Already closed | 2h 40m | Midtown W

Of Human Bondage

From 138 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Great staging, Absorbing, Ambitious, Masterful

About the show

Canada's Soulpepper Theatre Company presents the first-ever theatrical adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham's 1915 epic of lustful obsession and the pursuit of happiness. More…

'Of Human Bondage' tells the story of Philip Carey, clubfooted and of limited means, who's torn between being a doctor and an artist. When he meets tea shop girl Mildred, he quickly becomes obsessed with her. Despite her treating him badly, he turns down more promising relationships and endures a series of calamities. Part of the Soulpepper on 42nd Street festival.


Member Reviews (138)

MEMBERS SAY:

Great acting, Great staging, Absorbing, Ambitious, Masterful
87
Avg Score

95
Masterful, Epic, Touching, Exquisite, Profound

See it if Wonderful characters and themes. Starts from a student's romance and career struggles and ends with the forgiveness of human weaknesses.

Don't see it if It's a bit repetitive and preachy in spots, with predictable outcomes.

95
Absorbing, Entertaining, Clever, Great acting, Masterful

See it if 12 great actors.. wonderful music background, lighting super...book had to made into a play.

Don't see it if score is by a 100/90 duo. only negative is that the talkback did not also include the cast. Director was super (cast had Spoon River to do)

96
Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Great staging, Must see

See it if you want to see smartly-written, cleverly-staged, shrewdly-acted, well-paced melodrama; to discover a great (hidden) Canadian treasure.

Don't see it if you have no heart or no interest in theatre.

Also Admittedly, I am only vaguely familiar with the Maugham novel upon whi... Read more Read less

89
Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Great staging, Intelligent

See it if you like creative, innovative staging, great performances, a straight forward narrative, almost epic in scale

Don't see it if you expect the play to include the entirety of the Maugham novel as it begins about a third of the way in, you don't like suggestive staging

74
Shows why it's hard to dramatize a big baggy novel

See it if communicates at times movingly major outlines of book; shows why we are bound - often tragically - by our own desires 4 love; able ensemble

Don't see it if does not capture novel's masterful psychological portrait and philosophical musings of main character; only comes to life in 2nd act

100
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Epic, Masterful

See it if you happen to feel disenchanted by theatre. This production will restore your faith. The creativity, performances, and writing are superb.

Don't see it if you don't care for epic stories or are in the mood for something light and mind-numbing. But really, you should see this.

Also This production employs my favorite sort of creativity, what I call "p... Read more Read less

93
Entertaining, Great ensemble, Thought-provoking, Ambitious, Great staging

See it if fine ensemble work interests you. Actors slide between roles, play instruments & create aural aspects of each scene like rain birds & crowds

Don't see it if life's injustices disturb you. There is a lot to think about here.

65
Excellent production of a weak adaptation, Ambitious, Great staging, Inventive, Overrated

See it if you want to see a superb staging of a mediocre adaptation of Maugham's classic novel. The acting and directing are both excellent.

Don't see it if you are looking for a 90 minute intermissionless evening.

84
Great acting, Great staging, Intelligent, Ambitious, Long

See it if you want to see an intelligent, creatively staged, well-acted adaptation of a popular novel.

Don't see it if you don't like adaptations or if you become impatient with characters who repeat the same mistakes over and over.

Also I haven't read the book and although I must have seen at least one of ... Read more Read less

80
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great staging

See it if you want to see a creatively staged adaptation with great acting and use of sound. You're interested in stories about human connections.

Don't see it if you find classic literature stories dated—not much negative to say about the production, but maybe the actual story isn't your taste.

91
Maugham's melodrama gets a thrilling adaptation

See it if Move over Bette Davis. Soulpepper's adaptation delivers Maugham's tortured souls in a very theatrical adaptation of a tale of a man obsessed

Don't see it if you can't take a grim tale of manipulation and deceit. Highly inventive staging. Compelling, but definitely not a show for a first date.

100
Absorbing, Ambitious, Masterful, Intense, Must see

See it if you’ve asked why people go to the theater vs movies/tv. This is THE show that best exemplifies what can only be achieved in live performance

Don't see it if You're not fluent in English. You want a light comedy. Otherwise, if you have a choice between Human Bondage and any other ticket, pick OHB

Also Theater, as an artform, is full of limitations—limited stage space, li... Read more Read less

92
Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Great staging

See it if you want a well-written adaptation of a classic performed by a wonderful ensemble who also play instruments for music & sound effects

Don't see it if you don't want adaptations of older works, actors playing multiple roles including playing instruments & moving props

Also This was so cleverly staged. Having the actors move the props to chang... Read more Read less

85
Absorbing, Great adaptation, Good old fashioned melodrama, Beautifully directed

See it if You like period pieces, strong lead actor, good writing. Excellent ensemble piece a la "Nicolas Nicolby." Brilliant use of sound effects!

Don't see it if You like musicals, or don't like shows shows over 2 hours. The lead female was miscast, but the rest of the ensemble were terrific.

90
Absorbing, Clever, Resonant, Gripping, Well-performed

See it if you enjoy heavy dramas exploring the ambiguity of human nature--particularly love and obsession, loss, ambition, and sundry relationships

Don't see it if not a fan of W. Somerset Maugham's novel or the 1934 Bette Davis/Leslie Howard film; need a "tidy" story that is fast-paced; want fluff.

Also Canada's Soulpepper Theatre Company puts its best-foot forward with th... Read more Read less

91
Absorbing, Great staging, Masterful, Great use of music, Profound

See it if Finally Maugham's classic novel is brought to life with a play so creative and engrossing that 2 1/2 plus hours flies away pleasurably.

Don't see it if you prefer low brow entertainment or want a lavish musical.

66
Ambitious, Intense, Epic

See it if You enjoy stripped down ensemble plays investigating drive.

Don't see it if You like a strong pace and action.

94
Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Intelligent, Resonant

See it if You enjoy a triumph of superior stagecraft and brilliant ensemble acting

Don't see it if You want light frivolous laughter

80
Great acting, Entertaining, Intelligent, Great staging, Slow

See it if Enjoy great acting of a novel on the stage by a talented bunch of Canadians

Don't see it if Like traditional setting/staging

95
Great acting, Great staging, Masterful, Riveting, Clever

See it if You enjoy a well directed, well acted, cleverly staged, and interesting adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage.

Don't see it if You are not interested in older literature. I have only praise for this production!

90
Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Great staging, Intelligent

See it if You want to experience this wonderful theater company.This is the 2nd show I've seen by Soulpepper and both productions are terrific.

Don't see it if This play, based on Maugham's book, is not for everyone.It is a tragic story,but beautifully staged and acted. The cast is outstanding.

68
Disappointing

See it if you want to see this novel interpretted as a play; explore a new company; see fine actors with mediocre material; interesting staging.

Don't see it if you want new insights into a profoundly dated novel. Don't blame the cast but I question the motivation to do this at all

86
Great acting, Absorbing, Intelligent, Must see, Intense

See it if You like good acting in a drama that helps you think about people.

Don't see it if You don't like dramas with good actin that makes you think.

79
Ambitious, Great staging, Intelligent, Absorbing, Refreshing

See it if you like well-performed stage adaptations of literary works.

Don't see it if lose patience easily with characters who make the same mistakes over and over.

82
Intense, Masterful, Absorbing, Great writing, Great acting

See it if you want to see some great acting of a well written classic novel...

Don't see it if you don't like seeing actors waiting in "the wings" on stage or if you don't like sparse sets moved by the actors...


July 6th, 2017
“Beautiful and bittersweet…Mr. Prest balances his darkly fascinating character’s mania with an underlying sense of goodness…Stuart Hughes and Sarah Wilson excel in the choicest supporting roles…At its best — and in this show, that’s often — ‘Of Human Bondage’ also manages to ask a few questions a...
read more
July 6th, 2017
"It is wise of director Schultz to take a stylized approach to Thiessen’s dramatic adaptation...Although there are only 12 people in the cast, they embody many more characters than that, simply by changing their accents...Yet their performances are grounded firmly in reality, so the play remains ...
read more
July 20th, 2017
"Thiessen and Schultz, as director, wisely steer clear of brooding moodiness and go instead for a more stylized representation of Maugham’s tale...The approach makes delicate work of a dark tale with echoes of social commentary that recall 'The Elephant Man,' though 'Of Human Bondage' stands very...
read more
July 6th, 2017
"Thiessen's adaptation of 'Of Human Bondage' may accentuate the melodramatic nature of the plot, but the acting, directing, and the production itself make for a positively exhilarating theatrical experience and a stellar entry to the Soulpepper on 42nd festival...Under Albert Schultz's direction,...
read more

Related content


Cast & Creatives (19)