasive and ideology more rigid, it is hard not to drawing associations between Orwell’s horror story and the way we live now. But be warned: ‘1984’ is spikier than you might remember from reading it in high school...What makes this antipropaganda broadside so lastingly compelling is how successfully it resists decaying into propaganda itself.”
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New York Magazine / Vulture
June 22nd, 2017

“Though it’s a little off-putting to see perhaps 20 percent of a play mediated on a big TV, it’s a legitimate idea for theater-making, inventively and thoughtfully deployed. What’s weak, astonishingly enough, is the script, at least for the first hour…But then comes the arrest, and the whole thing starts to snap together. The torture scenes are visceral, ghastly, and hair-raisingly vivid...Birney is just about perfect in the role.”
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The Hollywood Reporter
June 22nd, 2017

“While I can imagine this visceral production being chillingly effective in an intimate venue, I found it distancing and unsatisfying in a Broadway house. It's also a massive, bludgeoning downer. The impressive stagecraft constantly overpowers the human element of the drama — the cast's committed performances notwithstanding…There's a heavy-handedness to the storytelling that makes it just as often numbing as unsettling. Which is not to say the adaptation lacks skill or inventiveness."
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Entertainment Weekly
June 22nd, 2017

“‘1984’ doesn’t have the same foreboding effect audiences might expect from a book that’s continually felt eerily prescient for decades. Still, the acting is phenomenal and the wildly innovative production makes for a memorable show…A play doesn’t allow for quite the amount of world-building that can be accomplished in a book, so the full extent of Big Brother’s rule isn’t quite as rich as it is in Orwell’s original work. But the creative team has found new ways to bring the story to life.”
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Variety
June 22nd, 2017

“Tough to take — but worth the cost of losing your lunch…It’s the unnerving sound-and-light show that really gets under your skin and burrows, wormlike, into your brain…Winston comes alive, although Sturridge is so wound up he never really surrenders to sex and love…Orwell’s suggestion that Big Brother doesn’t actually exist — that he is, in fact, all of us — really knocks us out.”
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The Wall Street Journal
June 22nd, 2017

"A multimedia extravaganza...Broadly faithful to the novel, with Orwell’s moral left wholly intact...The continuing applicability of this moral makes it regrettable that '1984' isn’t more theatrically potent than it turns out to be. Some scenes do have tremendous punch...It helps that sound design and lighting are so fine, and two of the performances are equally noteworthy...'1984' would hit home harder were it set not in a sort-of-nowish not-quite-London but in, say, Pyongyang."
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Deadline
June 22nd, 2017

“A frequently harrowing adaptation…The show memorably reinvents one of the most terrifying tales of modern times…It lets Orwell speak for himself, though in a distilled version that must make blatantly visual what the novel takes pains to incite in the consciousness…Sturridge has a jittery, piercing appeal…Wilde has a contained abandon that emphasizes Julia’s revolutionary urges without caricature. Birney proves once again to be a master of emotional concealment that works to expose.”
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