Closed 1h 30m
Babette’s Feast
Midtown W
80

Babette’s Feast NYC Reviews and Tickets

80%
(64 Reviews)
Positive
86%
Mixed
11%
Negative
3%
Members say
Clever, Great acting, Great staging, Entertaining, Absorbing

About the Show

Based on the short story (and made famous by the 1987 Oscar-winning film), this drama tells the story of Babette, a French refugee in Norway, who throws a lavish feast that becomes an agent of transformative grace.

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Member Reviews (64)

83
Beautiful ensemble work, Ambitious, Clever, Quirky, Thought-provoking

See it if you want to experience the difference between the narrow realism of film and the magic of theater. The ensemble is marvelous.

Don't see it if you expect the play to be just like the film. The well detailed characters move the plot forward using song, mime & just a suggestion of set

80
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Quirky, Great writing

See it if you enjoy a very unusual drama with good acting and staging. Costumes very suited to the story. I recommend you read short story to prepare.

Don't see it if you do not like dramas involving religion or you like comedy. Read more

Critic Reviews (21)

March 26th, 2018

"There is a certain elegance to Ms. Coonrod’s decision to let audience members flex their imaginations...But as it is, the revelatory repast feels undercooked...Some of the scenes also fall flat, as when the ensemble vocalizes sound effects while Babette prepares her feast...The feast is about destiny and art, and the joy of living in the now rather than sacrificing for the hereafter...The show tries valiantly to suggest all this, but alas, does not quite succeed."
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March 25th, 2018

"Coonrod charts a radically different course in her production, with presentational ensemble acting reminiscent of commedia dell'arte, Brecht, and (most distressingly) children's pantomime. That tack may have seemed appropriate for a story front-loaded with exposition...Unfortunately, this story about the bonds that can be forged (or rekindled) over a great meal is hard to grasp when everyone is holding their characters at arm's length. The form just doesn't fit the content."
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March 27th, 2018

"A distinctly theatrical dish...It may not be to everyone's taste...Presented in classic story-theatre style, with each member of the company stepping forward to relate part of the narrative...There are several sequences of stylized movement. All of this is executed with precision...A loving and faithful rendition of the original story...This production's overtly theatrical storytelling devices collide with Dinesen's story, with a slightly coarsening effect."
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March 25th, 2018

"Employing a range of story-theatre techniques and hewing closely to Dinesen's short story, the production offers a gentle reminder of a shared humanity in our own trying times...The outstanding nine-person ensemble makes one almost forget the excellent film adaption...The play feels a tad overcooked, particularly in some of the earlier sections. Still, there is much to savor from the performances under Karin Coonrod's resourceful and often highly inventive direction."
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April 1st, 2018

"Like the original story, the stage adaptation of Dinesen's 'Babette's Feast' is one of grace and renewal. While it is demanding and challenging in the way that theater used to be before expensive sets and costumes left nothing to the imagination, its rewards are great. Directed by Karin Coonrod, the nine member cast turns this into a magical theatrical presentation that you will not soon forget."
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March 25th, 2018

"Rose Courtney's amiable stage adaptation [of] 'Babette's Feast' is rife with religiously oriented themes-guilt, suffering, resignation, vanity, mercy, and the like-but their emotional impact tends to be vitiated by the performance style, which dominates the experience. While some may come away moved, others will remember the production mainly for the tang of its presentation. Either way, there's much to be digested from this hour and a half of artistically tasteful gastro-drama."
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March 25th, 2018

"The dramatic adaption is particularly well cast, with nine actors in total...The limited troupe benefits the play in permitting things to flow quite smoothly...Courtney is to be praised for the succinct script that stays true to the essence of the original short story...Direction by Coonrod is impressive...Overall, the play is short, sweet, and endearing. The creative team’s unflinching efforts pay off, and to view the show is an experience worth having."
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March 31st, 2018

"Nearly as simple and spare as the lives of the fanatical sectarians in Dinesen's story...The playwrights have elected to steer clear of realism and any semblance of the visual extravagance associated with Axel's film...While 'Babette's Feast' has a number of highly dramatic moments, the playwrights' reverence for Dinesen's words has led them merely to tell much of the story, using descriptive passages from the original, rather than really staging it."
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March 25th, 2018

"While not giving up an ounce of theatricality, this creation is both beautifully intimate and compellingly open...The direction and the choreography of movement is precise and dramatic, keeping us forever engaged and aware of every shuffle and aroma that exists in the flavor of this small town...Although sometimes a bit slow and meandering, even in its whimsical nature, this meal shouldn’t be rushed and its servers should never be chastised for taking their time delivering it."
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March 27th, 2018

"It falls into overwrought pretention and flat theatrics...There is a lot to work with here socially, emotionally and religiously. Unfortunately, this production does not tackle any of those things. Stylistically, it focuses on poetic presentational language, creative sound design, and has ignored character development, emotional connection, or social context...It’s hard to critique the acting when the direction is so heavy-handed and difficult to see past."
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March 27th, 2018

"It is, of course, not very possible to do on stage what can be shown on film with respect to the creation of a mouth-watering feast. What does come across effectively in this production is the religious austerity of the 19th century Protestant community...Despite all of the effort, the sensuousness so essential to the concept is not there on stage as it was on film even though the production is very faithful to Dinesen. But credit the company with a worthy try that holds our interest."
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March 26th, 2018

"This imaginative, stylized dramatization of 'Babette’s Feast' is rather magical...Director Karin Coonrod does a splendid job choreographing movement and sound that illuminates the story and sustains atmosphere...Caveats: Incidental players might be tamped down a bit to better preserve the play’s tenor. Mugging-for-humor is inappropriate and unnecessary."
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March 25th, 2018

"An example of low-tech stagecraft elevated with imagination and enthusiasm by a company of nine skilled actors...It’s an affecting story, tying together several motifs – the passion of the artist, the goodness that can from the stranger in our midst, and the unpredictable human connections that can shape our lives...This version of 'Babette’s Feast' may not satisfy completely your appetite for soul-grabbing drama, but it certainly provides a stage filled with well-prepared small plates."
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March 30th, 2018

"Thanks to clever staging and Coonrod's respect for audience intelligence, one feels as though a sumptuous meal has been enjoyed without the consumption of a single calorie...Much Christian symbolism can be found in this story of selflessness and sacrifice...Coonrod's cast of nine all work efficiently and effectively to render a quiet, but immensely powerful tale that teaches us how to receive unexpected generosity with open hands and hearts...An unexpected gift to theatergoers."
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March 28th, 2018

"An exquisite and tasteful staging of the New York premier...serves up this week's Easter message of love and grace...Director Karin Coonrod expertly moves actors a few steps to create a change of scene...Employs a minimalist technique, having the actors pantomime most of the props depicted, resorting to the real things only for the feast...The feast is a bit disappointing and doesn't seem all that different from the bland and subdued life that preceded it."
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March 25th, 2018

"Time moves back and forth beautifully to tell the story...Aoki moves the actors around to highlight individual characters as well as create a tightly knit ensemble...But the simple set and staging often leave the marvelous and lively actors stranded...The singing and sound-making create a soundtrack that enlivens the production. The multicultural cast, who play not only young and old but interchange male and female roles, also adds a rich texture that challenges casting norms."
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March 25th, 2018

"It is still difficult for me to think that Dinesen’s story would lack the beauty and contain the silly humor that is inherent in this greatly inferior interpretation. And that inferiority is evident in both writing and most of the performances...Worst of all is the poorly conceived Babette as woefully played by a dour and expressionless Michelle Hurst...The entire production is misconceived which will bring those who love 'Babette’s Feast' to a state of anguish."
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March 31st, 2018

"Conrood has employed a very inventive non-realistic approach, in which the actors mime the props and play both male and female roles, in Botez' all-black costumes, which look Jacobean, giving the town the look of a place that time forgot...The actors are all superb, particularly Hurst, who invests Babette with a quiet dignity."
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March 26th, 2018

"The story itself whets one’s appetite. The setting of the play—brilliantly housed in a Church that is also a Theater, suits the story perfectly...Wonderful cast...The sisters and the other diners have been given a gift. This production leaves the viewer richer as well, and reminds us to graciously accept the gifts of others, for the acceptance of a gift freely given, elevates both the giver and receiver."
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February 5th, 2018

"Retains the message of grace and humanity at the core of the tale, while casting the narrative in an entirely different, highly contemporaneous light. Intriguing and sometimes perplexing in its Brechtian staging, this production adheres closely to the Dinesen text...'Babette's Feast' speaks movingly to a modern world in need of compassion for our fellow beings, beauty and artistry for our souls, and sharing rather than polarizing."
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February 1st, 2018

"Coonrod directs a masterpiece of ensemble work...Every element of both performance and design feels precisely, tenderly conceived, in a rapturous production that exudes warmth, grace, and a true sense of fellowship...Babette’s extraordinary extended cooking sequencebrings together the height of Hurst’s and the ensemble’s skills...A work that is, in the truest sense of the word, transcendent."
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