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A Man For All Seasons (Fellowship for Performing Arts)

From 15 critic and 53 member reviews
Members say: Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

About the show

Robert Bolt's Tony-winning drama centering around Sir Thomas More asks a simple question: what price are you willing to pay to keep your convictions? More…

As Sir Thomas More refuses to recognize Henry VIII’s divorce and ascendancy as Supreme Head of the new Church of England, "A Man for All Seasons" reveals the risk of speaking truth to power and the clash that follows when fierce political will collides with deep moral conviction.

This Week in New York Blog

“A superb revival...The pacing of the two-and-a-half-hour show matches Sir Thomas’s approach to life, dignified and steady; it’s a talky play, but it never gets bogged down, since the words are so exquisite. The cast is uniformly excellent...In addition, Scott-Reed doesn’t force contemporary relevance onto the narrative, as references to fake news, governmental corruption, and lies arise naturally in the audience’s mind; explicit references would only get in the way.” Full Review

New Yorker

"A stirring piece of theatre...Michael Countryman is superb, heading an excellent cast. His Thomas is quiet, kind, witty, fiercely intelligent, and morally, perhaps foolishly, incorruptible. Matters of faith and conscience are a specialty of this company, and Bolt’s eloquent, dramatically paced play examines these issues in a riveting historical context." Full Review

Wolf Entertainment Guide

“Bolt’s superb play...The role of More in the current in the hands of the excellent Countryman...Scott-Reed succeeds in stressing key aspects of Bolt’s play despite the small scale of the staging against a background of minimal scenery geared to suggest the 16th century period. This may be a small production, but, acted and staged with intensity, the play still speaks to us.” Full Review

Carole Di Tosti

"An exceptional play about the value of one’s life and the hope of death when that value is removed...A superb iteration of Bolt’s work which posits interesting themes...The playwright’s brilliant work written in the sixties seems especially trenchant in our times...In Countryman’s rendering of More’s traits and interactions...we understand the greatness of More’s mind and character...With this production, the verdict is a resounding bravo." Full Review

Reflections in the Light

“Here's the ‘religious’ show you want to catch on stage while you can...Very good staging...The production is well done on Stephen C. Kemp's mood-creating set with strong performances across the boards. The tale, set in the 1500s seems unnervingly relevant in 2019 America where it becomes apparent that not much in organized religion or politics has changed.” Full Review


“Bolt’s engrossing drama...Is not easy to pigeonhole...The premise is simple...The play is smart and complex and it is served by a cast that across-the-board excellent. It is led by Michael Countryman, who plays More...There is nothing beatific in his portrayal of this future saint and that makes his tragedy all the more compelling...The play may be almost 60 years old and about events that happened almost 500 years ago, but it could not be more timely.” Full Review

Riverdale Press

“A clash of church, state and conscience drives Robert Bolt’s ‘A Man For All Seasons’...A thoughtful production...Though no mention of 2019 America is made (or needed), this showdown of brute power, government bureaucracy and principle evokes echoes throughout history...A universal tale...’A Man For All Seasons’ makes its case, balancing the rich complexity of ideals with the stark options of choice.” Full Review

National Review

"Bolt’s 1960 play will not resonate among everyone, of course: merely those who have principles...There is some debate over the historical accuracy of the play, but the story Bolt tells remains deeply stirring...Countryman’s More, a balding, slight man, lacks the vigor or the authority of Scofield’s More, but his quiet poise serves the material well enough. Cerveris, though, doesn’t invest Thomas Cromwell with nearly as much wicked opportunism as the character requires." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

“You will find little or nothing in ‘A Man for All Seasons’ about More's theology and how it informs his life...Bolt's well-constructed, often-witty drama is a kind of manhunt...Scott-Reed's production is more than passable...Countryman is solid, if slightly colorless...If you've seen the likes of Bosco and Langella as More, this production can't help but disappoint...In any case, Bolt takes a most sensible approach, elegantly tracing the intrigues that brought down More." Full Review


"In recent years the play has not fared with such acclaim. A 2008 Broadway revival starring Frank Langella eliminated the narrator character, the play's cleverest device, and was not well received. Now Fellowship for the Performing Arts has brought the play to the Acorn Theatre directed by Christa Scott-Reed, who also staged FPA's revival of 'Shadowlands' last season. Unfortunately, the academic and unimaginative production fails to bring the ideas and the tensions in the play to a boil." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

"Invites the usual pseudo-Shakespearean acting…Countryman's low-keyed More lacks the brilliantly crafted, charismatic integrity…of…Scofield's magnificent original…However, Countryman's…conflicted soul is more humanly affecting and down-to-earth…than Langella's pompously dull version of 10 years ago…Scott-Reed's blandly conventional production resembles something one might have seen in a college or community theatre 50 years ago." Full Review

The New York Times

"Ms. Scott-Reed’s uneven staging gets in the way of cohesiveness, though...The laugh lines often stumble, too. That’s despite some nice performances. Mr. Countryman is a warmly sympathetic More, and Ms. McCormick is magnetic...while John Ahlin is vivid and comical in two roles, as the ingratiating diplomat Chapuys and More’s enemy, Cardinal Wolsey. But this production otherwise denies More the requisite worthy adversaries, which throws off the equilibrium and dulls the storytelling." Full Review


"A middling off-Broadway revival...His story has real resonance in today's political climate, which the audience will easily grasp, provided it is able to stay awake...Bolt's musty, feinting-at-Tudor style belongs to an imagined past, rather than the fleshy reality of history...Matters aren't helped by director Christa Scott-Reed's by-the-book production...At every step, the creative team has cautiously declined to reimagine Bolt's play for a new century." Full Review


"A thoughtful, verbose drama...Unfortunately, this off-Broadway production by Fellowship for Performing Arts, fails to capture the colorful fascination of the era or the absorbing philosophical heart of the play...In this production, not only do we miss the economic ostentation of historical extravagance but creative staging...Despite its relevance, this revival lacks the theater qualities to rivet an audience." Full Review

Time Out New York

"There are reasons Bolt’s drama is rarely performed nowadays. Long on talk and short on action, the play is a museum piece, and in this production the museum in question appears to be Madame Tussauds. Director Christa Scott-Reed's approach is painfully traditional. The uneven cast sports faux British accents...Since More's demise is a foregone conclusion, there's little dramatic tension, and the play’s arguments are more compelling intellectually than emotionally." Full Review

Great staging, Refreshing, Masterful, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if Brilliant Acting & Staging

Don't see it if you don't like good drama and want a musical

The dangers of thought police

See it if you'd like a stage version of the 1966 film. Very fine, w/ a knockout punch on lethal dangers of thought policemen.

Don't see it if you dislike long think pieces; support statist invasions of private thoughts, reeducation camps and death penalties for those who disagree.

Absorbing, Quirky, Thought-provoking

See it if you want a thought provoking night at the theatre.

Don't see it if you don't like the stripped away, more condesnsed pieces of art.

Intelligent, Great writing, Great acting, Clever, Absorbing

See it if While this show is produced from a Christian theater perspective, it didn't take away from the riveting production. Well acted and absorbing

Don't see it if If you don't like Tudor history, religious and moral debates.

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

See it if You want to see a really compelling drama about a man who clung to his beliefs, whatever the consequences, but did so in the smartest way.

Don't see it if You don't want a long and talky drama.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you love the craft of theater and the power of words. Beautifully acted by all and this is the most human Sir Thomas More. A drama for all

Don't see it if you have no interest in history, human nature, current events or theater. This is not light entertainment but 21/2 hours of engrossing drama

Great acting, Absorbing, Intelligent, Funny, Thought-provoking

See it if you want to see a classic play performed to near perfection.

Don't see it if you don't like plays that make you think.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Masterful

See it if you enjoy a well acted and staged drama about a person willing to die for his views. Wonderful dialogue and just a great play.

Don't see it if you like comedy or you only like new plays.

Also I saw the movie and the Broadway play. This drama is worth a revival a... Read more Read less

Bolt's drama gets a small but compelling staging

See it if Well-done historical drama with fine performances by Countryman, McCormick, Wong and Dugan. Always engaging with nice set and costumes.

Don't see it if discussions of religion and ethics do not grab you. It can get abstruse and didactic -- but I eat this stuff up.

Also A smaller version of the Frank Langella production on Broadway. Remini... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Entertaining, Clever, Delightful

See it if You can appreciate good ensemble acting from an experienced cast and a witty, absorbing script.

Don't see it if You're more into lavish Broadway productions, though this was one of the better off-Broadway shows I've seen.

Also I very much appreciated the acting skills in this play. A good, solid ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Slow, Entertaining

See it if This is a historical drama about Thomas Moore.

Don't see it if No action, flashing lights

Also If you like history, of the time period. King Henry VIII want a new wi... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Slow

See it if Faithful drama of man preserving his moral compass while attempting to ride the wave of conformity. No jiggering needed here. Dedicated cast

Don't see it if Densely written historical dramas can be dry and lengthy when dealing with internal struggles. Countryman lacks resolve in characterisation.

Intelligent, Profound, Absorbing

See it if thought-provoking good acting

Don't see it if you don't like serious films

Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Resonant, Thought-provoking

See it if You love hearing spectacular dialogue and a theme dear to many - integrity

Don't see it if you can't sit thru a normal-length show of yesteryear (2-1/2 hrs with intermission)

Also don't see it if you don't appreciate twisted but logical writing and h... Read more Read less

Slow, Resonant, Thought-provoking, Poignant, Intelligent

See it if a moving, sobering, well-acted dramatization of 16th century tale of a man who held fast to his convictions, amidst self-serving traitors.

Don't see it if a lengthy, at times dry & somewhat dull, narrative will bore you (tho Act II much more compelling); you want contemporary tale & trappings.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Thought-provoking

See it if you like good acting. A well written play with ideas -not flashy, no cursing, no nudity, no projections-just an old well written play !Yipee

Don't see it if you find historical dramas boring...this about Sir Thomas More and King Henry VIII of England (Anne Boleyn fiasco).

Also Play is not complicated and can be summarized in a few sentences. Neve... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Ambitious, Great acting

See it if You want to see a good revival and are interested in English history.

Don't see it if You are not into serious drama or are not interested in English history.

Absorbing, Great writing, Profound, Slow, Disappointing

See it if You love this play and/or British royalty dramas no matter the quality of production.

Don't see it if You’ve never seen this play before and don’t want to start with an uneven, plodding production.

Relevant, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if If you like historical plays and are interested in exploring major ethical questions related to personal integrity vs politics.

Don't see it if You find religious debate tedious or dislike costume drama.

Also Michael Country,an is well worth seeing in the role of Thomas More. Th... Read more Read less

Sterile, subdued, slow, long but not painful

See it if You want to hear a rather pedestrian telling of this compelling history. There is beautiful prose at times but it is lost.

Don't see it if costumes are horribly anachronistic. Set a bit of fun. Staging and direction doesn't add anything--walk on, walk off. No dramatic tension

Disappointing, Flat, Needlessly heavy-handed

See it if don’t mind 2D treatment of 3D material. Crisis of conscience of national consequence reduced to a simple, accessible parable of saintliness.

Don't see it if This isn’t painful, but little reason to go out of your way. Not particularly inspired, convincing, or powerful. Kills a lot of time.

Also Some lines pack a punch no matter what. And people do tend to like his... Read more Read less

Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Entertaining

See it if You are interested in good acting, quick moving play and thought-provoking depiction of historical topics

Don't see it if You don't like history or fast paced dialogues

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Riveting

See it if You enjoy historical theater with solid performances and celebrate the craft of theater.

Don't see it if You can’t imagine sitting through an historical piece and want something that will entertain in a traditional sense

Overrated, Slow, Insipid

See it if You know someone in the cast.

Don't see it if You have a desire for well directed theater, interesting sets, good acting or an engaging evening of theater.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Intense, Resonant, Slow

See it if I enjoyed the writing immensely and I have a long attention span.

Don't see it if if you have a short attention span.

Cast & Creatives (16)