See it if Interesting and engaging adaptation of the original. Well acted and staged. Overall entertaining and thought-provoking.
Don't see it if Writing can be droning at points.
See it if You enjoy character dramas. Talented ensemble. There are some great scenes.
Don't see it if Show feels a little long - some parts dragged.
See it if You want to see a truly inspired take on Uncle Vanya. Great writing/acting/set/lighting/costumes and direction. Even moments of improv work.
Don't see it if You’re a purist. This is not your classic Uncle Vanya. They break the fourth wall. I think it works beautifully but it is quirky. Read more
See it if you'd enjoy a great troupe of actors on an excellent set bringing a wacky cast of characters to life in a well-written play about life.
Don't see it if you do not like plays that break the fourth wall or that rework the writing of others in a contemporary vein with rough language. Read more
See it if Fresh, modernized take on UV. The acting convinced me that this was a crotchety family. Some very funny moments. Lots of emoting.
Don't see it if You don't want to listen to people complain about being unhappy for 2 1/2 hours. You don't like 4th wall breaks & audience participation.
See it if you enjoyed "Stupid Fucking Bird" & like seeing Chekhov satirized, "Moscow Moscow etc" was too over the top for you, fan of Austin Pendleton
Don't see it if Chekhov is sacred to you & never be satirized/updated, didn't like Posner's prior take on Chekhov, you want verbal slapstick as in"Moscow"
See it if innovative work interests you. While it is based on Uncle Vanya, it is also creatively ambitious breaking the 4th in amusing ways.
Don't see it if plays that focus on family interactions do not interest you even if it is a somewhat odd family.
See it if you like a modern updated version of Uncle Vanya. Very clever dialogue and good acting.
Don't see it if you don't like Uncle Vanya or like plays with lot of action. Read more
"Aaron Posner's LIFE SUCKS. Urges Chekhov and His Characters To Get To The Point"
"Posner acts rather like a tailor, undoing the original script's seams and opening it out, providing room for a form of hilarity grounded in existential sorrow…Jeff Wise skillfully guides his cast through one mortifying situation after another…For all that Posner builds his work on another artist's foundation, he is a true original."
"What’s magnetic about Posner’s updates is their highly dramatic flair. He has great personal fun compounding his Rubik’s Cubes with metatheatrical bits that might have had the good doctor Chekhov stuck for a critical diagnosis...Obviously smart as a whip with his innovations, Posner sticks nonetheless to Chekhov’s basic proceedings...By adhering to Chekhov’s themes, Posner keeps love, longing and frustration streaming through the proceedings."
"We can't help thinking Chekhov would be delighted with Aaron Posner's 'Life Sucks'...Posner's characters use profanity onstage that would no doubt have shocked Chekhov and his audiences. Their concerns reflect modern times...What's more, the actors are continually and delightfully breaking the fourth wall...What makes this re-interpretations so funny and so true is the way Posner makes everything that Chekhov sedately states or subtly implies blatantly announced.”
“The story is Chekhov’s ‘Uncle Vanya,’ but the characters have had the sawdust in their veins replaced with real blood...These characters know exactly where they are...They are here to defend their point of view...An evening of love, longing, and loss...Peppered between those layers are bursts of brilliance, belly laughs...and moves that would put a three-card-monty master to shame...The writing, directing, and acting combine to produce a little slice of heaven.”
"With a cast made up of seasoned pros pulling out every jocular witticism that can be found in the play,..Fleeting joy gets its blender buttons pushed with absentee glee by all, including Pickles' puppets, with a pained, weighted indulgence masked as light depression for laughs. It clearly is smart in its humor, but deep subtext is nowhere to be found. Fleeting joy gets its blender buttons pushed with absentee glee by all, including Pickles' puppets, with a pained, weighted indulgence masked as light depression for laughs."
"I’m afraid that I can’t join in the enthusiasm for the play. Posner’s method seems to involve using the F word as often as possible, adding a few contemporary touches such as a reference to student loans, and breaking the fourth wall not only to address the audience but to interrogate it...The direction by Jeff Wise at times seemed sluggish, at other times indulgent. Aside for a few moments, such as the confrontation scene between Ella and Vanya, I was rarely moved."
"A self-help talk-show version of this magnificent play, one that requires audience participation in the most cringeworthy of ways, and embarasses itself in the process. Jeff Wise directs with a shamelessly heavy hand, flirting with cute...The actors — a cast that might have been good in a good play — are arch and metatheatrical...Why wreck Chekhov in the process of showing us what we already know?"