Already closed | 2h 10m | East Village

Measure for Measure (The Public Theater)

From 88 member  reviews
Members say: Ambitious, Confusing, Disappointing, Quirky, Clever

About the show

Elevator Repair Service, the Obie-winning company behind 'Gatz,' returns to The Public to celebrate their 25th season with a new production of Shakespeare’s dark comedy about vice and hypocrisy. More…

With athletic theatricality and Marx-Brothers-inspired slapstick, the ERS ensemble brings new life to this story of impossible moral choices in 17th-century Vienna. Radical experiments with speed set the play’s combination of the comically absurd and the tragically serious in stark relief, and deliver a new show that marries the company’s unique performance style with the Bard’s exquisitely lyrical language. ERS Founder and Artistic Director John Collins directs.

Member Reviews (88)


Ambitious, Confusing, Disappointing, Quirky, Clever
Avg Score

Excruciating, Torturous, Ineffective, Confounding

See it if ... see it if... if... well... umm... I got nothin'.

Don't see it if you have any respect for Shakespeare, The Public, the Elevator Repair Service or your time. [This ill-conceived MforM is a total misfire.]

Also The positive reviews here are inexplicable to me. It is a rare sight t... Read more Read less

Indulgent, Slow, Quirky, Confusing

See it if You are very, very familiar with Shakespeare's plot, can tolerate drastically reimagined classics, enjoy what may be creative gimmicks,

Don't see it if You want your Bard done in linear style that doesn't challenge, don't like edited, rethought productions that can be hard to follow

Ambitious, Quirky, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Funny

See it if You are a fan of ERS. You want to see the absolute most unusual rendering of this classic Shakesperian play ever ! You are open minded.

Don't see it if You can’t leave Pre-conceived ideas out of your mind. You are uncomfortable if you can’t understand everything you hear !

Also If you have never experienced an ERS production this is probably not t... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Clever, Confusing, Disappointing, Dizzying

See it if You LOVE ERS and all they do. Occassionally funny mixed with a lot of WTF?

Don't see it if you like hearing Shakespeare's words. Brutally fast in some places, excruciatingly slow in others. This was all over the place.

One scene justifies the entire experiment

See it if you're ok w/ a single, brilliant, 5-10 min. scene that could forever change your reading of MfM even if the other 120 min. are a slog

Don't see it if you’re new to the play and want to understand Measure for Measure; you want a show that’s entertaining the whole time

Also This production speeds through the boring parts of MfM which, accordin... Read more Read less

Great writing, Ambitious, Confusing, Disappointing, Dizzying

See it if A beautiful play. Some very nice, touching moments. And shockingly relevant to today.

Don't see it if The director made the weird choice of having the actors speed through much of the script, making it hard to understand.

Ambitious, Confusing, Dizzying, Great acting, Indulgent

See it if you like traditional Shakespearean language, mixed era costumes,typical Elevator Repair Service sets. Not as good as TFANA production

Don't see it if are a traditionalist. They work too hard to break it down

Ambitious, Dizzying, Funny, Confusing, Indulgent

See it if you'd like Measure for Measure performed with zany hijinx, rapid-fire delivery, and alternately too-fast and too-slow pacing.

Don't see it if the no-holds barred comic performances of the cast aren't enough to sway you to try out this slapstick version of the play.

Inexplicably schizoid, Lacks any subtlety, Indulgent

See it if Anything in theater is all right? How about a Shakespearean dramedy where several players act & the remainder do shtick? It's wearying &...

Don't see it if cloying. Add the incomprehensible speed at which much dialogue is delivered & you realize why there is no intermission - who would stay?

Confusing, Ambitious, Quirky

See it if You are a diehard fan of ERS. Although I am a fan of theirs this interpretation of Measure for Measure was disappointing.

Don't see it if You want a more traditional play without gimmicks and confusion. Also, over two hours without an intermission was very long in this case.

Slow, Ambitious, Irritating, Tedious, Indulgent

See it if you love Shakespeare in any form and are willing to tolerate an admittedly ambitious but enervating and slow production.

Don't see it if you want something fresh, entertaining, or stimulating. It tries, but ultimately is high energy going nowhere.

Disappointing, An aural mess, Huh?

See it if You have to see every production of Measure on stage right now, regardless...wait, no you don’t! See Desperate Measures instead!

Don't see it if You love the language of Shakespeare.

Also Elevator Repair Service beyond horrible with Measure for Measure. Slur... Read more Read less

Butchery, Disappointing, Confusing, Excruciating, Fast

See it if You listen to your podcasts on 2.25x playback. The cast speaks in hyperspeed for 70% of the show.

Don't see it if You like Shakespeare.

Also For once, I agree with Ben Brantley basically verbatim. Read the NYT r... Read more Read less

Quirky, Good actors underused

See it if Helps if you like Shakespeare comedies, helps if you know the text, helps if you like unique interpretations.

Don't see it if You don't know the play (you will miss much of it). You care for the issues (Weinstein anyone?), the emotion, the angst instead of sly jokes

Clever, Funny, Great acting, Ambitious, Edgy

See it if Elevator Repair Service - they of Gatz fame - meets Shakepare tackling judgement morality and justice in a manic but uneven production

Don't see it if You need your Shakespeare pure and don’t like modern updates in style speed costume and staging even with very inventive staging

Ambitious, Disappointing, Dizzying, Epic, Great staging

See it if you love avant garde-ish theater. The text rules all here, and some of the performances are notable

Don't see it if you are not familiar with the plot or are not particularly quick at picking up plots (this one runs fast and free)

Ambitious, Confusing, Dizzying, Great acting, Hilarious

See it if ERS's ability to find and/or create clever and slapstick humor is unparalleled; company shows its great versatility in multiple roles

Don't see it if Attempt to distill a moderate Shakespeare piece cannot overcome its mediocrity despite the humor and stage creativity

Disappointing, Slow

See it if You adore anything by Shakespeare and can sit for over 2 hours with no break.

Don't see it if You only like traditional formats of Shakespeare plays. This was a fast paced comic rendition of this playwhich sadly missed the mark.

Confusing, Excruciating, Annoying, Banal, Pointless

See it if you enjoy seeing unusual directorial "concepts" of Shakespeare plays, even if they are not always successful.

Don't see it if you love Shakespeare and think that his plays can be done in many ways but should always respect the integrity of the text.

Also One of the central concepts of this interpretation seems to be that th... Read more Read less

Quirky, Dizzying, Confusing, Funny, Disappointing

See it if you have the patience not to be thrown by a very eccentric production. There's terrific acting & some profound & funny moments buried here.

Don't see it if untraditional treatment of Shakespeare bothers you. Much of the slapstick is pointless & the production is disjointed & often irrational.

Smart, Tactical, Great staging

See it if you enjoy the quirky avant-garde work from ERS and dont mind teleprompter for Shakespeare

Don't see it if you prefer a traditional Shakespearean staging

Hard to get into the rhythm, Know the story before you see this play

See it if you want to see Mr. Shepherd do a bang up job as the Duke. See it if you want a condensed version of the play.

Don't see it if you have trouble hearing when actors are speaking at a rapid pace. Don't see it if you are expecting true Shakespeare.

Also If you are not familiar with the play, first see "Desperate Measures" ... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Confusing, Dizzying

See it if you have a grasp of Measureand can follow actors changing characters quickly. It was fast paced and I found myself referring to the plot.

Don't see it if You can't sit through a two+hour show with no intermission

Clever, Great staging, Quirky

See it if experimental version of shakespeare play. slow at times. Two hours no intermission, great theater group with great talent. funny at times

Don't see it if if you are are tired of measure for measure or do not like video screen words and experimental theater

Clever, Delightful, Funny, Dizzying

See it if Enjoy a fun, intelligent interpretation of a rarely seen Shakespeare play.

Don't see it if You want a traditional 'reading' of Shakespeare.

Also I am not sure why all the negative reviews. My husband, daughter and m... Read more Read less

October 10th, 2017
"I usually lower my expectations for 'Measure'...But even in over-conceptualized versions, there’s usually at least one, thought-provoking portrayal that illuminates. Mr. Collins’s production does feature one such performance, from Mr. Shepherd. Mostly, though, it translates the challenges of a n...
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October 10th, 2017
"As far as language goes, the production is often unintelligible...That doesn’t matter in the clown bits, but one misses important information and poetry in other scenes...Yet the show has many compensatory assets...Several performances are delightful...And the production is funny in unexpected w...
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October 10th, 2017
"It’s thrilling to see a group of artists throw themselves into a project where there’s the actual risk that the whole thing might go terribly wrong...In this case, some things have gone pretty seriously wrong...There’s so much potential resonance here that it’s maddening to watch the ERS product...
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October 10th, 2017
“A mess that lands primarily as a showcase for the amazing Scott Shepherd…The effect of John Collins’ gimmicky production is breathless, as if to say let’s race through this and just get to the good parts. But the good parts are nearly as incomprehensible (except when Shepherd is commanding a sce...
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