The Present
Closed 3h 0m
The Present

The Present NYC Reviews and Tickets

(265 Ratings)
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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Show-Score Member Reviews (265)

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62 Reviews | 10 Followers
Exquisite, Great acting, Great writing, Intense, Relevant

See it if you enjoy great acting and profound writing.

Don't see it if you only want entertainment

90 Reviews | 13 Followers
Absorbing, Great acting, Epic, Intelligent, Must see

See it if You like Chekov done right You want to see actors at the top of their game chewing up well written dialogue

Don't see it if You only like musicals You can't concentrate or focus your attention for a length of time Read more

96 Reviews | 73 Followers
Must see, Masterful, Great acting, Exquisite, Entertaining

See it if you love great theatre. Cate Blanchett is a dream. The entire cast is a gift. Great acting and an engaging adaptation.

Don't see it if you dislike Chekhov, family dramas, long character driven plays.

114 Reviews | 9 Followers
Funny, Great acting, Intelligent, Great writing, Resonant

See it if you like plays about interpersonal relations among flawed characters or if you appreciate plays by Chekov.

Don't see it if are not fond of long plays about flawed and destructive characters. Read more

118 Reviews | 21 Followers
Absorbing, Entertaining, Masterful

See it if You love to see superb acting and classic theater in more contemporary settings.

Don't see it if Long plays are not your cup of tea.

303 Reviews | 52 Followers
Ambitious, Absorbing, Great acting, Epic, Masterful

See it if you want to see master actors at peak of craft. Clever drama with wit and pyrotechnics. Best of new interpretation of older classic writer.

Don't see it if you cannot focus intently for nearly 3 hours. Otherwise: brilliant.

182 Reviews | 21 Followers
Ambitious, Great acting, Edgy, Great staging, Great writing

See it if You like Chekhov and want to see how his weak first play was rescued. The writing, acting, and directing were brilliant.

Don't see it if You are put off by Chekhov. This version is superb, but you still need to appreciated the intellectual drama of the playwright.

86 Reviews | 22 Followers
Riveting, Bold, Great acting, Bizarre, Insightful

See it if Chekhov, Blanchett and Roxburgh at their best! After I attuned to the translation and figured out the characters I was utterly absorbed.

Don't see it if You're tired. The play requires a modicum of concentration, especially at the start, to appreciate the complicated relationships/histories. Read more

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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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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