The Present
Closed 3h 0m
The Present
74

The Present NYC Reviews and Tickets

74%
(264 Reviews)
Positive
70%
Mixed
23%
Negative
7%
Members say
Great acting, Slow, Disappointing, Absorbing, Ambitious

About the Show

Two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh succumb to the intoxicating power of lust and obsession in the Sydney Theatre Company’s adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s first play, 'Platonov.'

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Member Reviews (264)

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968 Reviews | 226 Followers
75
Disappointing, Ambitious, Edgy, Indulgent, Overrated

See it if You like Kate Blanchett. She does a really good job in this show. Roxburgh, not so much.

Don't see it if Show is slow at times, confusing at times. I was disappointed , thought it would be directed better.

677 Reviews | 152 Followers
82
Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Funny, Intelligent

See it if you like Cate Blanchett, curious about an early rarely done Chekhov, enjoy good ensemble work & Chekhov in a modern setting

Don't see it if updated Chekhov aggravates you, scattered work by a novice before he becames accomplished does not impress you, Blanchett not a big draw

687 Reviews | 114 Followers
72
Ambitious, Cliched, Great acting, Slow, Indulgent

See it if Unwieldly adaptation of unpublished drama by Chekhov. At 3 hr length seems fit for Chekhov geeks only with its hints of later masterpieces

Don't see it if STC keeps us attentive for the 1st act but pretty dismal after that Blanchett solid but evening rightly belongs to Roxburgh He's magnificent

533 Reviews | 488 Followers
75
Great acting, Convoluted, Thought-provoking, Engaging, Uneven

See it if you want to see a fascinating modern update of a Chekhov play that is really gripping in moments (and less so in other moments).

Don't see it if a 3-hour slow burn is not your idea of a good time.

510 Reviews | 129 Followers
79
Absorbing, Ambitious, Edgy, Quirky, Both funny and tragic

See it if you want to enjoy the acting of the consummate pros Blanchette and Roxburgh; excellent ensemble cast; you have a good knowledge of Chekov.

Don't see it if you are looking for an entirely cohesive play and constant action; a short evening of theater; Read more

467 Reviews | 70 Followers
76
Dated, Disappointing, Great writing, Terrific adaptation, Over directed

See it if you love Chekhov.Acting is all over the top, so that means that the director wanted all the hysteria and no subtlety. Set & costumes are ok.

Don't see it if you want to see Chekov done with restraint. Second act fog scene is ridiculous. Too much hysteria throughout the show.

406 Reviews | 188 Followers
84
Great acting, Great writing, Confusing, Dizzying, Absorbing

See it if You like Cate Blanchett on stage and Chekhov plays. There is a large cast and lots of intertwined plots. Expect many twists and turns.

Don't see it if You have no patience for Chekhov. Dislike profanity, heavy drinking, and sex. Cannot interpret Austrlian- British accents. Read more

430 Reviews | 115 Followers
82
Immature chekhov blossoms with radiant cate

See it if Russian themes explored more thoroughly in later Chekhov work. Great Cate--as usual. Roxburgh is her perfect foil. Toby Schmitz is dreamy.

Don't see it if Long -- but I didn't mind at all. Too many characters require a lot of work to tell apart. Read the program notes before the play starts.

Critic Reviews (60)

The New York Times
January 8th, 2017

"Sprawling and confused adaptation of a sprawling and confused play...This production feels moribund from the beginning. Frantic attempts at resuscitation by Ms. Blanchett and her valiant leading man, a tireless Richard Roxburgh as a hapless homme fatale, only occasionally succeed in eliciting a pulse...These people want to blow up their world, and in a way they do, most entertainingly. That leaves us with another full hour of tediously sorting through the ashes."
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Time Out New York
January 8th, 2017

"This crass, seriocomic script lumbers along for three palpable hours, alternately tedious and odious, expecting us to care about its petty, miserable, bed-hopping Russian characters without giving them witty or touching things to say. 'I’m so bored. Bored and disappointed,' moans Anna during her boozy, interminable birthday party. She speaks for all of us...Unless you cut 'Platonov' savagely to the bone or find a novel approach, it’s going to come across as callow, sub-Chekhov stuff."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
January 9th, 2017

"If the politics of this Platonov revamp are apt enough, the drama still founders on the play’s inability to link them convincingly to the nearly farcical social comedy of individuals at loose ends. Partly this is because the production, directed somewhat bumpily by John Crowley, keeps the politics at bay for too long...We do not really understand the stakes until it’s too late, which may be accurate for the characters but undermines the audience."
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The Hollywood Reporter
January 8th, 2017

"A tart tragedy, infused with corrosive humor...What's most surprising about John Crowley's expertly calibrated production is how funny it is, while remaining true to themes of disillusionment, class breakdown and unfulfilled love...Weaving together these characters and their hollow lives in a context that connects them both to Chekhov's Russia and to our own world, Upton, Crowley and this accomplished company have elevated a problematic play into something unexpectedly satisfying."
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Entertainment Weekly
January 8th, 2017

"Upton and Crowley strain to make the play’s late 20th-century makeover contemporary and knowing and cool, but it feels more like punk poseur window-dressing trying to spruce up a soft-rock B-side...It’s only a matter of time before the party ends with a bang — I just wish it was more worth the wait. As hard as it tries, 'The Present' never really makes the case for why Chekhov’s forgotten play should be remembered."
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Variety
January 8th, 2017

"A sparkling production...The spirit of Chekhovian farce shines bright, and the ensemble work of this Aussie company is just grand...Blanchett turns out to be a consummate comic actress, and Roxburgh her perfect foil, allowing the scene to swing from passion to painfully funny pathos...Crowley handles the directing chores with an impressively light touch, keeping this army of characters circling one another like moths obsessively courting their flames without letting them get burned."
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The Wall Street Journal
January 10th, 2017

"Though it is a problematic play—a rewritten, time-shifted transmutation of a young Chekhov’s untitled, posthumously discovered and monstrously overstuffed drama, ‘The Present’ is also a terrific vehicle for its two stars, Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh...By the second half, you are likely to tire of both—and the characterless stage design by Alice Babidge is no help—but the two actors keep the play aloft for long enough so you don’t fully mind its thorough deflation."
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The Observer
January 13th, 2017

"A relentless three-hour pile of noisy, pointless and pretentious junk...Nothing makes sense about the text, and though the alterations have shortened the running time, Upton has improved nothing in the process...Scene after scene demonstrates the youthful politics of Chekhov before he learned anything about such matters as character development, plot or narrative cohesion...The play is so bad it seems to be in an unknown language."
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