Justinian

Manhattan | 25-34 | Male
About:  Coffee drinker by day, theatre geek by night.
Reviews (264)
81
Betrayal
Midtown W
Slow, Riveting, Great staging, Dizzying

See it if Small, intimate show about the ties that bind. Strong performances, characters, and script all around.

Don't see it if You don't like character-driven drama, backwards narratives, or petty, manipulative jealousies and betrayals (heh).

Also My first Pinter play, and I was into it. Great narrative framing (time... Read more Read less

74
The Michaels
East Village
Intelligent, Slow, Masterful, Disappointing, Absorbing

See it if You're a Richard Nelson fan (I am), because he clearly has his technique: real-time family plays set in Rhinebeck. Small, intimate dramas.

Don't see it if You want all the dancers to the be good actors, you don't give a hoot about modern dance, you don't like conversational plays in the round.

Also Nelson is at it again, and while I'm not mad about it, I sort of hoped... Read more Read less

84
Relevant, Intelligent, Must see, Meta, Thought-provoking

See it if you're interested in playwriting, historicity, power, the purpose of theater, WWII, or what it means to act morally in the world.

Don't see it if You don't like breaking the fourth wall, supernatural plot elements, lots of talking, intellectualizing, or Tony Kushner.

Also This play made me realize how much I like Kushner. I would love to rea... Read more Read less

41
Slow, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Banal, Boring

See it if A slow, continuous play with strange language, low stakes, sketchy characters. Four dissimilar women hash out their desires.

Don't see it if There are maybe two interesting conversations in the whole play, and the most interesting characters are not the leads. This one's a bust.

Also Perhaps I was just not in the right mindset or this play wasn't for me... Read more Read less

64
Heartwarming, Enchanting, Great staging, Cliched, Sentimental

See it if You want to have your cockles warmed by a holiday classic. Thorne has kept Dickens' best lines and wisely recast the ghosts as The Fates.

Don't see it if A new, wholly unnecessary and ill-conceived ending will intrude on your enjoyment. Your tolerance for hand bells or cheesiness is low.

60
Power Strip
Upper W Side
Excruciating, Relevant, Riveting, Intense, Cliched

See it if a moving, intense depiction of life in a refugee camp and the compromises we will or won't make in our lives.

Don't see it if Fairly predictable plot unfolds and is full of bathos. Unfortunately, the lead gives the weakest performance in the production.

87
Pretentious, Inspiring, Literary, Intense, Absorbing

See it if A thrilling two-hander that twists and winds through the human condition. Desire, fate, fame, self-loathing, and good books abound.

Don't see it if This play stirs powerful emotions. (see more) You don't like contemporary plays that are self-consciously heightened in language.

Also There's a lot going on that might upset an audience. I found it ultima... Read more Read less

60
Thought-provoking, Intense, Excruciating, Dated, Confusing

See it if you're interested in poetic monologues only tenuously related to one another. Moving performances and well-staged, but all over the place.

Don't see it if you're looking for Aristotelian theater with a cast of characters and narrative arc. There is storytelling, but no beginning/middle/end.

93
Must see, Intense, Excruciating, Great staging, Dizzying

See it if A searing, vital, important play about ideological divides, even on the same "side." Genius character sketches and relentless dialogue.

Don't see it if You don't like plays about ideas, conversation, and character (however unsympathetic). There may be less plot than traditionalists desire.

Also For an incredibly insightful, thoughtful, and thorough review see Vins... Read more Read less

68
The Rose Tattoo
Midtown W
Slow, Romantic, Great staging, Disappointing, Dated

See it if you really like Tomei or Williams. This is a gorgeously-staged, unexceptional production. Sturdy but not fresh or interesting.

Don't see it if you want to avoid tired tropes and dubious accents. Lots of the language is unsurprisingly beautiful, but the plot is less so.

45
During previews
Scotland, PA
Midtown W
Fluffy, Epic, Great music, Disappointing, Cliched

See it if You like goofy musicals with awesome music that mix the serious with comedic gags.

Don't see it if you're looking for interesting new approachs to ambition, Shakespeare, or Macbeth. This is a fun, fluffy musical you won't think much about.

Also I've never seen the movie, so I don't know how closely this silly show... Read more Read less

71
Mojada
East Village
Disappointing, Enchanting, Intense, Relevant

See it if You want to see a contemporary play about coming to America.

Don't see it if You're expecting a Medea in the classic Greek style.

71
Little Gem
Chelsea
Cliched, Confusing, Quirky, Great acting, Delightful

See it if you might like Irish family dramas set in the recent past. You think you don't like monologue shows -- this one could change your mind!

Don't see it if You're expecting anything meaty or revelatory. There are certainly surprises, and plot, but this is almost more of a fluffy memory play.

84
During previews
Quirky, Intense, Indulgent, Great singing, Epic

See it if you like the songs made famous by Meat Loaf. The over-the-top treatment of them in this show make for some unforgettable, powerful moments.

Don't see it if you don't like Meat Loaf, rock music, or want a coherent and plausible storyline. Plot-wise, this is more of a jukebox musical.

Also Lena Hall and the woman who sings "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad" both ar... Read more Read less

56
Romantic, Fluffy, Entertaining, Disappointing, Cliched

See it if You like trite, feel-good, implausible rom-coms that telegraph every plot point. You like Broadway musicals and good music/singing.

Don't see it if You're expecting this show to be anything surprising or hard-hitting. It's a fun fluff piece with silly rhymes and absurd plot elements.

Also The songs are variable in quality, but when they're good, they're VERY... Read more Read less

84
During previews
Indulgent, Quirky, Raunchy, Hilarious, Clever

See it if You want to laugh often and uproariously, like a well-earned joke and well-placed jibe, are not a fusspot.

Don't see it if unless you have a passable (Wikipedia) grasp on Three Sisters & preferably Chekhov, dislike satire, strong language, or stylized performance

70
Working: A Musical
Midtown W
Sad, Relevant, Great singing, Dated, Delightful

See it if See it for heartfelt personal stories, great singing, and some fine songs.

Don't see it if The James Taylor songs are amusingly easy to spot. You're expecting a plot, this is more of a revue.

86
A Strange Loop
Midtown W
Indulgent, Confusing, Ambitious, Quirky, Raunchy

See it if A rollicking, searing, original, raucous, wonderful, surprising, introspective, self-aware musical.

Don't see it if you're queasy about frank discussions of sex, dislike strong language, or prefer a traditional/linear/cliched musical plot.

Also Although the circular, self-referential conceit occasionally wears thi... Read more Read less

75
Fairview
Brooklyn
Excruciating, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Intense, Absorbing

See it if Hard-hitting, high-concept, Brechtian, vital theatre; race relations in America, the weight of the assumptive gaze, and fair(skinned)ness.

Don't see it if You have very low tolerance for non-traditional theater, can't wait to see how strange things resolve, or only care about entertainment.

Also The play grows on me on the more I think on it; I'm not sure I took aw... Read more Read less

85
Refreshing, Great writing, Great staging, Great acting, Delightful

See it if You want to see one of the best Beatrice's ever or a fabulous night out in the park. I wish more Shakespeare were done in this style.

Don't see it if No real reason not to, unless you hate Shakespeare comedies or getting rained on.

70
Slow, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great acting, Confusing

See it if You're a fan of Shepard or portrayals dysfunctional families or the rot of American idealism. Great staging and committed acting.

Don't see it if You can't stand symbolism or jagged plots. Some of the acting/monologues are uneven, and I'm not ultimately sure what the play wanted to say

70
All My Sons
Midtown W
Dated, Profound, Great staging, Intelligent

See it if You appreciate the craftiness of Miller and a heavy dose of Greek fate. A well-architected, inevitable tragedy with some resonance.

Don't see it if Maybe this production, or just the era of the writing, but although I was touched, I was never moved. The concerns here seem far away.

72
Burn This
Midtown W
Raunchy, Funny, Dated

See it if You want to see Adam Driver's excellent, thrilling performance of someone abusing substances. You like F'ed up romances.

Don't see it if There's not a load going on beyond the good performances. The story is sort of a domestic drama intermingled with badboy attraction.

Also It's unclear to me this needed a revival, but I enjoyed it much more t... Read more Read less

70
During previews
Tootsie (NYC)
Midtown W
Problematic, Raunchy, Dated, Great writing, Clever

See it if You loved the movie and want to see a great update. Some really good music and songs, but inconsistent. Good performances.

Don't see it if you hate cross-dressing, foul language, or off-color jokes. It was surprisingly dirty. You don't want to be reminded of 1980s gender roles.

Also A great update of a dated, problematic film remains an imperfect, date... Read more Read less

89
White Noise
East Village
Great writing, Riveting, Upsetting, Excruciating, Great acting

See it if a searing play about racial dynamics in America with excellent dialogue and acting.

Don't see it if You hate being uncomfortable in the theatre. Some of the plot leaps and character actions felt forced.

Also At three hours long, I expected a bit of a slog, but NO, I was glued t... Read more Read less

72
Slow, Overrated, Entertaining, Confusing, Clever

See it if You like magic, mentalism, and excellent stagemanship. You're curious about psychology or "psychic" manipulation.

Don't see it if Incredibly long, repetitive bits; copious audience interaction; or unexplained mysteries bug you. It's a bit preachy.

73
Seared
Midtown W
Banal, Entertaining, Funny, Riveting, Quirky

See it if This is the kitchen equivalent of a backstage drama. A dysfunctional, egoistic chef comes to terms with his limits at a bougie BK restaurant

Don't see it if You don't like small, naturalistic dramas with low stakes and flawed characters. You don't care about cooking, onstage or off.

79
Quirky, Fast, Resonant, Great writing, Delightful

See it if a streamlined, raucous, rollicking version of one of Shakespeare's problem plays with an all female cast.

Don't see it if You don't like cross-casting or streamlined Shakespeare productions. You don't want to engage with your fellow audience.

77
Great staging, Catchy, Indulgent, Epic, Great singing

See it if you want to see a great staging of a very Lloyd Webber musical. The music is great, catchy, and indelible.

Don't see it if The story is... less obviously wonderful. It's a curious subject for these writers, and it seems strange to turn a life into a hagiography.

88
Classic, Slow, Riveting, Intense, Great writing

See it if you want to see one of Shakespeare's best played by a great Irish company in a gorgeous, harsh, mixed modern staging.

Don't see it if You're looking for a fresh take of an enduring, timely classic. But this is a highly competent production with moments of excellence.

Also Even if there's nothing wild or outrageous (as there was in last year'... Read more Read less

85
Soft Power
East Village
Must see, Indulgent, Intelligent, Confusing, Dizzying

See it if this is a thrilling, new, political (meta-)musical with a lot to say about the state of the theatre and the world.

Don't see it if there's a lot going on, and for a while, it doesn't seem like it's going to be a musical. When it is, there's a sharp satirical edge.

Also I decided that trying to explain this show would turn people off, but ... Read more Read less

69
Intelligent, Slow, Overrated, Great writing

See it if you're interested in a solid but safe rendition of a Shakespearean classic.

Don't see it if You're looking for a fresh take or unforgettable performances. You're going to miss the porter scene.

Also Super competent production, but overall underwhelming. I know it's eit... Read more Read less

86
Great choreography, Entertaining, Relevant, Masterful, Great singing

See it if you like David Byrne, Talking Heads, or great concerts. Byrne's performance is engaging and dynamic, but Parson and Giarmo deserve praise.

Don't see it if It's a literal weird to me this is listed as "theatre". This is a concert. An excellently choreographed one, but don't expect anything else.

54
Sunday
Chelsea
Indulgent, Confusing, Intense, Quirky, Banal

See it if you want to see cringey, mean, annoying millennials talk in-depth about a random book (Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant).

Don't see it if you don't like talky, plotless plays; uncomfortable sexual overtones; or incomprehensible dance breakdowns mid-scene.

Also There are some good points to this play. It's broadly well-acted; ther... Read more Read less

85
Stupid F**king Bird
West Village
Great writing, Funny, Indulgent, Absorbing, Clever

See it if a strong production of a brilliant show. You don't need to know or like Chekhov to appreciate this play, but it certainly will help.

Don't see it if small, blackbox productions that run nearly 3 hours aren't your thing. You don't like profanity or breaking the 4th wall.

75
Simple, Refreshing, Hilarious, Erudite, Clever

See it if You want a filthy, classy, hilarious romp through Novak's sexual origin story with nods to Eliot, Nabokov, and Shakespeare.

Don't see it if you don't like standup. This is one comedian on a bare stage with a microphone, speaking in the first person.

87
During previews
Wives
Midtown W
Must see, Indulgent, Great writing, Hilarious, Clever

See it if You like genre-bending, searing comedy that explores gender roles and self-conception across time, place, and culture. Witty writing.

Don't see it if Actors playing multiple characters in different scenes isn't your thing. Non-linear narratives with a clear normative thrust disturb you.

Also One of the most promising, interesting, and funny plays I've seen late... Read more Read less

57
Thought-provoking, Riveting, Indulgent, Dated, Confusing

See it if you really love Williams and want to see him indulging in a new playwriting style that diverges from his naturalistic trademark style.

Don't see it if I think the contemporary reception of the play had it about right: it was a miss, but not a mess. Intelligent, irksome, interesting, obscure

72
Toni Stone
Midtown W
Interesting, Great acting, Delightful, Confusing

See it if April Matthis is incredible. You're interested in a wonderfully discursive bio-piece about a little known pioneer in American sports.

Don't see it if You don't like obscure histories, strong language (there's a lot of it: profane/obscene/racist), or non-linear storytelling.

Also Matthis should win an award for this show. She is pitch-perfect and ca... Read more Read less

55
Quirky, Raunchy, Awkward, Entertaining

See it if You like internet-themed catfishing comedy, or things like Aziz Ansari's book on "modern romance."

Don't see it if This isn't a "play" in a traditional sense, though I suppose it has an arc (she gets a date). Also, there is audience participation.

68
During previews
The Rolling Stone
Upper W Side
Upsetting, Relevant, Intense, Great staging, Great acting

See it if you want to see a well-acted family drama viscerally set against explicitly religious homophobia in Uganda.

Don't see it if you don't like being upset by theatre, you expect fresh takes or in-depth examinations of issues, believe in the #OwnVoices hashtag

Also Ultimately, the excellent actors carry this mediocre play. I find it q... Read more Read less

35
Dying City
Midtown W
Clever, Confusing, Slow, Excruciating

See it if One actor doubling two brothers across time (well-staged) & some ok performances are the only positives here.

Don't see it if Even at 75 minutes, it dragged. The ultimate revelations managed to be both boring and offensive.

77
Ink
Midtown W
Relevant, Upsetting, Ambitious, Clever

See it if A well-written, well-staged, well-acted, clever play about a dispiriting epoch in advertising and culture.

Don't see it if You don't want to enjoy the rise of Rupert Murdoch.

79
During previews
In the Green
Upper W Side
Quirky, Indulgent, Confusing, Great singing, Absorbing

See it if you love music, McLean's music specifically, interesting musicals, great singing, experimental storytelling, or Hildegard specifically.

Don't see it if You're expecting historical narrative, or much of a narrative at all.

Also There is a biographical epilogue that feels tacked on, but largely the... Read more Read less

67
For a previous production
Mac Beth
Upper E Side
Clever, Indulgent, Intense, Disappointing, Great writing

See it if you like the passion of committed amateurish productions with a slightly higher production value or want to see a competent Macbeth.

Don't see it if You're expecting a particularly fresh take, dislike staged violence, or can't understand actors that talk really fast.

Also I'm sure this is what the production was going for, and the young acto... Read more Read less

71
During previews
Cliched, Great singing, Confusing, Enchanting

See it if Wonderful music, especially when the songs aren't expected to the move the plot forward. Great acting from the whole cast, including Teeter.

Don't see it if (never read the book but) I found the plot hamfisted, boring, and heavily reliant on the tired trope of the "magical negro". Lily's annoying

86
Intense, Great writing, Great acting, Confusing, Stressful

See it if An intensely personal look at how smart, self-aware people can participate in toxic, self-destructive behaviors.

Don't see it if You can't take being uncomfortable in the theater or you have no interest in the jagged angles of modern gender interactions.

Also The opening scene was equal parts searing, cringey, and sublime.

95
During previews
Octet
Midtown W
Profound, Masterful, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Absorbing

See it if A stunning, beautiful, haunting a capella musical that explores facets of online existence and hits very close to home. Timely and terrific!

Don't see it if You want loads of plot (there's very little**), instruments (who needs them with voices like these?), or the traditional musical trappings.

Also I loved that Malloy manages to chillingly critique constant connectivi... Read more Read less

53
During previews
safeword.
Midtown W
Raunchy, Great staging, Funny, Disappointing, Cliched

See it if this play had a lot of potential and several great moments. It does a good job explaining BDSM, even if these explanations sap the action.

Don't see it if cliched depictions of couples (mono-straight denigrated, poly-queer idealized), actions and scenes come out of nowhere (mostly from Lauren).

Also The set up was sitcom-y, but the crisis genuinely took me off guard an... Read more Read less

65
Overrated, Masterful, Great dancing, Cliched, Dated

See it if for some excellent performances, tap dancing on the ceiling, several great numbers. You LOVE Porter or Shakespeare.

Don't see it if You don't want to endure a very dated production adapting a very sexist play. I don't want to say it's irredeemable, but maybe unreviveable?

Also Cole Porter is hysterical and clearly brilliant, but the show is just ... Read more Read less