Direct from London, this new, biting play makes its New York debut with Stockard Channing as a woman facing the repercussions of her past. More…
You do not mess with Kristin Miller. In the 1960s, she was a radical activist and political protester. Now a celebrated art historian, the publication of her memoir threatens to split her family apart. But Kristin has never been one to shy away from a fight. A lively look at yesterday’s rebels living in today’s reality.
"Stockard Channing. That’s why 'Apologia' is currently running here in the US, having just got off the boat from London’s West End. It’s a vehicle to showcase her talents, to show the world that at 74 (go girl!) she’s very viable as a person, as a woman, as an actress, as an artist, possessing depth, appeal, strength and power. She’s why I signed up to review. I’m glad I did." Full Review
"'Apologia' must be seen for Stockard Channing's impressive and multilayered performance. But the stalwart actress, at the peak of her form, is far from the only reason for seeing this new, richly resonant play by Alexi Kaye Campbell, which first played in London last year." Full Review
“The clash between a mother’s duty and a woman’s passion and intellect is what is on that table...The battle for a better world is what matters to Kristin, and as portrayed by the always fierce and determined Channing, with rebuttal by the wonderfully diverse Darcy, the heart-wrenching exploration slams hard, shattering glass and thrusting the shards deep into everyone’s skin. The last few moments might not be the strongest residual, but the verdict is decidedly clear.” Full Review
“Family and personal issues are at the root of Alexi Kaye Campbell’s perceptive play...The problems encountered are expertly spotlighted by the fine cast...The direction by Daniel Aukin builds tension with cumulative effect...’Apologia’, for all of the humor it contains along with the outbursts, is a sad play marked by the impressive acting of a well-chosen cast, but it is Channing’s skillfully modulated performance that is especially affecting.” Full Review
“In ‘Apologia’, the well-acted, finely directed...play, Channing portrays Kristin Miller, a long-time activist, American expatriate and noted art historian...Is Kristin’s idealism defensible; what are the personal costs of public idealism? That is a question that the playwright in effect asks in 'Apologia,' but in many ways it’s the least interesting aspect of his witty and engaging play...The contrast between past idealism and present-day reality is a well-trod subject on stage." Full Review
“If you are a Stockard Channing fan like me, you will enjoy this play...No one plays a smart, sharp-tongued woman of a certain age better than Channing...As a showcase for Channing’s prodigious talents, the play succeeds. If, however, you start to look at things too closely, there are many flaws...Channing in action definitely outweighs all these shortcomings for me. The other actors are fine as well...Aukin’s direction is unfussy.” Full Review
“An art historian played with cunning grace by Stockard Channing...Her defense of the Gothic artist...distills the insightful thrust of Campbell’s elegant and deceptively simple play. Everyone has their own concept of value...It’s different for every character on stage as it is for each member of the audience. Our individual conceptions of value reflexively dictate how we measure our own — drama is born in the discrepancies." Full Review
“Successful art historian and proud humanist Kristin makes no apologies for the choices she’s made...Channing is passionate and unrelenting as Kristin...She manages to keep the selfish, smug, and snarky writer from becoming too villainous or a mere relic from a different time...Dancy excels as both sons...Tillinger does his best with Hugh, a thankless part that merely serves as comic relief...Aukin guides the actors through some familiar, clichéd territory that is too straightforward.” Full Review
"In Kristin, Stockard Channing has found a role in which she can fascinate us with the complexities in the character who is the center of the play...Gripping and seasoned with surprise. There is some awkward exposition; and some of 'Apologia’'s conflicts involve incidents that should have been dealt with long before this cathartic celebration; but nevertheless we are intrigued...A powerful play, one in which ugly truths are confronted, and consequences are paid." Full Review
“Dominated by Channing’s tremendous energy and well-acted by a gifted supporting cast, but directed with a somewhat uneasy focus...the play is ultimately about a woman with ideas, opinions and insights who established her independence before it was fashionable—and the high personal price she paid for doing so. The toll celebrity has taken on Kristin, who chose success in a male-dominated society over the needs of her own children, has a relevance today that stings.” Full Review
“The disastrous first-act meal scene is slickly written; the dialogue is loaded with amusing barbs...But there's something a little calculated and mechanical about it, a sense that a series of opposing temperaments have been pitted too obviously against...But the cast, under Aukin's brisk, often acute direction, offers solid support...’Apologia’ sometimes seems assembled -- admittedly cleverly -- out of a kit of devices, but Kristin, especially in Channing's hands, is the real thing.” Full Review
"Let us heap accolades upon Stockard Channing, who finds a pulse and thrillingly breathes life into Alexi Kaye Campbell's 'Apologia,' a somewhat squishy play...While there is no getting around the weaknesses in the play's thin plot and characterizations, what a showcase ‘Apologia’ is for Channing, who gives as textured and layered a performance as you are likely to see for a very long time.” Full Review
“’Apologia’ is very much The Stockard Channing Show...Campbell seems so intent on creating a monster mother that there is no glimmer of an alternate view...All we can do is sit back and enjoy Stockard’s monstrous machinations...Stockard is razor-sharp and immensely entertaining...Let her plant her teeth in a juicy role, and she is likely to wipe away any complaints about dramatic flaws...She is ably supported by a cast of five...The play is not nearly up to the star.” Full Review
"Channing smolders and terrifies in this moody, atmospheric production directed with haunting élan by Daniel Aukin. Overpowering Mr. Campbell’s sparring dialogue, though, are the stunning tableaus...The play doesn’t quite make the grander statement it purports to...Campbell paradoxically doubles down on a sexist trope, inviting the audience to judge Kristin’s parenting, or lack thereof...Channing does make a chilling and lasting impact in her performance.” Full Review
"So – at this festive gathering, filled with crackling confrontations – is there a chance for a reconciliation? A solid emotional payoff? Not much...While director Daniel Aukin has imported most of London’s West End cast and (director) John Tiillinger returns to the stage as an actor, the focus is clearly on sharp-tongued, yet acutely vulnerable Stockard Channing, whose provocateur performance is riveting." Full Review
“While we've certainly had our share of dysfunctional family dramas another London production gained traction...And it's that rather too neat and talky merger of political and family drama that's now in its NY premiere...Channing, who does imperious women with a streak of vulnerability extremely well, plays the feisty Miller...Though Channing unquestionably has the hostess with the mostest star power, the actors playing the five other party guests do excellent work.” Full Review
"Mildly entertaining if unexceptionally conventional…Primarily attractive for its memorable portrait (and Channing's performance) of Kristin…Structured around character revelations rather than plotting. Some of it seems familiar from other plays (especially the Seagull-like scene between Simon and Kristin as she tends to his hand), and not a little comes off as phony and cliched…It's never boring, has some worthwhile moments, and, when you get right down to it, Stockard Channing." Full Review
“Ms. Channing's performance in 'Apologia'...goes some distance in disguising the labored exposition of a work that never quite achieves a natural flow or moves you as much as it should...The layers of Channing’s interpretation, with its core of lacerating anguish, are more intriguing than the plot that builds to an anticlimactic reveal...The dialogue only rarely feels organic...But it is Ms. Channing’s complex, contradictory Kristin who keeps us thinking long after the play is over” Full Review
“Aukin has put together an elegant production with a uniformly fine cast, and the writing is laced with poignant Chekhovian shadings. But thematically, we've been down this road many times before, with more penetrating insights...Miller is a juicy role for the inimitably acerbic Channing. Or she would be if the complex character hadn't been shortchanged by the playwright...The writing makes it tough to care about her...This 10-year-old play still needs work.” Full Review
“Channing becomes the focal point...And here she makes the most of her signature dry delivery...Even if the material she is given is not always worthy, Channing's depth and appeal gives it gravitas. 'Apologia' is basically a family drama, insightful but rambling and talky, yet it still has Channing to captivate the viewer plus a winning supporting cast...A play of self-explanations, complaints, provocations and no real conversation but plenty of spiked comments." Full Review
“Channing is a force of nature to be reckoned with. Even when the material is sub-par and not to her level of expertise, she still captivates you. There are very few stage actresses left of Channing’s caliber who can dazzle you from the first moment to last...Unfortunately, Aukin doesn’t do much for the proceedings; he just lets the scenes ramble by themselves...You are left with an unfulfilling drama, and stock characters that are not fully developed." Full Review
"Channing manages to make a compellingly conflicted figure, but the play doesn’t give her a lot to work with. It creaks with contrivances and clunky, expositional dialogue...Aukin doesn’t seem to know how to handle the play’s schlock factor...The play means to examine the costs paid by women who open their own doors...But it’s not grounded deeply enough in reality to tell us much about those women—except to remind us of the pleasure we still seem to take in making them cry.” Full Review
"In Campbell's 'Apologia,' Stockard Channing reminds us how much we've missed witnessing her onstage since her last outing. Better still, that feeling never leaves us during our two-and-a-quarter hours at the Laura Pels. The arched eyebrow, the razor-sharp, martini-dry delivery of a barb, the barely concealed hurt traveling across her face, the deep emotional connection to a character: all of these qualities come to the fore in Channing's superb portrayal of Kristin Miller." Full Review
"The template is a familiar one: a disconnected family reunites around a dinner table...Quieter confrontations, further revelations, and soul-searching occur after intermission with an ambiguous resolution for the final curtain...The characters are too predictable...Campell’s wry script and Daniel Aukin’s tidy production offer many pleasures such as tight, well-paced staging and crackling dialogue...But there are too many loopholes and cliches." Full Review
“Channing gives a powerful performance...Unfortunately, ‘Apologia’ doesn't reveal enough of its characters' lives for us to be invested...Aukin tries to ignite Campbell's sometimes stilted dialogue...but the action never really gets above a smolder...In the end, ‘Apologia’ has some tasty morsels to offer about the need to forgive ourselves rather than coming up with arguments to justify our shortcomings, but the play never gets warm enough to cook up a satisfying meal.” Full Review
See it if you enjoy smart, rich, meaty, relevant plays with interesting characters, outstanding lead performance by Ms. Channing and great direction
Don't see it if you're tired of those family plays where parents are confronted by their children with the tough life choices they were forced to make
See it if you enjoy great acting and a play that beautifully meshes the personal and the political in complex ways.
Don't see it if you like plays with tidy emotions or in which the characters have to be likable.
See it if It's a complete artistic vision with great staging and acting and the lighting and set are exquisite. Great characters with great lines.
Don't see it if It's not an action oriented show with a strong plot.
See it if if you like drama. excellent theatre. Top acting performances (Stockard Channing! Dancy!). Family emotional drama. if you're a single mom
Don't see it if if an annoying American character will bother you. if you like slick gimmickry. This is sharp, biting, poignant timely drama.
See it if you like great acting in a play that has something to say about relationships,sacrifices,choices, forgiveness.I LOVE this show.Don't miss it
Don't see it if you want a silly farce or a light hearted musical.This will make you think and feel and reflect--and that's what theatre is all about. GO!
See it if A woman of lettres sacrifices for causes larger than self and is dismayed when others do not. Sons resent being cast-offs. Terrific cast.
Don't see it if At its core, it's just another tale of mummy-can't-have-it-all. Dimly-lit second act.
Also Title refers to defending one's life without apology.
See it if Pitch-perfect Channing and Dancy with strong support peel layers away from their armor as play develops
Don't see it if Family dysfunction may hit close to home; intellectual play as some #FirstWorldProblems connotations
See it if you don't mind yet another "domestic drama" unfolding around a kitchen table (i.e. If I Forget; The Humans) but with more grit and feminism.
Don't see it if uneven pacing, at least one miscast actor, and an unsatisfying use of Hugh Dancy's second role will bother you; seeking something flashy.
See it if you love great acting - Stockard Channing won’t disappoint you. Hugh Dancy also equally enchanting. Dialogue crisp. Emotionally satisfying
Don't see it if you are not too keen on watching family drama.
See it if You love anything Stockard Channing does. She's excellent in in the role. Brilliant writing and very thought provoking.
Don't see it if You want something light that can wash over you.
See it if You like smart, relevant shows. The acting is wonderful and Stockard Channing is worth seeing. Thought provoking about feminism and family
Don't see it if You want a musical or big production. This is a play based on conversation and ideas.
See it if You like wordy character driven plot lines with lots of long monologues delivered by exceptional actors.
Don't see it if You’re looking for lots of action or a story that wraps everything up in a tidy little way for you at the end. This one makes you think.
See it if heartened by # of new plays praising female valor outside the home (Gloria, Bern/Ham, Doll's House, Pt. 2, What the Constitution Means...)
Don't see it if you’re anxious that at this rate there’ll be no more room left for Arthur Miller revivals
See it if you're a fan of: Stockard Channing & Hugh Dancy, intellectual British theatre, smart story telling, great directing & high production value
Don't see it if You're not a fan of Stockard Channing, you find contemporary British plays heady/self-conscious, you bore if you have to pay attention
See it if Entire cast is first rate and story is engrossing, if a bit indulgent. Channing is a tour-de-force.
Don't see it if This is a heavy roller coaster. Stay away if you want light fare.
See it if You adore Stochard Channing as an actor. It’s always a good thing to know how right you are in admiring this actor. She awes.
Don't see it if If you don’t like plays where it’s hard to pinpoint the blame for disfunction. This is a thoughtful play that makes you think.
See it if you enjoy a mixture of contemporary and modern plays. This play resembles something in between with an old set but fairly modern topics
Don't see it if You want a straight forward plot and dont want to contemplate and think about the lot along the way.
See it if You love Stockard Channing and Hugh Dancy, and a good, meaty drama with comedic moments.
Don't see it if You only like light, fluffy comedies and don't care for gripping family stories with uncomfortable moments.
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