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Incident at Vichy

From 30 critic and 50 member reviews
Members say: Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Great writing

About the show

In celebration of the centennial of Arthur Miller’s birth, Signature revives Miller's 1964 play 'Incident at Vichy,' about a group of men detained in France during World War II. More…

'Incident at Vichy' marks the return of the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright to Signature for the first time since his 1997-98 Residency. In Vichy, France at the height of World War II, nine men and a boy are rounded up under suspicious circumstances. As ominous reports of far-off camps and cattle cars packed with prisoners begin to circulate, the men battle over politics, philosophy and how to escape. Longtime Signature director Michael Wilson helms this haunting examination of the cold, bureaucratic efficiency of evil—and the shared humanity that might overcome it.


"Michael Wilson's revival of 'Incident at Vichy' is a high-tension 90 minutes. Yet, the time spent with the group of men rounded up in Nazi occupied Vichy France in 1942 is also one of the most satisfying and relevant dramas currently in any New York Theater…While some of the seventeen actors have more significant roles than others, under Wilson's direction they form an extraordinarily effective ensemble...Don't miss it." Full Review

Let's Talk Off-Broadway

"In many ways, this is Arthur Miller’s most pessimistic play, and also perhaps his greatest. At least, this outstanding production makes it seem it is…The ensemble cast is uniformly excellent and Michael Wilson’s direction has a tense driving…'Incident At Vichy' leaves you with the sense that what you have seen surely happened and in just this way...Out of actual events, the playwright’s shaping purpose created a powerful work of art." Full Review

AM New York

"A superb, highly compelling revival…A great chunk of the dialogue resembles a long-winded treatise on psychology and ethics. Nevertheless, the play is suspenseful throughout…The excellent ensemble cast includes Richard Thomas as a genteel Viennese prince, Darren Pettie as an assertive psychiatrist and James Carpinello as a stressed-out, increasingly unstable army officer." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"The 90 minute, no intermission, work is chilling in it’s dramatic intent as it grips the audience in tragic events that will never be forgotten. It is Miller’s way of marking society’s great horror by the Nazis by virtue of a sadistic nature – a frailty of the human race present in each of us. Michael Wilson brilliantly directs this large cast of 17 with an impressive hand." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"A first-rate revival…It's efficient intelligent playwriting that Wilson and a roundly capable, unglittering cast have treated with palpable care and affection…Wilson's well-judged pacing and a suitably bleak physical production further help anchor this as the inevitable potboiler it needs to be. The performances are of one piece, and in firm keeping with the times as well as the mood...'Incident at Vichy' could scarcely feel more alive." Full Review

Magical MissTari Tour

"In my opinion, the play itself is perhaps a tad flawed, in that some of the dialogue is very pointed and didactic, though there is some of Miller's characteristic bold and blunt truths, plus most of the characters are stereotypes...Since this is a 90-minute play, perhaps Miller just wanted to get on with things and not bother with shadings. Even with those flaws, I found the play riveting. Compelling. Horrible (in the best theatrical way). And impossible to look away." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"It deals with powerful themes of guilt and responsibility, tautly dramatized and well-defined. But the play is also talky and didactic, its themes expressed too baldly…Still, the brief work has a gripping cumulative power that builds to a surprising conclusion, which is at once uplifting and tragic. Director Michael Wilson's staging is highly effective, with sound and projection effects heightening the tension at key moments. The large ensemble is mostly excellent." Full Review


"While the play was a noted Broadway flop back in 1964, audiences at the Signature Theatre Center are more likely to give Michael Wilson’s well-acted production of Miller’s examination of the causes of the Holocaust hearty ovations rather than boos. Admittedly, like many Miller works, 'Vichy' has its shortcomings; it can feel overly philosophical, preachy and a touch schematic. But this 90-minute one-act also has enormous visceral power." Full Review


"An admirable staging of a flawed, but effective Arthur Miller play...The acting, though a tad uneven, is still on a high level. This cast generates a convincing ambiance of heightened reality, skillfully avoiding becoming walking/talking metaphors. Mr. Wilson has directed them as real, living, breathing people forced into an artificial theatrical situation." Full Review


"The weakness of the play is that the characters emerge as mouthpieces for different ideas and attitudes rather than as rounded individuals…Miller's larger point of the malignant power of great evil, is not ambivalent, and it resonates strongly in this excellent production, directed by Michael Wilson with a strong, all-male cast of 17...'Vichy' might be more talk than drama, but the situation in which the characters find themselves provides its own, very potent, drama." Full Review


"A striking element of this 'Vichy' revival, coolly directed by Michael Wilson, is that few of the men look stereotypically Jewish - aside from one, whom Miller identifies only as the 'Old Jew'...There’s something chilling merely in the variety of the casting...As soon as we understand there's a question being posed, the stage goes dark. That's silence, speaking louder than words." Full Review

Theatre Reviews by John Clum

"Michael Wilson keeps the play moving and varies the tone as much as the script allows. The cast of seventeen is consistently strong...Arthur Miller is considered one of our best playwrights, yet his work has serious flaws. The very fact that there are no women in this discussion play is reflective of his very old-fashioned sexual politics...Nonetheless 'Incident at Vichy' is worth seeing. The arguments are timely and the performances are excellent." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"The climactic sequence of 'Incident at Vichy' can feel a little too much like a structured debate...Even if a few things about this production don't fully work, it remains a vivid account of the administration of savagery as practiced in a not-too-distant time." Full Review

Broadway Blog

"It’s hard not to hear in the play’s preoccupations echoes of atrocities in the Middle East and Africa, international terrorism, mass deportations and migrations, racial and religious hatred, and many other continuing cruelties that show how little we’ve evolved...Still, everyone’s a theatrical construct, a mouthpiece for an idea or attitude...While this may not be its dream production, it nonetheless conveys those ideas efficiently and, for some, I’m sure, movingly." Full Review


"A fine and sensitively-acted production...Audiences love stories of heroism and self-sacrifice, and Miller does offer some satisfaction on that end, but 'Incident at Vichy' is more about the survival instinct...It can be an uncomfortable play to watch, but it's the discomfort that makes it good theatre." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"Arthur Miller has had a great week in New York, with a riveting production of 'A View from the Bridge' and an admirably effective production of 'Incident at Vichy'. 'Admirably effective' isn't quite so hats-in-the-air as 'riveting,' but then 'Vichy' isn't nearly the play that 'View' is...The play is well worth visiting...which is recommended as an opportunity to catch a sturdy production of one of Miller's mid-level plays." Full Review


"A thoughtful, straightforward, perhaps unavoidably heavyhanded production…How did sensitive Germans turn into Nazis? Is there a limit to what anyone can consider personal responsibility and still be considered a good man? Miller’s answer here may strain credibility, but he certainly asked the right questions." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"A large, all-male cast plays out this incredibly tense drama...Under the steady direction of Michael Wilson, all of the detained men are made full and distinct characters, underscoring the irony that despite their individuality, all are condemned based on a single random criterion...Signature has provided us an opportunity to revisit this complex and poetic work, sandwiched between the Broadway 'greatest hits.' It’s a worthy addition to the centenary season of Miller." Full Review


"While it occasionally feels like an essay repurposed as a drama this excellent cast breathes life into the author's extended musings…Unfortunately, there is precious little sense of impending doom in this play about men waiting to be taken to their deaths...Wilson's faithful, by-the-book staging, however impressive, does little to offset the feeling that we're watching an elaborately decorated college seminar." Full Review

DC Theatre Scene

"'Incident at Vichy' is intelligent, well acted, and occasionally so relevant that it’s chilling... It’s stagey, with a too obvious structure, a problem that even such a first-rate director as Michael Wilson is unable to solve. Some of the debates don’t hold the urgency they had 50 years ago. But there are gasp-worthy moments that make Miller feel like a prophet." Full Review

The New York Times

"As the respectable if sometimes stolid revival reveals, the passing of the decades has perhaps inevitably dimmed the play’s power...What’s appealing about this rare chance to see 'Incident at Vichy' is the opportunity that it affords to hear Miller’s ethical insights and piercing intelligence resounding with such unbridled forthright eloquence. What’s less appealing? Well, all that resounding eloquence." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"The director Michael Wilson has assembled a very worthy revival of Arthur Miller’s very worthy 1964 play, 'Incident at Vichy' which is a pleasure and a problem….Incident at Vichy is an occasionally poignant play...The pessimistic philosophy is somehow too assured. The arguments presented are impossible to disagree with and less nuanced as the play would have us think." Full Review

The Wrap

"Miller is at his best with the back and forth on whether the Nazis have no table manners or provide the world’s best audiences for music. The dialogue is both funny and devastating and the cast effectively makes those speeches more than sound bites from Miller’s socialist playbook.…In the final moments of the play, the acting becomes extremely overwrought. Granted, it’s an overwrought situation, but the results on stage are mawkish." Full Review

New York Magazine / Vulture

"'Incident at Vichy' has too little characterization to support its encyclopedic philosophizing…It is even possible to imagine its being gripping, under the right circumstances. Unfortunately, the current production, directed by Michael Wilson, only reaches that level a few times...The performances are not what they need to be, either. What’s needed are actors who know how to suggest complete histories, even where Miller doesn’t provide much opportunity." Full Review

Time Out New York

"Directed somberly by Michael Wilson, 'Incident at Vichy' depicts 10 men who have been rounded up by the police on suspicion of being Jewish; their papers and their anatomy are to be checked...Earnest urgency often sounds like an essay or a lecture...The paradox of this highly discursive work is that the characters who say the least are in some ways the most effective...Dramaturgically stuffy though it may be, 'Incident at Vichy' gives an airing to still-timely concerns." Full Review

Absorbing, Intelligent, Must see, Resonant, Great writing

See it if You want a thought provoking evening of theater. This is one of Arthur Miller's finest and sadly not produced often plays.

Don't see it if You aren't ready to face some pretty starting truths about the human race.


See it if if you are celebrating Miller's 100th ;andif you you want great writing, acting, and directing in a relevant work.

Don't see it if No reason to NOT see this show

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Profound, Relevant

See it if Time has not aged this drama at all. If slightly melodramatic, fine, but stick with it, as it still packs an emotional wallop.

Don't see it if If the beginning of the German occupation of Europe and the onslaught of Nazism is depressing, then stay away.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Must see, Great writing

See it if you enjoy serious drama from one of our country's master playwrights, Arthur Miller. Also, if you enjoy great ensemble acting.

Don't see it if you cannot understand intelligent theatre that resonates into our world today.

Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great writing

See it if Enjoy great dramatic writing and performances

Don't see it if don't enjoy great drama

Absorbing, Clever, Intelligent, Intense, Great writing

See it if you want to see a serious, thought provoking show

Don't see it if you want to see something light and fluffy

Historically significant, timely, great ensemble acting

See it if You want to see a very timlely and relevant topic for today's headlines, a masterful performance by Richard Thomas and great ensemble acting

Don't see it if You don't like Arthur Miller.

Sad, Absorbing, Great acting, Resonant, Great writing

See it if You love Arthur Miller or WW2-related drama.

Don't see it if You are not interested in dark, difficult subject matter.

Absorbing, Intense, Masterful, Must see, Great writing

See it if You want to see a great drama by 1 of the great playwrights. You want to see history mixed w/philosophy. You want an intense drama

Don't see it if You don't like intense dramas. You prefer more contemporary plays. You don't like Arthur Miller. You prefer comedies.

Thought-provoking, Relevant, Well acted, Surprisingly timely

See it if You want to see a fine Arthur Miller play fluidly directed, well acted and made timely and relevant to current day events.

Don't see it if You don't like a play that openly explore philosophical ideas.

Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Chilling

See it if A riveting story set during WWII aoubt captives, captors, choices made. The array of characters opened so many questions about life & death

Don't see it if You cannot bear stories about the Nazis, do not want to hang on the dialogue, do not find Fascism past and present a serious threat.

Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Resonant

See it if you don't understand why Arthur Miller is still an important playwright today. This play resonates with the rise of Trumpism in America.

Don't see it if you don't like to think at the theatre.

Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Must see, Great writing

See it if you think you've seen every Holocaust story there is to be told (this one is different) and you like intense and thought-provoking stories.

Don't see it if you're in the mood for something light and fluffy.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Resonant

See it if you like "historical" plays that are really well-acted, staged, and unfortunately relevant to politics today.

Don't see it if you don't like intellectual plays that will leave everyone applauding, but sad

Absorbing, Edgy, Great acting, Great writing

See it if you like to see a show that keeps you thinking about human nature

Don't see it if you get upset thinking about how bad mankind can be

Great acting, Makes you think, History-meets-today's-headlines, Worthwhile

See it if a well-acted "historical" play will provoke you to make important comparisons to fanaticism and maintaining one's humanity in today's world.

Don't see it if You dislike "historical" plays and can't tolerate some polemical speechifying among otherwise good dialogue and character relations.

Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Great writing

See it if are looking for a great drama that takes place right in front of you on stage. Also if you like historical dramas, mainly WWII & holocaust.

Don't see it if you are not in to real life drama or are sensitive to that time frame in history.

Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Profound, Great writing

See it if intense discussions of several clashing world views. All relatable at the same time. Changing each other. Brilliantly written and acted.

Don't see it if you're looking for lighter fare.

Absorbing, Clever, Great staging

See it if It is especially potent at this time because it makes you think about all the worldwide issues we remain bystanders to.

Don't see it if I mean I would still see it. Not the best some of the acting was over the top but in all it was really good.

Absorbing, Intense, Thought-provoking, Profound, Relevant

See it if you're an Arthur Miller fan and don't mind a hard look at man's inhumanity to man & the sacrifice it takes to change the status quo.

Don't see it if you've had your share of WWII/Holocaust stories or are offended by harsh dramatizations of what went on back then.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Resonant

See it if you want to see a lesser known Arthur Miller work that has so much relevance today. Stellar ensemble. Nice pacing.

Don't see it if you don't like historical plays, esp with the Holocaust as a very palpable & forboding backdrop.

Intelligent, Intense, Resonant, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if you love WWII dramas you value great writing love great staging and great acting

Don't see it if WWII topics may upset you you don't like slower paced drama

Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Dated

See it if want to see one of Miller's lesser performed plays; good direction and acting (considering we all know the outcome)

Don't see it if you find history plays about the Holocaust disturbing; you expect to see Miller's best writing

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Resonant, Great writing

See it if You like dramas with heavy subject matter and enjoy superb writing, strong performances & material that remains relevant in today's world.

Don't see it if You are looking for something light or comedic.

Absorbing, Intense, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Resonant

See it if you want to see a lesser-known arthur miller, an examination of humans under pressure.

Don't see it if you want to see something light and frothy. This is a play about Nazism and people's' response to it.

Cast & Creatives (24)