Closed 2h 0m
Life Sucks.
Midtown W
82

Life Sucks. NYC Reviews and Tickets

82%
(321 Reviews)
Positive
88%
Mixed
8%
Negative
4%
Members say
Clever, Great acting, Funny, Entertaining, Great writing

About the Show

Wheelhouse Theater Company presents the New York premiere of Aaron Posner’s reimagining of Chekhov’s timeless classic, "Uncle Vanya."

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Member Reviews (321)

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78
Engaging, Well acted, Uneven writing, Entertaining, Funny

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.

72
Overly long, Engaging, Entertaining, Well acted

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.

Critic Reviews (18)

June 23rd, 2019

"Aaron Posner's LIFE SUCKS. Urges Chekhov and His Characters To Get To The Point"
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July 11th, 2019

"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."
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June 16th, 2019

"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."
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June 18th, 2019

"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.”
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June 21st, 2019

“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.”
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July 13th, 2019

"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."
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June 16th, 2019

"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."
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June 22nd, 2019

"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?"
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April 1st, 2019
For a previous production

"Bitingly funny, unexpectedly touching play...The characters and basic plot will be familiar to 'Uncle Vanya' fiends. But at the same time, 'Life Sucks,' will be familiar to just about anybody...Briskly directed by Jeff Wise for the Wheelhouse company, the production keeps finding perceptive ways to rejuvenate the story. As portrayed by Mr. Biehl, for instance, this Vanya is a tightly coiled ball of frustration and pent-up fury rather than the embittered truth-teller we tend to get."
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April 7th, 2019
For a previous production

"Posner may have borrowed Chekhov’s kaleidoscopic love pentangle, but he’s updated events to the present day and salted the evening with postmodern hijinks, which include frequent check-ins with the audience and a theaterwide show-of-hands about regret...It helps that one could mount a superb 'Vanya' with this exact cast; it’s a dream team, warm and real and confident under Jeff Wise’s calm direction. And Posner's credo resonates beautifully with the 1898 play."
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March 29th, 2019
For a previous production

"It’s a wild yet emotionally resonant work...Characters address the audience directly, they engage in sly wordplay, overlapping dialogue is common and absurdism abounds in this free-form yet faithful treatment...That the flawless ensemble is so easygoing and seamlessly connected is a testament to Wise’s great skills. Despite the piece’s excessive length, Wise succeeds at maintaining momentum while mining all of the comedy and emphasizing the reflectiveness."
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April 14th, 2019
For a previous production

"Offers enough differentiation while staying true to the original that it's a welcome addition to the season. We already had a definitive Vanya in Jay O. Saunders, but Jeff Biehl proves that there is always room for more memorable portrayals of the character...The tight ensemble is so natural that at times scenes seem improvised (some credit for this must also go to director Jeff Wise)."
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March 29th, 2019
For a previous production

"The abundant twists and turns in most narrative arcs ultimately boil down to a series of themes...There is no wall between the characters and the audience. The characters tell their problems, secrets and intentions to the audience and often ask for their advice and opinions which the audience has no problems sharing...The play is never boring, the language is funny. The situations are ludicrous. The best reason to go is to watch Austin Pendleton own the stage."
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March 28th, 2019
For a previous production

"It’s a light and airy play made out of the building blocks of life, presented with doses of humor poking fun at the ridiculousness of our views of ourselves, our relationships, and our desires. Sometimes schmaltzy, farcical, sometimes a little pushy and redundant, you can’t but help to take what’s happening on stage in front of you and layer it on to your own precious life...The cast works together very well, especially in two-person scenes."
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T
March 31st, 2019
For a previous production

"One of the best plays of 2019, Aaron Posner’s outrageously funny, irreverent reimagining...Wise controls the glorious chaos as the barriers between what is real and what isn’t break down in hysterical ways, but it’s key to understand that the characters are always the characters, never the actors portraying them...The cast is splendid...A 'Vanya' for the twenty-first century, a brilliant skewering of contemporary values and, in the end, a triumphant celebration of that little thing called life."
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T
March 28th, 2019
For a previous production

"Aaron Posner spins an effective comedy out of these familiar characters and situations...There are plenty of laughs throughout this production...In between jokes, there is all the Chekhovian self-absorption, self-deprecation and self-torture one could hope for. This playwright knows it is always fun to 'watch privileged, arrogant people argue endlessly' about meaningless esoteric minutiae."
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I
April 8th, 2019
For a previous production

“Despite some new, deliciously playful touches, the whip-smart play surprisingly tracks the underlying work faithfully...The brash ‘Life Sucks’ endearingly wears its heart on its sleeve, unlocking the well-worn play for today’s audiences in a way that’s both accessible and authentically wise...I’ve never seen Chekhov more entertaining, thanks in large part to a truly stellar cast...There’s a certain uncanny truthfulness to the acting...Resulting in a kind of alchemy that can only occur in the theater.”
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April 4th, 2019
For a previous production

"Despite the talent assembled on stage, and some funny, well-timed zingers, what we’re largely presented with is cynical, expletive-laden speechifying about how human relationships are difficult and desire can be frustrating...The result is crude and superficially clever, and ultimately quite empty...At times the play seems to be flirting with farce, at other times satire, but it never entirely commits. The play mistakes cynicism for wit, and vulgarity for irreverence."
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