Light Shining in Buckinghamshire
Closed 2h 40m
Light Shining in Buckinghamshire
60

Light Shining in Buckinghamshire NYC Reviews and Tickets

60%
(103 Ratings)
Positive
36%
Mixed
38%
Negative
26%
Members say
Slow, Confusing, Disappointing, Ambitious, Great acting

About the Show

Three-time Obie Award winner Rachel Chavkin ('Hadestown') returns to New York Theatre Workshop with Caryl Churchill's incisive 1647-set drama about the power struggles in England after a brutal civil war.

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Show-Score Member Reviews (103)

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104 Reviews | 15 Followers
98
Absorbing, Enchanting, Ambitious, Great acting, Great staging

See it if You want to see amazing actors have their fill of a complex text, aided by phenomenal direction.

Don't see it if You need things spelled out for you or you're a capitalist.

55 Reviews | 14 Followers
90
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Edgy, Ambitious

See it if you are a fan of Churchill and Chavkin and want to see a gripping portrait of societal manipulation through religion and politics.

Don't see it if you prefer plays that have a linear structure. Read more

242 Reviews | 45 Followers
90
Absorbing, Mesmerizing, Great staging, Great acting, Monumental

See it if you've got the stamina for Caryl Churchill at her most demanding; it's a uniformly gifted cast under Rachel Chavkin's incisive direction.

Don't see it if you refuse to entertain the thought that it's easier for a camel to go thru the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get to heaven.

618 Reviews | 143 Followers
89
Ambitious, Edgy, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Listenable if you're willing

See it if Caryl Churchill, 70s agit prop, excellent company of players, political discourse, sparseStaging, constant challenge float your theatre boat

Don't see it if can't or don't want 2 listen, hate debate, cannot see parallels with today, need easy, must disparage anything U don't prelike

84 Reviews | 10 Followers
86
Ambitious, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Intense, Intelligent

See it if one of Caryl Churchill's lesser-seen plays, dense and brilliant, complex and thorny staged with wit and courage and played by a fine team

Don't see it if historical, dense, language-heavy, elusive work is not your taste

124 Reviews | 22 Followers
84
Ambitious, Intense, Intelligent, Great acting, Epic

See it if Careening from scene to scene, the play presents the shock of the Civil War, faith, poverty, and property.

Don't see it if Very long, very wordy, I saw a few folks actually fall asleep. I'm not sure Caryl Churchill would mind, as the play works in true epic form.

524 Reviews | 134 Followers
82
English drama for history buffs

See it if 17th Century English civil war given the brainy Churchill treatment. Lots of religion and politics talk. I ate it up.

Don't see it if if history, religion and political plays bore you. Nice staging of difficult material. Talented cast -- Jennings and Jeffers stood out.

349 Reviews | 57 Followers
82
Thoughtful, Provocative, Political across time, Great acting, Tight directing

See it if You love a show where the playwright has done her research & connects the past to the present in dramatic truth. What has ever changed? Long

Don't see it if but never windy, serious yet humble, bleak but humane. Not a light or funny piece, it takes political expediency to task. Amazing talent.

Critic Reviews (26)

The New York Times
May 7th, 2018

"The first of Churchill’s plays I’ve found indulgent and leaden. However wonderful it may be to perform, it’s a hard slog to sit through...An endless cycle of betrayal and hardship. When that bleak vision arises from characters interacting, it is sometimes beautifully crystallized...More often, though, the arguments aren’t dramatized so much as transcribed...It is hard to imagine a more diverse group of performers...That would hardly matter if they were not all excellent."
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Time Out New York
May 7th, 2018

"Churchill has spoiled us, perhaps, with so many wonders of theatrical innovation that by contrast with them, this earlier work can seem drab and tendentious. The high point is a historically interesting account of the Putney Debates...But much of the play is weighed down in disquisitions on the injustices of God and property. The austerity of the production promises virtue, and expects it of us as well—especially the virtue of patience."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
May 7th, 2018

"Chavkin and her team are passionate about envisioning 'Light Shining' as a #Resistance play, and in certain ways that makes sense. In other ways, the play is actually less about the light that flared up in 17th-century England than about how it burned out...While Chavkin’s production earnestly attacks the play’s weighty, thorny text, it struggles...to find a sustaining engine...Its project is in many ways admirable and yet in others, unable to access the troubling nuances of the story."
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Theatermania
May 7th, 2018

"Why do so many audience members appear to be struggling to stake awake? It has nothing to do with a top-notch production from a company that knows how to do this material...Chavkin brings Cromwellian order to Churchill's unruly dramatic revolution with her clear and effective staging...Despite their best efforts, Chavkin and company cannot salvage this shaggy early effort by Churchill. Still, moments of revelation hide within its rolls of fat."
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Lighting & Sound America
May 8th, 2018

“A play that is simultaneously interesting and boring...Chavkin's production features a cast with the technical skill and sheer lung power to parse the script's long, complex speeches...A monumental work, but not admirably so. It presents its panorama without frills or enticements. It is there to be gazed at and, perhaps, admired. But a play that deals with such tumultuous events, such matters of the soul and society, without stirring one's pulse is, in some crucial way, deficient.”
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New York Stage Review
May 7th, 2018

“A fair-to-middling, actually puzzling revival...The work comes off as a mixture of lecture, oratorio, sketches, and panel discussion. Certainly, what the creators hoped to accomplish seems to have fallen shy of the mark, not to mention occasionally elusive...The production problem is compounded by the frequent difficulty of following the arguments. Many are abstruse...The history lesson dispensed isn’t adequate to the time spent imparting it.”
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New York Stage Review
May 7th, 2018

“An historical drama of considerable scope, perspicacity, and intensity...Something of a slog slog to endure, frankly, in spite of its intrinsic merits...Much as I can appreciate the versatile acting, the glimmering atmospherics, and many of the drama’s insights, this overlong show nonetheless registers as a heavyweight history lesson...Chavkin stages this challenging play with sharp actors and designers, and obviously with a bold vision to forge it into a meaningful show for audiences today.”
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TheaterScene.net
May 14th, 2018

"There's a brilliant play buried somewhere in Churchill's 'Light Shining in Buckinghamshire,' a bottom-up historical epic about the English Civil War that the acclaimed British writer developed collaboratively with director Stafford-Clark and a group of actors back in 1976. Fifteen years later, it premiered stateside at the New York Theatre Workshop, where it has just returned for a ploddingly drawn-out second go-around that yielded a lot of empty second-act seats on the night I attended."
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