Already closed | East Village

Fire and Air

From 158 member  reviews
Members say: Disappointing, Slow, Great acting, Ambitious, Indulgent

About the show

Classic Stage Company's world premiere by Tony Award winner Terrence McNally explores the rich history of the Ballets Russes, Sergei Diaghilev’s itinerant Russian ballet company. More…

Surrounded by great talents of art, design, and music, the tempestuous relationship between Diaghilev and dancer Vaslav Nijinsky revolutionizes dance forever. Directed by Tony Winner and CSC Artistic Director John Doyle. 'Fire and Air' contains nudity and adult themes and is intended for a mature audience.

Member Reviews (158)


Disappointing, Slow, Great acting, Ambitious, Indulgent
Avg Score

Middling, Ambitious, Confusing, Poorly staged

See it if you want to know a tiny bit about these historical figures. Great performance by Hodge who is the show and has 85% of all lines.

Don't see it if You want to understand more about the characters. The staging is confusing and the narrative truncated​.

Also The is a great interesting story behind this play. It's just not reall... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Confusing, Great acting, Poor staging, Intelligent

See it if You like very wordy plays with minimal sets and few transitions between scenes to help you understand the plot development. Beautiful words.

Don't see it if You don’t want to work very hard to keep up with what’s going on, character motives and reasoning. With the minimal set it’s extra hard.

Ambitious, Disappointing, Cliched, Indulgent, Slow

See it if Listless, dull & chronologically confusing, bio-drama captures nothing of the exciting creative ferment of the time Contived McNally prose

Don't see it if Hodge huffs & puffs as Diaghilev but to no avail; other excellent actors wasted Doyle's minimal staging a huge misfire with little dancing!!

Ambitious, Disappointing, Overrated, Great staging

See it if see more

Don't see it if see more

Also partners 85 % & my 70 %... Read more Read less

Great staging, Great acting, Disappointing

See it if evocative Les Ballets Russes drama with a central destructive relationship in the dance world is of particular interest.

Don't see it if you want to avoid the John Doyle treatment. Or if you want to see the nadir of Nijinsky.

Confusing, Boring, Bad direction

See it if you've already decided you like John Doyle's style.

Don't see it if you don't have to. Douglas Hodge is a fascinating performer but that one positive element isn't enough to justify this whole show.

Great acting, Intelligent, Edgy, Slow, Passionate

See it if you enjoy “serious theatre,” terrific performances (give Douglas Hodge all the awards now), or stories about dance and passion.

Don't see it if you like lighter fare and more “consumable” narratives. This one can be tough to follow if your attention lapses (which it very well may).

Entertaining, Slow, Great acting, Confusing, Boring

See it if You are a ballet fan and enjoy stories about ballet impresarios and famous dancers. Nijinsky is the star ballerina. It is a McNally play.

Don't see it if Dislike homosexuality and are disinterested in ballet and creative temperaments. Slow-moving.

Also Marsha Mason and Marin Mazie are wonderful to watch. The young actor p... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Funny, Entertaining

See it if You're interested in the arts especially the history of the 20th Century.

Don't see it if You're already well versed in the history of 20th Century arts

Great acting, Indulgent, Ambitious, Disappointing, Intelligent

See it if you enjoy great acting and Terrence McNally albeit not as his best

Don't see it if confusing cliched drama with male nudity is not for you

Such a disappointment, Spittle and declamation, Banal and shallow

See it if Not compelling or even well written, stale presentation of Diaghilev's obsession with Nijinsky. Lots of scenery chewing for less than...

Don't see it if interesting characters. Can't tell if Diaghilev is miscast, badly directed or poorly conceived but it's a misfire. And stage floor squeaks.

Slow, Excruciating, Disappointing

See it if You want to see John Doyle's latest bare staged play.

Don't see it if If you want an interesting story about Diaghilev and Nijinsky. Mostly Douglas Hodge ranting. Others characters (great cast) wasted.

Also Bare stage. Without props and scenery impossible to know if it is Pari... Read more Read less

Great acting, Disappointing, Cliched

See it if You enjoy a top cast in a mediocre play, sparse set design, and unfocused plot

Don't see it if You want to come away with a clear understanding of Ballet Russe

Great acting, Disappointing, Confusing, Entertaining, Indulgent

See it if you have a strong interest in the Ballet Russe.

Don't see it if you want a show that has a clear plot and comprehensible continuity.

Also While this show has a very talented cast, there is just so much that c... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Great acting, Overrated

See it if enjoy a treatise on Diaghalev by a a playwrite that clearly enjoys talking about art and art-marking

Don't see it if want more than a then-this-is-what-happened story

Intelligent, Slow, Ambitious

See it if You are interested in the Ballet Russes. Douglas Hodge was very good in his role as Diaghilev. The script however was uneven and disjointed.

Don't see it if You want a better understanding of the characters in the play and their relationship with each other.

Also The squeaking floor was a distraction!

Confusing, Masterful acting, Episodic, Unfocused, Has potential

See it if you are interested in the history of the characters or enjoy the actors in the show--they perform the material they are given exquisitely.

Don't see it if you are expecting a clear, linear story line. The piece jumps in time in an often confusing way if you are not expecting it.

Also Potential for a very good show here about the legacy of the Ballets Ru... Read more Read less

Banal, Cliched, Excruciating, Insipid, Slow

See it if you're only interesting in brief nudity.

Don't see it if you want something faster-paced actually about the Ballet Russe.

Entertaining, Ambitious, Must see, Slow, Great acting

See it if You want to see a top tier cast and creative team in a small venue. The performances were excellent, the story okay, and a heartbreaking end

Don't see it if You’re looking for big theater, don’t like erotic works, are a prude, or just really really want something to happen. Lots of quiet moments

Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Masterful

See it if Obsession, love and art brilliantly brought to life by a master playwright, director cast.

Don't see it if If you prefer comedies.

Educational, Disappointing

See it if You know nothing about Sergei Diaghilev or the Ballets Russe and you'd like to know. Or, you could read his bio in Wikipedia.

Don't see it if You want scenery, a conventional plot, a proscenium stage, dancers dancing in a play about the ballet.

Also Mixed feeling on this one. Douglas Hodge is pedaling hard in his effus... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Slow, Great acting, Frustrating, Quirky

See it if you are able to enjoy a group of outstanding actors struggle to bring life to a non-existent play about an important part of ballet history.

Don't see it if you are not interested enough in ballet history to see two hours of research which has not been molded into a coherent well-structured play.

Entertaining, Great acting, Intelligent, Clever

See it if are interested in one of the towering figures of Ballet and his romantic life; excellent performances, especially from Douglas Hodge

Don't see it if Are homophobic, not a fan of history or ballet

Ambitious, Intelligent, Slow, Disappointing, Inert

See it if you are really, really interested in the Ballets Russes and its creators and don't mind lots of exposition and very little drama.

Don't see it if you want to see a genuinely dramatic story with strong dialogue and fully realized characters.

Hot air bonanza

See it if Enjoyable cast of Glover, Mason, Mazzie, Johnson. Learn some Russian cultural history. Mostly very good writing.

Don't see it if Leads are insufferable, playing over the top artistes, easily wearing out their welcome. Minimalist set of two giant mirrors is tres boring.

Also Act Two mini dream sequence imagining Diaghilev's star dancers past an... Read more Read less

February 1st, 2018
"Hodge blusters, whines, and suffers wonderfully, coloring in the character all the way to the outlines, and a little beyond...But if Diaghilev is dramatic, he doesn’t much lend himself to drama...Starved of dramatic propulsion, the play devolves into a symposium on aesthetics...There may yet be ...
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February 1st, 2018
"Under normal circumstances, McNally’s boneless assemblage of scenes would be merely dull, but we’ve all spent the last four months thinking about another bullying producer who demanded sexual thralldom from his stars. Harvey Weinstein’s stink makes McNally’s already disappointing drama seem even...
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February 1st, 2018
"Why is McNally’s 'Fire and Air' such leaden drama?...The play almost never achieves the loft and ferocity implied by its titular elements...You can cast a beautiful, talented actor, but after two hours of hearing about his character’s genius without getting to witness a performance of it, that f...
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February 1st, 2018
"You'll want to learn more about the legendary dance company Ballets Russes...Not because 'Fire and Air' is so good, but rather because the play is so lifeless that the real story must certainly be more interesting...There are plenty of problems besides the writing...Doyle's propensity for minima...
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