How to Defend Yourself
Closed 1h 30m
How to Defend Yourself

How to Defend Yourself NYC Reviews and Tickets

(82 Ratings)
Members say
Relevant, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Ambitious

About the Show

A darkly humorous, emotionally honest new play about intimacy and violation.

Read more Show less

Show-Score Member Reviews (82)

Sort by:
  • Default
  • Standing in our community
  • Highest first
  • Lowest first
  • Newest first
  • Oldest first
  • Only positive
  • Only negative
  • Only mixed
450 Reviews | 148 Followers
Masterful, Fun!, Great writing, Honest, Refreshing

See it if ur a woman who’s not abjured the company of men; considered defending self instead of relying on apathetic justice system/social progress

Don't see it if sick of straight women. Obvsly you care (u have wife/daughters/mom/are a woman!) but dwelling on issues has stopped paying social dividends Read more

226 Reviews | 40 Followers
Relevant, Raunchy, Intense, Great acting, Clever

See it if Really good writing, clever execution

Don't see it if no reason not too, it was really great to watch. a few qualms here and there but i really enjoyed it.

95 Reviews | 6 Followers
Riveting, Relevant, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You like well-written, well-acted plays about contemporary issues, namely campus sexual assault and consent

Don't see it if The topic doesn’t appeal to you; you’re not interested in the inner and outer lives of college-aged people Read more

393 Reviews | 101 Followers
Thought-provoking, Important and timely, Great direction, sound & lights, Excellent writing, Amazing ensemble cast

See it if You’re up for a beautifully cast, fast, funny, relevant and searingly honest evening of theatre. A must-see, especially if one has kids.

Don't see it if No reason not to; the cast and Padilla's ear are remarkable, all catching the tone, depth and complicated layers of college-age reality. Read more

677 Reviews | 126 Followers
Great acting, Great staging, Great use of music

See it if You like shows that not only tackle a difficult subject and really really make you think about it

Don't see it if You like a good clean finish. Some will argue that the last seven or eight minutes may not have been needed Read more

125 Reviews | 12 Followers
Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if explorations of sex, violation, consent, youth. strong cast with ambitious writing and staging. resonant themes. strong choreo/movement.

Don't see it if this lacks some cohesion - many purposefully unresolved plot points that leave you wondering about what you learn. Read more

516 Reviews | 130 Followers
Entertaining, Great staging, Uneven

See it if you're interested in a funny and insightful play that captures Gen Z mentality and confusion about sexual relationship, consent and assault.

Don't see it if you expect a deeper handling of the complexities of consent that don't fall into cliche territory. Ending is controversial, but I loved it. Read more

202 Reviews | 53 Followers
Good self defense and fight choreography, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Absorbing, Good ensemble acting

See it if interest in college students working out feelings/fears thru intimate talks, touch & self defense exercises. Fun moves set to music scenes

Don't see it if Uncomfortable with frank talk about sexual preferences & experiences, young women preoccupied with sex, confusing ending

Critic Reviews (10)

The New York Times
March 13th, 2023

“For as much as the play aims to engage the audience in a fly-on-the-wall view of a group of still neglects to provide the necessary context to make the pre-existing relationships and the character arcs feel real.”
Read more

Time Out New York
March 27th, 2023

"4/5 Stars! While the play has hackneyed moments, many of the interactions feel real and raw, vibrating with authenticity and considerable humor. Padilla doesn't peddle a simplified #MeToo, #AllMen message. 'How to Defend Yourself' is a tumultuous and surprisingly entertaining investigation of how all of us are warped by rape culture."
Read more

New York Theatre Guide
March 14th, 2023

“Liliana Padilla's ‘How to Defend Yourself’ has its moments of strength...The scene is meticulously choreographed, but it doesn't feel like a polished performance. They're tapping into something bigger.”
Read more

New York Magazine / Vulture
March 13th, 2023

“Liliana Padilla’s ‘How to Defend Yourself’ is a hilarious and unsettling play about exercises...everyone approaches the exercises in ‘How to Defend Yourself’ with different levels of seriousness, keeping their actual intentions to themselves or not even understanding their own intentions, which makes for rich material.”
Read more

March 13th, 2023

“ ‘How to Defend Yourself,’ directed beautifully in its New York premiere by Tony winner Rachel Chavkin, is surprisingly hilarious considering its dark subject matter.”
Read more

Lighting & Sound America
March 13th, 2023

Padilla's focus is extremely narrow -- if their characters have any outside interests, we don't hear about them and, aside from an ill-timed girl-on-girl kiss, they are totally heterosexual -- and yet it feels blisteringly honest, a frank portrayal nevertheless informed by a certain tenderness. Especially remarkable is the playwright's ability to foreground the comedy of calamitous social interactions without ever losing sight of the crime that has stained everyone's lives. It's an exquisite balancing act and they rarely, if ever, put a foot wrong.
Read more

Talkin' Broadway
March 13th, 2023

“ ‘How to Defend Yourself’ is messy and sometimes feels less like a drama than a polemic, but people are going to be talking about it, and maybe that talk will wise some of them up.”
Read more

New York Stage Review
March 13th, 2023

“If you’ve already guessed this is an exercise in 21st century women’s empowerment, you’re on the right track.”
Read more