See it if you want a unique theatrical experience. Microphones, water bottles & an amazing performer create a perilous trip through the amazon jungle
Don't see it if you lack imagination. The events occur in your mind while you watch Simon McBurney creating the soundscape on a bare stage.
See it if you enjoy listening to podcasts, audiobooks, The Moth Radio Hour & old-time radio dramas; you want to witness effective storytelling.
Don't see it if you have any audiobooks to catch up on & subscribe to enough story-driven podcasts. Don't accept the hype: This is an overpriced radio drama
See it if you are looking for a new theater experience which is fascinating and well produced; audio as main actor; high energy human actor.
Don't see it if you are looking for a story which unfolds in a linear manner with typical dialogue. Audio overload is possible. Read more
See it if you like high tech productions. McBurney is excellent. Play is too long and doesn't go anywhere. I kept waiting for a payoff that never came
Don't see it if you prefer straight forward narrative.Fascinating in terms of sound/light design. I just didn't "feel" anything. Impressive, not moving
See it if You want to see a daring, technically amazing production. The immersive sound design propels the action. Richard Katz (alternate) was great.
Don't see it if You are not open to something different. At times, slow moving,
See it if you're into sound design and effects. The storytelling is interesting but it's not a play.
Don't see it if you want conventional theater. I saw McBurney's alternate, Richard Katz who was fine.
See it if you'd enjoy a gimmick that's interesting for 15 minutes being dragged out for 2 hours. The execution was interesting but the tale too bland.
Don't see it if you don't want to experience the slowest two hours of your life.
See it if you enjoy radio plays or want to catch up with state-of-the-art sound design or crave mystical, philosophical overtones with your theater.
Don't see it if you prefer your stories told in a linear fashion without interruptions from various commentators as well as the playwright's young daughter.
"No production on Broadway has ever thrown the doors of perception open as widely as 'The Encounter,' Simon McBurney’s astonishing one-man show...McBurney sustains the momentum of his story as tensely and enjoyably as if it were a Rudyard Kipling yarn...It may be he who’s running and dancing and leaping and sweating. But by the end of this nonpareil show’s two intermissionless hours, you are as lightheaded, exhausted, baffled and invigorated as if it had been you."
"Closing one’s eyes in the theater can be a sign of boredom. But shutting the peepers at McBurney’s utterly transfixing mind-tickler 'The Encounter' is a valid expression of rapture...McBurney is a wryly engaging performer who can command an audience by sheer force...In this primal, lysergic movie for the brain, McBurney covers a dazzling array of topics...Part mystic thriller, part tricksy aural illusion, 'The Encounter' offers a meeting of ear, mind and soul you will never forget."
"This is thrilling in its way, but as you begin to adjust to the tech tricks you also begin to wonder how relevant and expressive they really are...It’s immersive, yes, but not so much theater: It’s more like watching a radio show in a studio, with special kudos to the Foley artist. Even McBurney’s exhausting efforts to bring the story to gestural life are undercut by the sound...'The Encounter' may be happening in your head but, ultimately, it’s someone else’s trip."
"Given how thoroughly the audience is let in both on the technology and the artifice, it's remarkable how quickly and completely the piece becomes an immersive narrative...'The Encounter' is an extraordinarily visceral, often hypnotic piece of storytelling. It must be added, however, that any solo show running close to two intermissionless hours asks a lot of its audience, and this one is more impactful in the moment than in terms of lingering resonance."
"At first glance 'The Encounter' feels like a radio play accompanied by thick layers of sound effects, some live and others pre-recorded. Then the set, an anonymous-looking radio studio, comes to hallucinatory life, and suddenly you find yourself swept up in Mr. McBurney’s high-tech dramatization of McIntyre’s bizarre yet somehow believable tale. The result is a piece of storytelling that is as haunting and enthralling as a half-remembered dream."
"It's a mindblower...All of this is conveyed ingeniously by McBurney in an attic set as he re-creates for us the story through the use of much electronic gear that alters his voice for different characters...The show is a wonder, but I couldn’t help but feel it also was a bit of a con that forced us to pay more attention to the technical gimcrackery than to the extraordinary tale unfolding. Would imaginative staging with an actual cast, have had as much impact? I’d like to think so."
"This virtuosic theater maker’s transporting bells and whistles indeed make 'The Encounter' the next best thing to being there...Those deriving little stimulation from learning the customs of a people who live in diametric opposition to us urbane types, may find themselves drifting off during the intermission-less show. It didn’t happen to me...'The Encounter' is a demonstration of the power of technology to immerse us ever more thrillingly in narrative art."
"The one-man show 'The Encounter' is a public podcast, complete with high-quality headphones for every theatergoer and enough yawns for an anesthesia symposium...Simon McBurney is no entertainer. He’s a peddler of pretentious, self-satisfied wisdom and overhyped novelty...This intermissionless, nearly two-hour snoozefest has a massively self-generated sense of what it is."