Henry VI (National Asian American Theatre Company)
Midtown W
87

Henry VI (National Asian American Theatre Company) NYC Reviews and Tickets

87%
(52 Reviews)
Positive
100%
Mixed
0%
Negative
0%
Members say
Ambitious, Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing, Epic

About the Show

NAATCO (The National Asian American Theatre Company) presents a new adaptation of Shakespeare's historical trilogy, condensed into two parts and performed in rep.

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Member Reviews (52)

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75
Great staging, Profound, Resonant

See it if A non traditional Shakespearean play that has 16 members play 100 characters. Females in Male roles. Clever fight scenes.

Don't see it if If your traditionalist Shakespearean. A bit long but holds your attention.

91
Absorbing, Great staging, Must see, Ambitious, Epic

See it if you want to see a 1st-rate company mount a riveting, lively, deft, accessible, unimposing, relevant, rewarding staging of a challenging work

Don't see it if you don't have the 6 hrs (over 2 parts) to devote, as you really should see both parts if you're going to see it at all [But it's worth it!] Read more

Critic Reviews (14)

August 31st, 2018

"It’s a production that asks nearly six hours from your life, but it repays you handsomely. Fast-paced and gripping, this is an unusually lucid staging of a bloody history play, whose surfeit of schemes and villainy could make a daytime-drama writer blush. Yet for all the battles and beheadings in Stephen Brown-Fried’s handsomely designed production, never does it take death lightly. That’s one of the remarkable things about it."
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August 23rd, 2018

"One is inescapably reminded of Shakespeare's enduring modernity. These plays, written in the late sixteenth century, depicting events of nearly a century earlier, are defined by a cool, calculating gaze that seems thoroughly of today...Under Brown-Fried's direction, the overall performance is, almost necessarily, uneven...Still, the sheer sweep of Shakespeare's vision holds one captive, and the fast-paced, highly economical staging never sags for a moment."
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August 25th, 2018

"Not that NAATCO doesn't do a splendid job with this vivid history of the Wars of the Roses...There's just so damn much of it...It's a lot to keep track of and much of the first hour or two at NAATCO is spent wondering, Who's he? Who's she? Why are they so angry at each other?..Once you've puzzled out the dramatis personae, it's relatively easy to follow, and the emotions rattling across NAATCO's ample stage are strong and affecting."
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August 23rd, 2018

"The National Asian American Theatre Company and director Stephen Brown-Fried have smartly condensed the three plays into two. The total running time is still more than five and a half hours, but it’s a small price to pay for such an ambitious production...For me, the best part of these plays was the discovery of the mouthy Margaret, the ball-busting queen...The text could have been cut a smidge more."
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August 22nd, 2018

“Inventive and spectacular two-part adaptation...An excellent all-Asian cast...Creatively conceived by Brown-Fried and superbly directed by him, his Orson Welles-like vision transcends the difficult material. This sterling production is also an inspired example of American actors succeeding at Shakespeare...Brown-Fried obtains uniformly vivid performances from them and the semblance that they are a unified company.”
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August 21st, 2018

"Because these actors would seldom be cast in most productions of this difficult, rarely staged trio of plays, there’s a palpable urgency in the excellence of the performances. By the end of six hours, it’s hard to picture anyone else in these roles, thanks to the relentless power of this company’s efforts. That our focus holds for this (very rarely wearying) marathon is in large part due to the boundlessly creative, perpetually smart direction by Stephen Brown-Fried."
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August 24th, 2018

“This production is not to be missed...NAATCO has pulled out all the stops to make the entire story as clear as possible...The standout...is the absolutely fantastic staging, which lends an intensity and excitement to the plays that might otherwise have been lacking...The cast itself features standouts who make ordinary roles rise above their usual prominence in the plays...This production exposes more than usual the universality of Shakespeare’s themes of war and avarice.”
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August 25th, 2018

"The ambitious staging combines Shakespeare's three parts into two...The production is sprawling, and at moments drops into sluggishness. But at its best, the breadth of the universe and ambition of the storytelling becomes truly dizzying...NAATCO's 'Henry VI' demands a lot of your time and your attention, but for those willing to put in the effort, the impressively acted and thoughtfully enlightening production proves to be an striking new take on this historical classic."
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August 31st, 2018

"Under Brown-Fried’s inspired direction, this company has taken these histories and brought out only their best elements...There is little to no issue of confusion as actors appear in multiple roles: Aside from ample context given during the scenes, the integrity of many of these roles were solidified by extremely memorable performances...The work of the actors and Brown-Fried’s condensation has greatly improved the pacing...There’s something in this show for everyone!"
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August 21st, 2018

“Brown-Fried’s adaptation is simply but gorgeously designed, largely well acted, and effectively staged...with exciting choreography, suspenseful music and dramatic lighting...Sixteen actors portray some 100 characters...there is just no way that mortals can keep track of who’s who without some assistance...Adding to the confusion is the casting of several actresses...in both male and female roles...Still, there are enough vivid performances to anchor this English history lesson.”
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August 27th, 2018

"Staged with great style and verve by the National Asian American Theatre Company (NAATCO). One lesson from this engaging account: The downfall of a bad ruler may be prologue to one who’s even worse...Brown-Fried has assembled a solid acting ensemble and design team for this cynical, gory epic..I never tired of NAATCO’s appealing, expert ensemble as it navigated the twisty chronicles."
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August 28th, 2018

“Brown-Fried has skillfully streamlined the text of Shakespeare’s monumental trilogy...The perspicaciously abridged script keeps this ‘Henry VI’ moving at a gallop...The most striking physical aspect of this production is its battlefield choreography...The 16 actors embody a massive number of roles, with doubling that's always effective and intriguing. All performers aren't equal in technique, but none are markedly weak. And the principals are everything one might hope.”
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I
August 27th, 2018

“This nearly six hour condensation smartly keeps the action moving at an exciting clip without sacrificing the many details of the dizzying plot mechanizations...Brown-Fried helms this huge effort...and he does so with impressive theatrical imagination and thrilling momentum...even if some performances/performers were stronger than others – veteran actors Katigbak and Bose were in particularly fine form – it was a great pleasure to see these underserved actors in such non-traditional roles."
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August 23rd, 2018

“Elegant two-part adaptation...Accented by gender-blind casting...The end effect is superb: we focus on the power held by the characters, not the anatomy...Algya’s sound design provides a throbbing drumbeat of battle scenes...Slaven’s splendid costumes are used to provide narrative clues...Fight scenes...are also key to the success of this beautiful pair of plays...From the battlefield to the bed chamber to the royal court, we are never allowed to settle into any kind of realistic world."
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