Tom Stoppard's dazzling comedy of art, love, and revolution features James Joyce, Tristan Tzara, and Lenin as remembered -- and misremembered -- by Henry Carr, a minor British diplomat in Zurich 1917. When Gwendolen and Cecily wander in from 'The Importance of Being Earnest,' Henry's mind wanders too. He knows he was Algernon in a production in Zurich. But who was the other one?
"Theatrical brilliance made tangible...Stoppard has long had a reputation for being verbally hilarious...'Travesties' may be not only the funniest but also the smartest anyone anywhere has ever quilled...It's graduate school-Ph.D-level humor...Possibly the only perfect production now occupying a Broadway theater...No matter by what definition of art you swear, this 'Travesties'—thanks to Stoppard, Hollander, Marber, and everyone connected to it-is that rare thing: Art with a capital 'A.'" Full Review
"Manages the rare feat of being both intellectually stimulating, visually appealing, and hilariously funny…Uses a dizzying array of poetic and prosaic devices, including puns, alliteration, rhymes, literary quotations, limericks, historical writings, epigrams, and even vaudeville routines to tickle your ears and keep your head buzzing…Given the all-around skill and charm of this physically and verbally dexterous company...Stoppard's...comedy is as light as a soufflé and perfectly accessible." Full Review
"If I had to name the liveliest, most inventive and well worth seeing plays of the current New York Theater season, the revival of Stoppard's 1975 absurdist comedy, 'Travesties' would make my top three...This play's magnificent inventiveness can draw in someone who doesn't really understand it enough to love it...Singing and dancing that make this a lot more satisfying than some of the actual musicals that have opened on Broadway this season." Full Review
"This 'Travesties' is a total success: The staging is outrageously vital and the cast is as close to ideal as it’s possible to imagine...It is as darkly serious as it is crazily funny, and you don’t have to get all of the highbrow jokes to relish the fizzing éclat with which 'Travesties' reminds us that whenever artists and revolutionaries turn the world upside down, things—and people—have a way of getting broken...You’re never going to see a finer revival of 'Travesties,' so catch this one w... Full Review
"Perfect Roundabout Theatre Company production...A fantastic beast of a play that ceaselessly interrogates big ideas with intelligence and wit...Mr. Marber has imagined the play with great propulsive and cheerful energy...Endlessly engrossing and wickedly funny, 'Travesties' is a boon in the spring season, arguably the best and smartest play on Broadway right now, and a must see for any serious theatregoer." Full Review
"Elegantly appointed and filled with the best sort of lunatics...Stoppard spins the maddest of intellectual farces...Marber orchestrates this organized chaos superbly, aided by a brilliant turn by Tom Hollander as Henry...If you listen closely, you'll likely be mesmerized by the playwright's wit and his concern for ideas that played an enormous role in shaping the last century...This is still one of the playwright's most impressive achievements." Full Review
"A work to remember, or misremember, for years to come...This latest incarnation is the clearest and...one of the liveliest. It should prove ridiculously entertaining for anyone with even a passing knowledge of its central characters...What makes 'Travesties' so deeply engaging and hilarious and touching isn't its flashy erudition but its author's rapt fascination with the workings of the human mind and its enduring relationship with art...The cast couldn't be much better." Full Review
“I did not expect to be so delighted by this rollicking production...A brilliant director, and a superb cast...Don’t be intimidated by the complexity of the setup...Amidst the hilarity, we get arguments on the proper role of the artist in society...My one complaint is that it may be too much of a good thing. It’s hard to maintain the appropriate level of attention for so long. If you let your attention slip for even a moment, you are likely to miss some allusion or quip.” Full Review
"A whirlwind of highbrow showmanship. But what keeps it from being pretentious is the sincere explosive joy with which it’s constructed...Stoppard’s writing is generous in its virtuosity...Among the triumphs of Marber’s production is the stellar comedy of its eight-person ensemble who unanimously understand the combination of precision and animation called for by their material...A celebration, an exaltation, a spell, a dance, a feast, and a farce." Full Review
"Stoppard is a wordy intellectual...He likes to grapple with big questions and themes...In 'Travesties,' he does it with wit, humor and through the lens of the absurd...You don’t need to know a lot to enjoy this entertaining and thought-provoking piece of theater. It’s that this is a play about memory, art, revolution, and a little history...Truly, there are so many levels on which you can enjoy this work. I recommend that you strap yourself in and go for the ride. You won’t regret it." Full Review
"A tremendous revival...Marber is in sync with Stoppard’s rhythms and humor. The cast magnificently delivers the bite in the sarcasm and the punch in the irony. The political and social commentary is clear and relevant...The entire cast works as a tight ensemble. Their timing is impeccable. Their physicalities are broad and energetic. They bring light to Stoppard’s strong statements about art and humanity, which ring truthfully and vigorously." Full Review
"You don't need to know a lot to enjoy this entertaining and thought-provoking piece of theater. It's that this is a play about memory, art, revolution and OK, a little history...Hollander gives a tour de force performance as Carr...Marber deserves credit for the tight, brisk and specific production...Truly, there are so many levels on which you can enjoy this work. I recommend that you strap yourself in and go for the ride. You won’t regret it." Full Review
"Brilliant, clever, and mind-boggling collage of a play...If you let it, this production manages ultimately to be both enlightening and even moving...Stoppard injects leaping heaps of wordplay, an avalanche of lightning-quick allusions...line after line of hysterical non-sequiturs and just plain nonsense...All of this is executed flawlessly...Remarkably, despite the comic chaos, several serious points do emerge...Provokes thoughts about history and memory, and the travesties of time." Full Review
"The show's set advises us to please be quiet...But you can forget about that, because the sound of laughter can't be contained...This extravagant farce bristles with clever wordplay...Fun on its own etymological terms, this madcap comedy also tips its hat — a beat-up straw boater with a jaunty red hatband — to the spirit of revolution that galvanized Europe in 1917...Underneath the gem-like brilliance of its theatrical style, the play's dark subject matter emerges." Full Review
"Devilishly clever...Artfully reassembles in an olio of genres-farce, spy story, seminar, musical, history lesson, absurdist prank-with mixed-in of culture high and low...The facets of Stoppard's jewel-like play are overwhelmingly brilliant...In Marber's well-judged and high-spirited revival, the result is inviting rather than snobbishly exclusive, and the structural and verbal dazzle are offset with subtle suggestions of elegy...It's a pleasure to engage with a production that does 'Travesti... Full Review
"Guaranteed to work your gray matter...The happy bonus of the brightly acted production is how often the comedy engages one's smile muscles...Stoppard stirs up a story about art and revolution, conformity and memory, and more...It's a lot - loosey-goosey and carefully contained at the same time. It's constantly wild and woolly and, at times, what-the-heck-was-that...The paper-strewn set suggests disorder, but the show moves along without a hitch." Full Review
"There are two ways to approach the highly intellectual, historically-based plays of Tom Stoppard: do copious research beforehand to make sure you get every allusion or let the master’s witty wordplay wash over you...Marber’s pitch-perfect revival...The debates for which Stoppard has become best known rage on...but without ever becoming dry or dreary. In fact, most of 'Travesties' will leave you with a wide grin on your mouth, while still providing fodder for your brain." Full Review
"A rollicking good time with an intellectual perspective wrapped in theater of the absurd...There are serious observations and playful ones, with much hilarity involved and accented under the broad direction by Patrick Marber...Stoppard is a master at interweaving his characters, much to our amusement...The historical and literary frolicking doesn’t mask the underlying seriousness...Culture is a major force meant to elevate humankind and give voice to genius." Full Review
"Under Patrick Marber’s tirelessly inventive direction, a cast featuring the inspired Tom Hollander in the pivotal role provides a sparkling return to Stoppard’s revolutionary carnival of Zurich in 1917...Along for the ride, too, is Tristan Tzara, one of the founders of the dada anti-art movement and here played to florid perfection by Seth Numrich. Sure, it’s all a bit chaotic, but given the heady clash of ideas that the play tries to dramatize, wouldn’t that be about right? " Full Review
"The detail and complexity of 'Travesties' will prove a delight to some audiences and a burden to others...Yet, there’s an ultimately approachable aspect to the play: a humorous portrayal of the absurdity of elitist 'types,' which, at least superficially, allows it to be accessible to most audiences...Marber has pieced it all together just right...What’s more, the cast is magical...Those who are willing to focus on the rapid fire, complex dialog will be delighted by the delivery." Full Review
"Impeccably directed...Only a playwright as brilliantly inventive as Stoppard could put all that together to come up with an uproarious work that seriously questions the nature of art...Stoppard called 'Travesties' intellectual entertainment...Even without a solid knowledge of Irish novelists, avant-garde poets or Russian revolutionaries, it's possible, as Roundabout's artistic director Todd Haimes suggests, to simply let the pleasures of the show 'wash over you'." Full Review
"A spirited, quick-paced revival...There is quick-witted wordplay...an entire scene written in limerick form; a delightful music-hall-style duet of one-up-manship...Under Marber's masterful direction, 'Travesties' never lets the mayhem swirl completely out of control. At the center of the madness is a bravura performance by Hollander...Marber's staging really shines when it slows down the verbal pyrotechnics to explore the efficacy of art in challenging times." Full Review
"Surprisingly palatable, even digestible, a rare word to describe the dense Stoppard drama. But Marber’s production keeps things light, rapidly-paced, and comedic; it embraces fragmentation and excess and turns it into a non-stop party...The production satirizes the overly academic nature of the play and turns the would-be elitism into comedy...The most pleasantly surprising revival this season...Patrick Marber and his extraordinary cast have managed to strike comedy gold." Full Review
"Erudite, allusive, and grappling deeply with history, but also fun, funny, and compulsively entertaining...Hollander plays Carr, and he's a virtuoso in a complicated part, shifting among styles and bouncing around the stage...Deeply thoughtful and guffawingly funny...Marber keeps this joyful folly happily afloat and the set seems almost a perfect visual representation of Stoppardism...Hollander is the standout but the cast is uniformly fine." Full Review
"'Travesties,' a nonstop tourney of wit and erudition, has often been called a brainteaser, but brain tickler comes so much closer to the jubilant staging...This 'Travesties' belongs first and foremost to Hollander...Under Marber's careful direction, Hollander takes Stoppard's comically befuddled British consul into some unforeseen emotional terrain." Full Review
See it if you like inventive and clever theater that makes bold anachronistic choices that heighten the plot, including wonderful dancing and music.
Don't see it if you can't follow fast-paced plays with a lot of dialogue. I recommend reading The Importance of Being Earnest before seeing the show.
See it if you love Tom Stoppard, as I do. I LOVED this show. Brilliant, hilarious, perfectly executed.
Don't see it if you don't like having to pay close attention. This is a DENSE piece of work, but if you give it your attention it will absolutely deliver.
See it if you love seeing actors play themselves at different stages of life, and you like fictional takes on actual events
Don't see it if you know nothing of the events and people on which it is based
See it if you're into the intellectual, witty, funny, convoluted world of Stoppard,enjoy a meaty play done right and endlessly entertaining production
Don't see it if high ideas and verbose dialogue aren't your thing, you find it hard to concentrate for 2.5 hours or easily confused with complex narrative.
See it if you love Stoppard, great acting, terrific sets&lighting.It takes you on a wild ride.Hold on & enjoy it.I can't tell you how good it is.GO!!!
Don't see it if you don't like Stoppard's brand of humor or style of writing.This is 1 of his best plays.Please go see it, & be open to something new.
See it if Brilliant writing. Amazing cast. You don't have to make sense of everything, just enjoy the ride.
Don't see it if Try to sit in the orchestra if possible. You need to pay close attention and the sound in the balcony made that a bit challenging.
See it if You want to see the best theater in NYC right now. Absolutely perfect direction, staging, and performances. The play is a masterpiece.
Don't see it if You hate clever, intellectual plays with lots of allusions and references to other literature and events.
See it if Combining clever language and references to history, Oscar Wilde, James Joyce and Dada makes for a wild ride. Music hall was a plus.
Don't see it if Might disappoint if you want topical/political material or big Broadway numbers.
See it if James Joyce, Vladimir Lenin & Dadaist poet Tristan Tzara clash in WWI Zurich, as Tom Hollander's senile British consul tells decades later.
Don't see it if You don't like straight drama, 1974 revivals, great writing, or a good Tom Stoppard farce that turns history upside down.
See it if you have never seen a production of Tom Stoppard's gem. Acting and staging are of the highest caliber. Possibly better than the original!
Don't see it if you don't like fast-moving, witty plays with double-entendres and the like being volleyed at the audience.
See it if you love verbal joyrides that rocket with cascading eruptions of riotous intellect and verbal mayhem especially with DaDaism.
Don't see it if Your heart does not belong to Dada ;)
See it if you want to see and hear theater at its best. Tom Stoppard is pure genius. The cast and staging are impeccable.
Don't see it if you are looking for light fluff. This is satire at its most sophisticated form.
See it if You know who Joyce, Lenin and Tolstoy are and you love masterful, poetic, lightening-speed, histrionic plays. There's none like this one
Don't see it if You go to the theatre to sit back and relax and barely have to listen.
See it if Lunacy by way of Joyce, Tzara and Wilde will help U define the artist's role in society. Positively, Mr. Hollander? Absolutely, Mr. Numrich!
Don't see it if Fin de siecle is an Irish stage name or you're not a fan of silly wordplay. It's a lively play where every word is of importance, Earnestly.
See it if you appreciate Stoppard. You want to be intellectually stimulated as well as entertained.
Don't see it if you are easily distracted. Wordy plays bore you. You prefer linear plot.
See it if you want an unusual and exciting theater experience. It helps if you are familiar with Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest.
Don't see it if you do not want to be challenged to pay attention, yet still be a bit baffled!
See it if If you like Stoppard plays.at intermission cell phones out ,people looking up Dada,.travesties, Oscar Wilde +asking each other questions
Don't see it if Don't like Stoppard or having to pay close attention.
See it if inventively brings together Lenin, Joyce, Dadaist 2 explore diff perspectives on art; hilarious farce; Tom Hollander extraordinary lead
Don't see it if at times seems as if Stoppard just wants to show how clever he is; still Stoppard's combo erudition/ingenuity/humor is amazing
Get alerts about your favorite artists and theater companies