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New York | 2h 20m | Already closed

Therese Raquin

From 51 critic and 211 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Great staging, Absorbing, Intense, Slow

About the show

Roundabout Theatre Company presents Keira Knightley's Broadway debut in a new adaption of the Emile Zola novel, a tale of love, lust, betrayal and guilt. More…

A quiet young woman with a restless spirit, Thérèse submits to a loveless life at the side of her weak and selfish husband…until she meets his childhood friend Laurent. Consumed by their desire for each other, Thérèse and Laurent dream of the day they can finally be together. When their overwhelming passion spins violently out of control, they realize that love can be a dangerous game, and sometimes there is no winner.

2h 20m | Already closed | Studio 54 (Midtown W)


"A terrifically nerve-wracking, beautifully mounted new drama…This story of illicit love, murder and madness -- directed with intensity and great invention by Evan Cabnet -- turns out to be one of the best plays on Broadway this year…Knightley's performance, too, is extraordinary...Rare is the production where all the elements -- acting, writing, design and direction -- work together to create and advance a singular vision. This is one of them." Full Review


"Director Evan Cabnet's brutal and earthy production certainly captures the heart of Zola's vision, furthered still by compellingly raw performances. This 'Thérèse Raquin' is as hot as it is terrifying…Knightly is a marvel as Thérèse…Edmundson authors one of the most faithful adaptations of a novel I've ever witnessed, while maintaining a zippy efficiency…This beautifully rendered adaptation of classic French literature turns out to be the surprise thriller of the season." Full Review


"Fans of salacious French fiction and late 19th-century art will find themselves plunging deep into the Roundabout Theatre Company’s spellbinding and visually stunning production…Featuring Keira Knightley in a commanding Broadway debut, director Evan Cabnet’s production feels like so many paintings come to life, and playwright Helen Edmundson’s adaptation of Zola’s novel brings a page-turning urgency to the twisted 1867 tale." Full Review

Entertainment Weekly

"While it clocks in at two-and-a-half hours, the production is surprisingly fleet and contemporary in feeling...Light and Ebert bring gracefully comic touches to their characters, and the sets by Beowulf Boritt will keep audiences captivated – every scene change bears a detail that’s either subtle or dazzling. Still, Knightley is the real draw…Her raw-nerved performance proves that with or without period attire, she’s an actress who can surprise us." Full Review

DC Theatre Scene

"The director takes advantage of Knightley’s expressive face by fiddling around with cinematically inspired close-ups. But he also treats us to some awesome long shots. Beowulf Boritt’s sets are gorgeous...The sky and the water and the very walls feel like characters themselves, and contribute almost as much as Keira Knightley’s compelling performance to this magnetic story of a woman trapped in a loveless arrangement, who is set free, only to be trapped once more by guilt." Full Review


"Director Evan Cabnet's gorgeously understated mounting of Helen Edmundson's adaptation looks like a somewhat faded oil painting come to life…The evening offers many breathtakingly still moments worthy of framing...The first-rate cast has Keira Knightley's introverted Thérèse subtly expressing the acceptance of her sorrow, so that when unfamiliar urges take over it allows merely the slightest change of physicality to clearly state that she's overwhelmed.." Full Review


"Despite its literary pedigree and painterly design, 'Thérèse Raquin' is a good old-fashioned melodrama, full of sex, murder and a dash of black humor, not to mention a passionate turn by Knightley. She’s a killer." Full Review


"This is a suspenseful, beautifully staged adultery-and-murder thriller that, with the emotionally translucent Keira Knightley making her Broadway debut in the title role, left me feeling as if I had been somewhere faraway for just under three hours…There are enough red herrings for a sneaky, old-time mystery, enough steamy clutches for a modern bodice-ripper and plenty of Knightley to cement her reputation here as a serious stage actress." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"Keira Knightley brilliantly embodies this tormented monster…The show is beautifully awful, splendidly agonizing. It hurts, it shocks, and as you exit Studio 54, your eyes may spread as wide as Thérèse's at the river…Joining Knightley is an expert cast, including Tony winner Judith Light, who distinguishes herself as Madame Raquin…Gabriel Ebert plays Camille, and is perhaps the least effective of the group. He's certainly irritating, but he's also forgettable." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"Director Evan Cabnet directs this lurid tale as a thriller, pushing it to its Gothic, melodramatic extremes. The scenes are short and sharp, flying by at breakneck speed... Rarely are we treated to a full meal of melodrama in today’s theatre – one that’s calorie-rich in plot and character, and one that delivers the thrilling, chilling payoffs of a luridly satisfying story." Full Review

The Flip Side

"Director Evan Cabnet cannily twists the screws ever more tightly and tautly...Aside from Knightley's controlled, incisive acting, Judith Light is at first funny then later most affecting as Camille's smothering mother...Matt Ryan, a charismatic Laurent, has such palpable chemistry with Knightley that the adulterers' sexual encounters are charged with the lustful energy that makes 'Thérèse Raquin' such smoldering theater." Full Review


"Zola wrote a terrific, psychological thriller and Edmundson’s adaptation here is faithful to his intent, tender and terrifying in equal measure. Cabnet’s top notch cast do great work, enlivening the many interlocking threads, and making a powerful, theatrical treat full bodied. It could do with more emphasis on the carnality which unlocks doom for Thérèse and Laurent (Camille too) but given the wonderful acting, sets, costumes and lighting, no one should feel too short changed.” Full Review


"Although Evan Cabnet’s hammy direction of the first act does elicit uncomfortable laughter, the physical production is exquisite, and by the end of the act the performers have found the raw passion to leave the audience gasping…Knightley and Ryan are ravishing — and articulate — as these fierce bourgeois Macbeths, undone by their own greed and passion...The play ends as it must, in tragedy. But how we do love their misery." Full Review

Time Out New York

"Evan Cabnet’s production, with its handsome set by Beowulf Boritt, does atmospheric justice to Thérèse’s desperation…Helen Edmundson’s cold-eyed thriller doesn’t shy from the lurid misanthropy of Emile Zola’s 1867 novel or its gothic denouement. But it does give a sharp sense of the limited options available to women. Thérèse may be a shark—but you pity her the way you might a shark in an aquarium." Full Review


"Despite the overheated dialogue, I found myself thoroughly engaged and even, when those things went bump, gasping in fear…The sets by Beowulf Boritt are astonishing…As the title character, Knightley is almost silent for the first thirty minutes of the play. Her voice, at first nearly a hush, never fully reaches the demands of a Broadway house. But that remarkably expressive face makes up for it—even from the back of the orchestra, her eyes shone with passion." Full Review

Edge New York

"This is heavy, heady stuff and it was only marred for me by a jarring tittering from the audience and all from two centuries ago when people endured their stations in life and waited with baited breath for interstitial moments of fulfillment and might well do anything to enhance their staid lives." Full Review

USA Today

"Fans who enjoy watching Knightley tackle torment will find much to savor in Roundabout Theatre Company's new staging, featuring a fresh adaptation of the novel…Cabnet's production succeeds largely because it doesn't try to inject any subtlety into the psycho-sexual histrionics emphasized in Edmundsen's adaptation. To the contrary, the spooky, ambient sound design and original compositions provided by Josh Schmidt suggest an erotic horror film." Full Review


"'Therese Raquin' demands your total attention from the getgo...The acting mostly measures up...The play does run a tad too long and would greatly benefit from trimming (or cutting) a few scenes...That said, this 'Therese Raquin' has much going for it. From its spine-tingling suspense, to its quirky psychological twists, to its breath-taking ending, this show (even with its flaws) is haunting." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"We need to see why this woman forces her way out of one cage and into another, what she sees in herself that she's compelled to keep hidden. And that doesn't come through...Edmundson has done Zola proud in some ways...The broad strokes are here for a transporting portrait, but what supports them needs to plunge us into the depths and not water down all the essential heat." Full Review


"Knightley is awkward in the parts of Edmundson’s well-paced adaptation where awkwardness is required. I never got a sense of her Thérèse as deeply miserable...Ryan, as Laurent, is more effective...This material’s been around a long time, so there may not be suspense about what happens next. Nonetheless, 'Thérèse Raquin' generates a strong sense of dread, and on that level it’s both a somber and engaging piece of stagecraft." Full Review

Act Three - The Reviews

"Making quite a substantial Broadway debut is the delightful Keira Knightley. The ensemble generously supporting the titular character includes the stalwart Judith Light (Madame Raquin) and adorably obnoxious Gabriel Ebert (Camille Raquin) as the adopted family of Therese…Sets by Beowulf Boritt were magnificent…To find out how all this resolves, head over to Studio 54 and catch these fine actors practicing their craft. Just don't expect time to pass quickly." Full Review

Center on the Aisle

"Although Roundabout has put together a first rate cast for this production, from the four leads to the supporting characters, the flesh and blood actors are often upstaged by the brilliant stagecraft that surrounds them...Director Evan Cabnet generally maintains an engagingly edgy mood and keeps things moving, until the last 15 minutes or so, when Thérèse and Laurent’s tortured suffering becomes too protracted." Full Review

Bob's Theater Blog

"The best reason to see this Roundabout production, an uneven adaptation of Zola’s 1867 novel, is the spectacular set design...The pace picks up from late in the first act to midway through the second act. The subsequent descent into guilt and madness seemed anticlimactic...Director Evan Cabnet really should have picked up the pace a bit during the play’s early scenes. My interest lagged, but I really liked the sets." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"Although the actors are magnetic and the Grand Guignol-accented story deliciously juicy, the play veers into overblown histrionics as Therese's hallucinations assume the full-on haunted-house effect of fingernails screeching on a blackboard. A touch more restraint in the accelerating spiral of recrimination, disgust and fear might have kept the action anchored in reality rather than melodrama." Full Review

Peconic Public Broadcasting

"After seeing 'Therese Raquin,' you will do yourself a favor and head over to Comedy Central for some lightening up. This show is really dark, isn’t all that bad since the stars of the play make the evening along with some marvelous Victorian sets, and a river really quite enjoyable. Once you get into this one, and even if you know the story, you can’t wait for the second act." Full Review

Absorbing, Enchanting, Great acting, Masterful, Great staging

See it if you are a big fan of the performers, they are truly spectacular in the show

Don't see it if you like lighter, and faster moving productions

Absorbing, Exquisite, Entertaining

See it if Amazing acting

Don't see it if No reason not to see it

Great acting, Intense, Great staging, Creepy, Suspenseful

See it if you love plays in general this play has everything you want in a great play! its heartfelt, scary, funny, suspenseful! 100% GREAT EVERYTHING

Don't see it if you hate kiera knightly

Edgy, Great acting, Intense, Indulgent, Great staging

See it if You are craving an intense show with incredible acting. I was on the edge of my seat. Set designs are great as well.

Don't see it if You prefer something musical or light hearted.

Absorbing, Delightful, Edgy, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you like great set design.

Don't see it if you aren't a fan of dramas.

Exquisite, Great acting, Intelligent, Confusing, Great staging

See it if You love intelligent and misterious plays.

Don't see it if Absolutely no reason for you not to go see it. Just so good.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Riveting, Great staging

See it if You love Keira Knightly, a great plot and Studio 54 as a venue

Don't see it if You are not fond of French lit or expect glitzy sets

Absorbing, Great acting, Profound

See it if You are ready to see Kiera Knightly as you have never seen her before.

Don't see it if Your not into deep thought provoking theater

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Riveting

See it if This is one of the most intense psychological thrillers I have ever seen. Very dark and brooding

Don't see it if You are only looking for a light comic romp!

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Riveting, Great staging

See it if You want a riveting drama with an amazing cast and some humor thrown in.

Don't see it if You are expecting to be drawn in from the get go. The beginning is slow but 3/4s on the play will have you at the edge of your seat

Great acting, Intense, Riveting, Great staging, Beautiful set design

See it if you want to see an immersive, compelling, heavy drama with a breathtaking set and powerful music; perfs are solid in this edge-of-seat ride.

Don't see it if you want more light-hearted fare, or if you are not a fan of dark and tragic dramas; this is as bleak as they come.

Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if You love to see a show filled with intensity

Don't see it if You don't like period pieces or straight plays

Absorbing, Intense, Resonant

See it if you enjoyed the novel, as the play follows it closely; if you're into intense melodrama; if you want to be blown away by impressive acting

Don't see it if You are expecting many comedy breaks: this is intense and there isn't much to break up the drama

Ambitious, Intelligent, Atmospheric, Well-directed, Scenic-detailed

See it if you love Zola's novels; if you want the chance to see Keira on stage rather than on screen; if you can get tickets in front mez, not back

Don't see it if you're annoyed at getting the point by mid act 2, so think the writing could be shortened; if your only choice is cramped upper mezz seats

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Great writing, Great staging

See it if You like mysterious period plays.

Don't see it if You want a contemporary take on life.

Absorbing, Intense, Masterful, Resonant, Riveting

See it if You love period pieces and psychological thrillers.

Don't see it if You don't.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Profound, Great staging

See it if you love great acting and an intense story.

Don't see it if you don't like thought provoking theatre.

Edgy, Great acting, Intelligent, Intense, Dated

See it if You like shows with twists and turns. The set and the acting are out of this world.

Don't see it if You don't like 19th century type plots.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Great staging, On the edge of your seat

See it if thrillers, romance, and thought-provoking plays

Don't see it if you do not like stories with a melancholy storyline.

Intense, Slow, Well acted, Entertaining

See it if you have patience and can wait 4 the pay-off - the acting is phenomenal however Ms Knightley's character is mostly mute for the first 1/2hr

Don't see it if you need fireworks throughout

Absorbing, Great acting

See it if You are drawn to classic plays whose themes are still relevant today.

Don't see it if You have a short attention-span and prefer "Disney-fied" Broadway fluff...

Ambitious, Great acting, Great staging

See it if Gripping drama with excellent performances by Knightly and Light

Don't see it if You are looking for a cheerful day at the theater

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Great writing, Great staging

See it if You enjoy beautiful, well-crafted, and elaborate set design and/or simmering tales of adultery and madness.

Don't see it if you prefer lighter theatrical fare. This one is dark and heavy.

Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Slow, Great staging

See it if You appreciate well-performed and produced emotional stories.

Don't see it if Deep, some times slowly paced material that challenges you to let the emotions simmer on stage rather than explode like a rap video.

Clever, Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Great staging

See it if You love serious drama and you love the brilliant actors. The staging is unique and wonderful

Don't see it if You don't like heady drama

Cast & Creatives (18)