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)

MEMBERS SAY:

Ambitious, Confusing, Disappointing, Quirky, Clever
63
Avg Score

70
Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Quirky

See it if You seek out unconventional productions of Shakespeare. This is a challenging interpretation of a "problem" play.

Don't see it if you're a Shakespeare traditionalist or if the very words "avant-garde" turn your stomach. Also it's over 2 hours, no intermission.

50
Confusing, Disappointing, Clever, Quirky, Slow

See it if you've like a fresh take on an old play

Don't see it if you don't want to sit for two hours straight with no intermission

100
Refreshing, Riveting, Great acting, Enchanting, Absorbing

See it if The acting is amazing, the women in the show are able to make Shakespeare relatable and fun.

Don't see it if You have not read the play or at least a summary of the play, lots of characters, could be confusing.

50
Disappointing, Excruciating, Intense, Quirky, Ambitious

See it if You love Shakespeare and want to have a different experience

Don't see it if You can’t sit for two hours and 15 minutes and you don’t like people speaking at the speed of light.

74
Confusing, Disappointing, Great acting, Quirky, Indulgent

See it if You want to see incredibly weird but hyper-intellectual theatre.

Don't see it if You want to see a Shakespeare show.

Also ERS is a weird company and this is their first Shakespeare show. It's ... Read more Read less

82
Absorbing, Delightful, Ambitious, Dizzying, Confusing

See it if You enjoy being challenged as well as entertained (the latter is a certainty). Just read the synopsis beforehand. Coffee helps too.

Don't see it if modernized Shakespeare enrages you. If, for you, every interpretation must be Sacred & Solemn, religiously so.

During previews
15
Unengaging, Unwatchable, Unsuccessful, Unintelligible

See it if you like experimentation for its own sake. The play's NOT the thing, only the playing w/it is. You can't follow MFM, but for some that works

Don't see it if you want engagement; you can't hear WS's glorious words which are spoken at high speed/over constant recorded noise. Unsuccessful concept.

Also This MFM was thoroughly disappointing. Even the production values (cos... Read more Read less

During previews
83
Ambitious, Dizzying, Quirky, Intelligent, Slow

See it if ERS spins the Bard's dark tragi-comedy into screwball farce. Weaning the text & spinning it at dizzying paces its their best work since Gatz

Don't see it if Basic knowledge of MFM a must Rapid fire delivery of text & comedic hijinks can cause frustration Subplot around Lucio can be confusing

During previews
68
Ifyoucanreadthisreviewyouwillknowwhatitsliketoseethisplay

See it if reimagining "Measure" as frenetic screwball comedy that highlights the pratfalls and buffoonery of the characters, genuinely funny

Don't see it if having characters speak dialogue @ breakneck speed negates ability 2 dote on Will's brilliant language; absurdist experiment fails

Also The director provides a NEW way of presenting the play. Dialogue is sp... Read more Read less

During previews
85
Great acting, Great staging, Dizzying, Quirky, Masterful

See it if ERS puts its spin on one of Shakespeare's most difficult to stage plays;Front Page meets The Marx Bros.;Unusual visuals& characters

Don't see it if You are a purist;are not familiar with ERS productions;do not like zany;have no imagination;a little slow moving in previews

Also I am an ERS fan and saw Gatz several times. What other theatre group c... Read more Read less

During previews
75
Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Quirky, Absurd

See it if you're interested in a fast-paced absurdist adaptation of Shakespeare. Great cast with comedic timing. Strange and delightful.

Don't see it if you have no knowledge of the plot/characters in Measure for Measure (could be confusing since the script is edited). Weird, not for everyone

During previews
86
Entertaining, Great acting, Funny, Quirky, Dizzying

See it if for the high energy Elevator Repair Service, with their excellent actors frequently speaking Shakespeare's lines very rapid-fire; absurdist

Don't see it if you want traditional Shakespeare; would be confused by props & zany costumes that aren't consistent with one particular time period

Also In addition to some very, very fast dialogue there are many, many wond... Read more Read less

During previews
73
Edgy, Dizzying, Quirky, Clever

See it if Not your parents measure for measure. A unique twist on this tale by the elevator repair service. Best if you are familiar with the play.

Don't see it if If you only like musicals or light dramas, or if you do not like Shakespeare.

During previews
85
Clever, Funny, Great acting, Great staging, Confusing

See it if You like Shakespeare. You enjoy jazz age set design for Shakespeare.

Don't see it if You have trouble understanding really fast Elizabethan dialogue.

During previews
85
Clever, Funny, Entertaining, Great acting

See it if You want to see a funny and very unusual production of Shakespeare.

Don't see it if You like Shakespeare done in its traditional fashion and are bothered by rapid speech.

During previews
68
Confusing, Disappointing, Too long without intermission

See it if you know the story and want to see a different take on or presentation of Shakespeare.

Don't see it if you don’t know the story as you will most likely not understand what the actors are saying especially at 100mph at times.

Also Personally I enjoyed York Theatre Company’s Desperate Measures a lot b... Read more Read less

During previews
77
Absorbing, Dizzying, Intense, Quirky

See it if you know this play and want to see a varying concept/presentation of it as a screwball comedy.

Don't see it if you don't know the play and don't like having to pay attention as actors play multiple roles.

During previews
90
Great acting, Funny, Edgy, Quirky, Must see

See it if you love Shakespeare's text and you would enjoy hearing it really explored.

Don't see it if You are a traditionalist who can't tolerate experimenting with Shakespeare

Also Some will object to some of the gimmicks, but there are moments that a... Read more Read less

During previews
55
Confusing, Disappointing, Banal, Insipid, Clumsy

See it if you don't mind good actors reading their lines really fast from a projection at the back of the theater and an unimaginative boring set

Don't see it if you want to discern the genius of the dialogue which is rattled off often over a lot of background noise. Fine actors but sloppy production

During previews
90
Ambitious, Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Funny

See it if you want to see one of the funniest and legitimate takes on Shakespeare ever!

Don't see it if you're a Shaespeare purist.

During previews
50
Ambitious, Confusing, Intense

See it if You like deconstructionist theater. If you are a Wooster Group or ERS fan, you might get something out of it.

Don't see it if You like Shakespeare. Barely there.

During previews
70
Clever, Ambitious, Dizzying, Quirky, Masterful

See it if you don't care if you hear Shakespeare's lines spoken at an intelligible pace; you like ERS interpretations of literary 'classics'.

Don't see it if You want your Shakespeare straight.

During previews
75
Clever, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if You like Shakespeare and want to see the modern interpretation of his work.

Don't see it if You don't like Shakespeare or want to see it in its original format.

During previews
10
Disappointing, Poorly acted, Nonsensical, Insipid

See it if You want to see everything Elevator Repair Service produces, regardless of quality

Don't see it if You don't think sexual blackmail is farcical, you want actors to actually know their lines, you like it when jokes make sense.

During previews
85
Dizzying, Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent

See it if A different take on Shakespeare. Video projection of the text combined with a madcap, machine gun delivery.

Don't see it if Dialog is often delivered so fast you can't understand or follow it.


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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