Ends Sep 01 | 2h 0m | Midtown W

Life Sucks.

From 285 member reviews
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."

It’s Chekhov without the birch trees. After taking aim at "The Seagull" with "Stupid F*cking Bird," Aaron Posner is back with an irreverent contemporary remix of "Uncle Vanya." Egos clash, hearts hunger, and souls cry out for meaning. Life staggers. Life confounds. Life is beautiful. 

Member Reviews (285)


Clever, Great acting, Funny, Entertaining, Great writing
Avg Score

Relevant, Delightful, Quirky, Great writing, Great acting

See it if you want to see a well written updated version of Uncle Vanya set in present time America. The cast interacts with audience in a fun way.

Don't see it if if you hate it when actors in an improv sense asks the audience questions and expect answers. This updated version takes lots of liberties.

Relevant, Quirky, Intelligent, Entertaining, Clever

See it if You like adaptations/updates of classics. This Vanya is touching, thought-provoking, and entertaining. Audience interaction is fun.

Don't see it if You are a purist. This is a loose version of Vanya. Runs a little long, perhaps. But I would give it a try anyway.

Resonant, Intelligent, Clever, Great acting, Great writing

See it if You appreciate great writing and acting in an intimate setting. Clever exploration of relationship dynamics

Don't see it if You want a short and literal rendition of Uncle Vanya

Relevant, Great writing, Great acting, Funny, Absorbing

See it if breaks the 4th wall in an easygoing way, my friend loved the humor - I thought it was funny also, exploration of human need - sad with hope

Don't see it if you dislike plays with small vignettes that contribute to an overall point, but not necessarily traditional plot development

Also The staging caught my eye from the moment I walked in and I thought th... Read more Read less

Indulgent, Insipid, Disappointing

See it if you're a fan of Chekov and want to see an adaptation with talented actors.

Don't see it if you want to see a well written and directed drama.

Quirky, Funny, Entertaining, Ambitious

See it if you're interested in a modern take on Chekhov's classic Uncle Vanya.

Don't see it if you prefer your classics served up as originally written.

Funny, Disappointing, Banal

See it if you enjoy a mediocre, presumably comedic adaptation of Uncle Vanya

Don't see it if you'd like a smarter and more intelligent take on Chekhov -even if it's funny.

Hilarious, Thoughful, Moving, Refreshing

See it if If you wonder why Chekhov's plays are called "comedies" see this. It puts the comedy back in the human comedy .

Don't see it if You don't like actors addressing the audience and characters constantly talking about their problems.

Also Wonderfully inventive, a four act riff that knocks Uncle Vanya on it's... Read more Read less

The high life

See it if Love Chekhov and want to see a variation with hip, attractive people in this century.

Don't see it if Hate fourth wall breaks in plays. Hate anything over two hours.

Also Pendleton and Bowers are quite the May Dec couple! Love all the verbal... Read more Read less

Quirky, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Clever, Witty dialogues

See it if you want a clever play about depression, dissatisfactions and a struggle to overcome yourself on the way to happiness. Witty dialogues.

Don't see it if drags a bit at times, but overall very enjoyable and worthwhile.

Gimmicky, Slow, Indulgent, Clever, Ambitious

See it if you love seeing classic plays reinvented in contemporary settings, love the 4th wall broken, and humor in unlikely places.

Don't see it if you don't want to contemplate the meaning of life in a matinee with a group of indulgent privileged characters.

Also This reworking of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya is well acted, clever, contemp... Read more Read less

Smart production, Novel mix of pathos & humor, sometimes sophomoric, Metatheatrical hijinks, Sincere send-up of chekhov

See it if you liked Posner's reimagining of the Seagull (Stupid F**ing Bird); this takedown/sendup feels more personal though Chekhov is omnipresent.

Don't see it if you don't know Uncle Vanya; this can feel like a rehearsal exercise & it's not clear what an audience unfamiliar w Chekhov would make of it.

Also What to make of Posner's explorations of Chekhov? They are not really ... Read more Read less

Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Funny

See it if You like humorous plays in a small intimate theater with great acting.

Don't see it if You don’t like it when actors break the 4th wall, or want serious drama.

Intense, Intelligent, Great acting

See it if You like dysfunctional family dramas.

Don't see it if You are looking for something with a pulse.

Entertaining, Ambitious, Funny, Indulgent, Great acting

See it if You’re an fan of these actors and/or playwright. For most Chekhov fans I’d say. I think it works better if you know Vanya. Loved the set.

Don't see it if If you’re not game for bad language, sex jokes, and/or a gun onstage. Also, if you prefer your classics not “made accessible” by an update.

Also I’m very torn about the actors breaking the fourth wall too much here.... Read more Read less

Long, Quirky, Entertaining

See it if you want to be the fourth wall & pulled into each character's introspection and take on life.

Don't see it if you don't like semi audience participation. Characters talk to you, not necessarily always asking for response.

Also This was a looong show. I got bored at times.

Great writing, Great acting, Entertaining, Clever, Ambitious

See it if You want to see something unique and entertaining - especially if you enjoy the modern [tongue-in-cheek] interpretation of classics

Don't see it if You want to see the original Uncle Vanya. Expect something to be 'spoon-fed' to you - this takes attention and thought [yay!]

Unexpected, Funny, Weird

See it if you like quirky theater that defies expectations. Many strange moments: modernized "Vanya" with breaking of 4th wall, audience participation

Don't see it if you dislike shows that are far less clever than they think they are. The sum here is NOT larger than the whole, but some small great moments

Untraditional, Great staging, The humor gets monotonous, Different, "uncle vanya" light

See it if you're an Austin Pendleton fan [& who isn't?]; you enjoy plays that experiment with a Russian classic; laughter comes easily to you

Don't see it if breaking of the 4th wall doesn't amuse you; you love Chekhov & vodka straight up; you prefer the original's dramatic tension [missing here]

Also Chekhov is a much better writer than Aaron Posner. ... Read more Read less

Oh the irony!, Disappointing, Slow, Indulgent

See it if You’d enjoy seeing a fractured version of Uncle Vanya.

Don't see it if Why listen to good actors in a poorly-conceived version of a famous Chekhov play take two hours to get across one important idea? That if

Also you take responsibility for your own actions life will not suck. This,... Read more Read less

Great writing, Wonderful acting, Enormously entertaining, Quirky, Deliciously funny

See it if Totally absorbing with complex fleshed out sympathetic characters wittily portrayed. Austin Pendleton at his delightful best.

Don't see it if You don’t like non traditional plays that breakdown the fourth wall and you cannot sit for more than 2 hours.

Also There is some interaction with the audience but it is done is a very r... Read more Read less

Funny, Great acting, Refreshing, Resonant, Clever

See it if A witty riff on Chekhov expertly performed by. Feels contemporary and doesn't matter how well you know Uncle Vanya. Clever, universalthemes

Don't see it if Some repetitive speeches so might be a challenge to those with short attention spans.

Great writing, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting

See it if You like remake of classics modernly and with humor

Don't see it if You don’t like adjustments in plays or like musicals

Clever, Indulgent, Quirky, Intelligent

See it if you like a updated version of Uncle Vanya where actors talk much of the story rather than act it out. Some great ruminations and funny bits.

Don't see it if you want Uncle Vanya or a meaningful take on it that evokes an emotional connection. Very talky and not so much character development.

Great writing, Great acting, Funny, Delightful, Clever

See it if You like farcical takes on classical theater with hilarious lines mixed with interesting existential monologues and dialogues. A great cast.

Don't see it if You mind meta-theaterical dialogues and lots of 4 wall breaking and encouraging of audience participation. Want a classical take on Chekhov.

Also One can critique that almost all the updating from Checkov probably ma... Read more Read less

April 1st, 2019
"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...
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April 7th, 2019
"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 'Va...
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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...
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Cast & Creatives (4)