Chris Kompanek

Chris Kompanek is a critic with Theatermania. This account has been auto-generated, and does not indicate that this person is an active member of Show-Score.com. That said, if you "follow" this member, you will automatically be updated whenever s/he writes a new review.

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Reviews (19)
Samara
Midtown W
Paste Magazine

"A journey play that often feels stagnant...There are cowboys but no clear villains or heroes. Also absent are clear resolutions...The characters in 'Samara wander,' their goals obscured by regret or a general lack of purpose...There’s a beautiful moment where the stage is dark while Earle reads a descriptive passage of the landscape...Clouds appear and it’s as if we are floating above all of the limitations that acted as cages for these characters and for a brief moment there is utter clarity." Full Review

Paste Magazine

“The real problem is translating the repetitive mechanism that drives the film…Rubin’s book delivers the film’s signature sarcasm but stumbles when it tries to make Phil’s love interest, Rita, a more feminist character…Compounding the problem is an utter lack of chemistry between her and Karl...Despite all its missteps and inadequacies ‘Groundhog Day,’ is easy to watch, with occasional flourishes of brilliance that remind us how much better the show could be.” Full Review

Sweat
Midtown W
Paste Magazine

"Director Kate Whoriskey helms a superb cast that often favors absorbing a moment and letting it resonate in the deepest reaches of the soul over grandstanding with overwrought gestures...Nottage crafts a nuanced story where the villains remain off stage pitting working people against each other...The final line steps into preachy agitprop and diminishes the emotional intensity of the climax, but 'Sweat' is undeniably a painfully topical tragedy." Full Review

Paste Magazine

“Gyllenhaal brings an organic intensity to the role of George and nails Sondheim’s complex phrasing with aplomb…What makes ‘Sunday’ arguably Sondheim’s best musical is how it works seamlessly on different levels. It’s a vividly imaginative peer into the creative life of a famous artist but also a heartbreakingly personal account of what it’s like to love someone who’s on a markedly different path.” Full Review

Good Samaritans
Lower E Side
Paste Magazine

“By stripping scenes of their emotional charge, raw phrases jump out with clarity. Colloquialisms are exposed for their shallow content while the inarticulate nature of humanity is highlighted. With Maxwell’s stylistically unadorned touch, there is always a danger that beats will bleed into monotony. While ‘Good Samaritans’ is not exempt, those moments feel like badges of endurance to be worn proudly.” Full Review

The Liar
East Village
Paste Magazine

"An airy and erudite adaptation of Corneille’s 'Le Menteur'...The humor builds to a riotous second act finale, but in the age of fake news and shallow denigration from the highest office, serious subtext can’t help but be felt...Director Kahn brings a deft comic touch that’s necessary for farce. The biggest laughs carry a catharsis with them and a lack of retribution seems fitting. The cast works intuitively off each other, grounded by a seemingly effortless tour-de-force performance by Elrod." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"Impropriety is the lifeblood of Nick Kroll and John Mulaney’s 'Oh, Hello,' a savage sendup of growing old and out-of-touch but still persisting...You’ve probably seen these guys in their tattered blazers browsing used bookstores and other faded New York institutions. There’s a darkness that courses through that keeps the jokes uneasy and adds complexity to this thoroughly enjoyable show." Full Review

Wilderness
Lower E Side
The Huffington Post

"What could be maudlin and sentimental is anything but. In one of the most vivid moments a kid reveals that her mother tried to hang her when she was younger. A counselor burst out into tears (usually crying onstage is the sign of lazy writing) and when asked why says, 'it just seems like someone should cry,' in a plainspoken way that can only break your heart. One of the greatest strengths of 'Wilderness' is that it feels too real to be a play." Full Review

Village Voice

"John Doyle strips away the glamour and largesse...With stronger source material, this approach can shine radiant light on a classic, [but] Marsha Norman's book lacks both subtlety and a sense of pacing... The score offers some downright catchy hooks but is unforgivably thin on content...Hudson thrills, but it's Cynthia Erivo who unearths the soul. Erivo's voice reverberates throughout her body with a fury that ignites the show with purpose — if one that's only fleeting." Full Review

Theatermania

for a previous production "They sing as if they're welcoming you into their living room, and you can't help but smile...More than any one moment, though, 'A Child's Christmas' is a wash of emotion, transporting us to the white dusted mountains of the famously tragic poet's youth when he was just a boy who built snow castles." Full Review

The Hairy Ape
Upper E Side
Paste Magazine

"Cannavale delivers a viscerally charged performance that drives the show. He roars with conviction but also hints at the vulnerabilities that lie just below the surface...The aggressively blunt dialogue can grow tiring, but viewed in service of an allegory, it feels somewhat fitting. There are some thoughts that subtlety fails to express and need to be declared with a wallop. This sense of a breaking point propels the play foreword to its tragic conclusion." Full Review

The Profane
Midtown W
Paste Magazine

“The first act is bogged down by forced exposition…Tolerance is a liberal value but so is standing up for civil and human rights. Liberals are currently fighting over where the balance between these two principles lies, but sadly, ‘The Profane,’ does little to enrich the conversation…While there are many engaging stretches that give ‘The Profane’ momentum and make it fairly easy to watch, I kept craving real tension instead of the manufactured antics on display.” Full Review

All The Fine Boys
Midtown W
Paste Magazine

"Schmidt has a knack for writing dialogue that flows with ease and Breslin and Fuhrman deliver it with aplomb...Schmidt captures the precarious limbo between childhood and adulthood...What transpires...is horrifically haunting and continues to unsettle long after the play has ended but reeks of the heavy-handed touch of an after-school special. I left the theatre wondering if the carnage is necessary? But then I thought when something terrible happens, that’s usually a question we ask." Full Review

Drunkle Vanya
Midtown W
Brooklyn Magazine

"This restaurant feels like a portal to Moscow with its extensive menu of infused vodkas, dim lighting, and an overly enthusiastic piano player who can be heard from their second floor...Perhaps because of the free-flowing alcohol or conversational tone and audience interactions, this 'Vanya' doesn’t deliver Chekhov’s signature cathartic wallop of despair. Elements of gallows humor are amped up and provide the momentum for this lost clan to carry on." Full Review

Paste Magazine

"Few plays begin with more gracious verve than Wallace Shawn’s achingly brilliant 'Evening at the Talkhouse'...To go into specific detail would diminish the wondrous thrills to be had in this endlessly fascinating play. Suffice it to say: when the actors take their bows, mysteries linger, along with Shawn’s persistent haunting vision of world that may be closer than we think." Full Review

Heisenberg
Midtown W
The Huffington Post

"Simon Stephens’ 'Heisenberg' is an intimate exploration of loneliness, desperation and the crazy things we do to have a little companionship. Georgie drives the action as an unhinged mom who craves far more than life has given her. She has no trouble finding words but they are rarely the right ones. Alex is much more passive though that doesn’t make his needs any less palpable. There’s something that draws him to Georgie despite the chaos she brings into his life." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"Playwright Nathan Alan Davis vacillates between lyricism and minimalism in the piercing two-hander 'Nat Turner in Jerusalem.' Centered on the last moments in the title character’s life after leading a slave rebellion, there are no easy answers here...Even the well-meaning white characters are brainwashed by racism, but still there are great moments that approach understanding and even kinship." Full Review

The Offending Gesture
East Village
Village Voice

"Carefully crafted yet hollow lines pervade the script, which is both disappointingly dense and unsatisfying in its ability to explore an intriguing premise...This becomes problematic, because his ambitions for the arc of the story are quite abstract...The result is a numbing inertia." Full Review

Village Voice

"There are more answers than questions in Steven Friedman's one-man show...The most personal moments come when he talks about the dissolution of his marriage, but even then it feels like he's figured it out, and we never see the struggle that's at the heart of good theater...he never makes himself sufficiently vulnerable to let us witness that transformation. Instead we get hollow aphorisms." Full Review