Cloud Nine
Closed 2h 30m
Cloud Nine
78

Cloud Nine NYC Reviews and Tickets

78%
(40 Reviews)
Positive
80%
Mixed
8%
Negative
12%
Members say
Clever, Great acting, Absorbing, Funny, Thought-provoking

About the Show

The Atlantic Theater Company presents a revival of the award-winning, landmark play by decorated British playwright Caryl Churchill, about power, politics, family, Queen Victoria, and sex.

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Member Reviews (40)

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74
Clever, Funny, Great staging, Great acting, Quirky

See it if you're an Anglophile or are in the mood for something very different.

Don't see it if you're easily confused.

82
Dated, Dizzying, Epic, Great staging, Intelligent

See it if You like smart plays that take focus to understand.

Don't see it if You can't sit still for three hours.

Critic Reviews (35)

The New York Times
October 5th, 2015

"Few writers have come closer to making sense of the hormonal urges that rule, transport and disrupt our lives than Caryl Churchill does in 'Cloud Nine,' which opened on Monday night in a glorious revival...This compassionate, tough-loving production finds the ecstasy, tragedy and exhilarating madness of what it means to be part of this eternal ball of confusion."
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Time Out New York
October 6th, 2015

"A delicious hash of gender and genre, 'Cloud Nine' may be less surprising than it was 35 years ago, but director James Macdonald and his cast—performing in the round, to an audience seated on steep wooden bleachers—keep its edges sharp. Troubled and troubling, puckish and perverse, Churchill’s play is still a slice of theater heaven."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
October 5th, 2015

"'Cloud Nine,' now in a superb revival at the Atlantic, has only grown fuller, meatier, sadder, funnier, sexier, and more provocative — more theatrical, too — as the conditions from which it arose have changed radically, and have not...Where it is satirical, it is self-consciously so, and not a day outdated...By the end, in ways both intentional and not, Churchill leaves you feeling as if you’ve lived through the emotional torment of all the decades the play covers, and those yet to come."
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The Hollywood Reporter
October 5th, 2015

"Several decades later, its outlook, if not quite its circa-'79 fashion, feels entirely current as an examination of gender and social roles and broad-minded, matter-of-fact sexuality. It remains intriguing, if no longer quite so subversive...The cast is strong, although some of the act-to-act transformations are less meaningful...There's a sense of fun in the performers that is lost from Act I to Act II, or at least in the characters, which renders their performances less crackling."
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Deadline
October 6th, 2015

"Macdonald has assembled a seamless ensemble and staged the show with a keen eye for its nuances, underplaying where no overstatement is needed. The crackle-golden lighting by Scott Zielinski and elegantly simple costumes by Gabriel Berry all conspire to make the evening as unforgettable as Tommy Tune’s original New York production all those many years ago. As a revelation, it’s déjà vu all over again."
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New York Daily News
October 5th, 2015

"There's a number of good reasons to see the Atlantic Theater Company's very fine revival of 'Cloud Nine,' including Caryl Churchill's wicked and funny gender-bending script about sex, power and roles...Laughs dry up in the less engaging half...Director James Macdonald, who knows his way around Churchill's works, stages the play in-the-round. Cramped wooden bleaches may make your back ache. The play and the performances will make your head buzz."
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AM New York
October 6th, 2015

"Are you willing to endure an extremely uncomfortable seating arrangement for a fine revival of one of the most dynamic English dramas of the past four decades?...James Macdonald has staged the revival in-the-round, with audience members sitting on tight benches around a small wooden arena. It's uncomfortable and, despite the added intimacy, unnecessary. But if you can withstand the lack of legroom, 'Cloud Nine' is experimental, highly political playwriting at its best."
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Theatermania
October 5th, 2015

"Under the sensitive and surefooted direction of James Macdonald, 'Cloud Nine' offers a smart social critique that transcends time. This play could easily be a facile exercise of modern theater folk sneering back at a shameful past. Instead, the shame extends easily into the 20th century and beyond."
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Lighting & Sound America
October 6th, 2015

"A superbly acted production by James Macdonald that shows it to be both fresh as paint and irretrievably kissed by time...'Cloud Nine' that makes enormous demands on its cast, and, thanks to the canny direction of Macdonald the company assembled for this production brilliantly walks the fine line between caricature and real feeling that the author demands."
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Talkin' Broadway
October 5th, 2015

"'Cloud Nine' feels fresh, crazy, and relevant enough to have been written yesterday...That is not to say it works perfectly. Macdonald and his cast haven't yet unlocked the same playful verve in Act II, leaving the last hour of the two-and-a-half-hour evening feeling drearier and less specific than it should...The rest of the vehicle of 'Cloud Nine' still looks and smells new, sure. But the lessons underneath are as timeless and rewarding as they come."
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Theatre is Easy
October 6th, 2015

" Caryl Churchill’s astounding play is bravely and carefully revived...James McDonald has concocted beautifully nuanced, delicate characters... Trouble is, I missed some danger. There’s a lot of laughter in this play, though I longed to find that gut turning, uncomfortable laughter that often accompanies this kind of madness. There’s a forceful, tightness in the first act that has to push us into the place-finding troubles of the second. This metaphorical corset isn’t tied very tightly."
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Theater Pizzazz
October 5th, 2015

"Much of 'Cloud Nine' is a Feydeau farce without doors. It’s a shame it flattens as it progresses, but it’s still a memorable jumble of sex and sexuality, no doubt less shocking than it was thirty-five years ago but still fresh."
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CurtainUp
October 3rd, 2015

"Expertly done and fun as all this gender and role switching is, once you catch on to the satirical expose of Victorian hypocrisy, the humor wears a bit thin. What's more, the gender and race blind casting tends to make the revelations about each character's true nature somewhat predictable. Consequently, one can't help wishing Mr. Macdonald had speeded things up...It's still a provocative entertainment. But don't expect to be on cloud nine in terms of your physical comfort zone."
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Stage Buddy
October 15th, 2015

"The accuracy of cut-glass English and regional London accents may waver occasionally but by and large, the character and gender swapping cast capture the burdens of empire and the permissive levity required by the play's two halves. Director James MacDonald has the 'Cloud Nine' pace merrily galloping the round while the play itself is a punctual reminder of what bad history can breed."
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New York Theater
October 16th, 2015

"I enjoyed this entertaining production, with its seven impressively versatile cast members energetically directed by James MacDonald. That the play remains relevant I find beyond dispute...In a play that purportedly explores colonialism and deliberately casts a white actor as a black servant, it seems a missed opportunity in a production in 2015 for the director to have hired only white actors...The playwright’s failure to deal in any direct way with race dates her play."
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Times Square Chronicles
October 16th, 2015

"The cast is exquisite embodying these characters with aplomb. The direction is interesting...Ms. Churchill's writing is brave, but I get the feeling that now she’s looking for medals."
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The Guardian (UK)
October 5th, 2015

"An unusual fusion of postmodernism and identity politics, Victorian manners and me-decade mores, Caryl Churchill’s 'Cloud Nine' surveys and shatters sex and imperialism. At the Atlantic, this 1979 play has been given a cool and dispassionate revival, which can feel both immediate and outmoded."
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B
September 25th, 2015

"There were two problems interfering with my enjoyment of the Atlantic Theater revival of this groundbreaking Caryl Churchill play. First, my fond memories of the 1981 production set the bar extremely high. Secondly, the seating is terribly uncomfortable...It’s a shame, because both the play and the production have their merits...It is good that Atlantic has revived the play that brought Caryl Churchill to major attention. If only they had given some thought to audience comfort."
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Broadway & Me
October 28th, 2015

"The gender-bending and role reversals may sound confusing but James Macdonald's sharp direction makes them easy to follow and the performances by the show's seven-member cast are across-the-board superb...But the production doesn't get everything right. I can't help wishing that Macdonald had cast some actors of color, particularly in this play where having a white actor play a black character was intended to make a political statement."
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Newsday
October 5th, 2015

"Smart and seriously fun Churchill revival....A production impeccably cast and directed by Churchill specialist James Macdonald; we're aware that a work this clever will always be a step ahead, always pushing us playfully to see human connections that are elusive, important and seriously fun...All perfect."
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Towleroad
October 13th, 2015

"The production, performed in the round, is an appropriately intimate treatment of intimate subjects. The cast is uniformly superb...The shuffling of players, including their cross-dressing, lends integral color to Churchill’s exploration of kinship, gender politics, and shifting ideologies. In their grappling with what they want and from whom, and whether they are allowed to want it and by whom, there are levels are truth that are likely to astound."
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NJ.com
October 8th, 2015

"Macdonald and his very strong cast, let Churchill's words and conceits do most of the work here — and the result, surprisingly, makes a strong case for a play that you might assume would have dated. What very nearly spoils this production, though, is Macdonald's decision to stage the show in the round, with specially-built wooden bleachers. Even worse: The performance space is so tiny that the audience is basically sitting — and sweating — beneath the stage lights."
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The Huffington Post
October 5th, 2015

"'Cloud Nine' is valiant and meaningful, even decades after it was conceived. Though it contains humor, it is not a spectacle. No, the mentally exhausting play requires intensive contemplation and an acceptance of confusion, ambiguity, and perplexity. You're not left with a conclusion, a bit of wisdom to glean and take away into the Chelsea air. In its place, Churchill provides you with hours of material that will frustrate, challenge, beguile, and intrigue."
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Act Three - The Reviews
October 2nd, 2015

"If perhaps Act I was a tad bit too long with a bit of unnecessary exposition and story, Act II was perfectly timed, executed and impactful...Despite the extremely uncomfortable and frankly unsafe seating arrangements that were constructed for this production, the outcome was nothing short of remarkable. A fine cast and a provocative message makes for an exhilarating evening in the theatre."
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Show Showdown
October 10th, 2015

"'Cloud Nine,' Caryl Churchill's brilliant riff on sexual politics, colonialism, identity, and love, is receiving an excellent revival at the Atlantic, directed with a sure hand by James Macdonald...It's strange to live long enough for a favorite play to morph from immediate and contemporary into historical. I'm glad the transition has happened in such good hands."
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Village Voice
October 5th, 2015

"Sometimes a decades-old drama speaks so lucidly today that it reminds us afresh how vast theater's possibilities really are. This is the case with Caryl Churchill's incisive, ironic 1979 play now at the Atlantic under James Macdonald's expert direction...In the hands of this excellent ensemble, Churchill's clear-eyed, darkly comic play shows us how we enact our racial and gender identities, how one form of repression begets another — and just how revelatory revivals can be."
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American Theater Web
October 6th, 2015

"Thanks to a remarkable new production, Churchill’s comedy proves to be remarkably contemporary...Somehow theatergoers feel both drawn in and kept at the slightest remove, so as to keep emotional and intellectual engagement on equal footing...By the time the play reaches its conclusion, there’s not just a sense of satisfaction in having re-encountered it but also one that it is a modern classic, capable of both provoking thought and stirring the heart."
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W
October 6th, 2015

"I was unprepared for warmth, humor and pathos that spilled out from this show...It is heartfelt and honest; often reserved, but never stiff...'Cloud Nine' is directed with a lovely touch by James Macdonald. Written 35 years ago by Caryl Churchill, it feels as fresh as if it was written yesterday. Much has changed since 'Cloud Nine' was first performed but honesty, in desires and relationships, has never been more important."
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Theatre Reviews by John Clum
October 4th, 2015

"Despite an able cast, this revival had no tempo...This sluggish production in an uncomfortable space made one aware how repetitive that first act is. It seemed to go on forever. There were long pauses that certainly aren't written into the script. I have never heard so few laughs during the first act of 'Cloud Nine.' It isn't the cast's fault. Clearly this one is down to the director. I was not the only person to leave at the intermission."
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Edge New York
October 4th, 2015

"The Atlantic Theater Company's revival of the play really gives it its due...While sexuality and gender expectations are certainly Churchill's main interest in this play, the themes of racism and colonialism are also particularly poignant...Less feels at stake in the second act, though the personal evolution of the characters certainly make the ending feel fulfilled and emotionally resonant."
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Let's Talk Off-Broadway
September 29th, 2015

"While the characters in Act I are vivid, the lines witty, and the plot lines interesting, in Act II the characterizations are thin, the plot scattered, and the effect disjointed. This may be intended as a commentary on the times but it doesn’t make for compelling theater."
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New York Theatre Guide
October 5th, 2015

"For anyone who hasn’t seen 'Cloud Nine,' it is worth experiencing this play for the first time and for those who have, it is an enchanting production to witness. Although the content and issues presented in the piece may not leave you on 'cloud nine,' they will leave you thinking, and maybe discovering an honest nugget of truth about yourself that you were too scared to see."
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E
October 6th, 2015

"At its core, theater lifts one out of life and inspires questions relating to how this piece of work relates to one’s own life. Unfortunately, for 'Cloud Nine,' the questions were about the subject matter, the direction, the casting and the writing itself...Most is presented with a comedic tone, with the action happening so fast you forget to stop and think. In other points, the play drags on and has such verbal diarrhea you have to stop and think, essentially missing the next point."
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B
October 15th, 2015

"This lovely, touching performance is running through November 1st, and I do think it’s worth your time...'Cloud Nine' is point blank and subtle all at once. It’s controversial and ordinary. It’s goofy and serious. Done in the round, this production, directed by James MacDonald and featuring a smart, excellent ensemble, accomplishes just what I think the play intends. I would love for you to go and tell me what you see."
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The Huffington Post
October 6th, 2015

"A delightfully ribald revival...The play is a challenge for actors, who not only alter roles between acts, but often change gender as well. James Macdonald, a frequent collaborator with Churchill, has put together a first-rate cast that doesn't miss a nuance in the play."
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