Of Human Bondage
Closed 2h 40m
Of Human Bondage
87

Of Human Bondage NYC Reviews and Tickets

87%
(138 Reviews)
Positive
96%
Mixed
4%
Negative
0%
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.

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Member Reviews (138)

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691 Reviews | 212 Followers
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.

713 Reviews | 119 Followers
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.

MJK
677 Reviews | 187 Followers
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. Read more

657 Reviews | 147 Followers
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

don
506 Reviews | 1002 Followers
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)

593 Reviews | 264 Followers
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

461 Reviews | 710 Followers
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. Read more

456 Reviews | 256 Followers
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.

Critic Reviews (23)

The New York Times
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 about art and ambition. But at its core, Maugham’s story is a call for compassion for ourselves, and a plea for forgiveness for the mistakes of our youth…An exceptionally empathetic production.”
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Time Out New York
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 emotionally engaging...Despite its necessary compression, this account of 'Of Human Bondage' does justice to one of the most intense she’s-just-not-that-into-you sagas ever written."
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Deadline
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 much on its own merits."
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Talkin' Broadway
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, the cast as a whole is nigh unto perfect, operating as a tight-knit ensemble that brings to mind the glory days of the epic Dickensian productions by the Royal Shakespeare Company.”
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TheaterScene.net
July 10th, 2017

"While the power of W. Somerset Maugham's legendary story is still much in evidence, Soulpepper's elaborate staging for 'Of Human Bondage' dilutes its effectiveness. Lacking in sexual heat, what the stage performance may do is send you back to the original novel, not a bad thing."
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Theater Pizzazz
July 6th, 2017

“A splendid, remarkably collaborative effort. Vern Thiessen’s superb adaptation is brought to fruition by the innovative designs working hand in glove with director Albert Schultz…The stagecraft alone would make it worth a visit….Philip is heroically played by Gregory Prest. This is indeed a bravura performance. Mildred is beautifully portrayed by Michelle Monteith...Maugham fans can rejoice! Soulpepper pulls it off. This is glorious theater.”
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CurtainUp
July 6th, 2017

"Thiessen's adaptation is still essentially a soap opera-ish tale of tortured unrequited love...It's nevertheless an edgy, very modern theatrical work. Credit Schultz, his inventive designers and the extremely versatile 12-member ensemble for mounting one of the most exciting adaptations of a century-old book...Ultimately everything adds up to lots of good choices by everyone...Consequently, you would be making a pretty smart choice yourself if you put it on your must-see list."
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Front Mezz Junkies
July 9th, 2017

"A deeply rewarding piece of theatrical art making...An ingenious retelling of Maugham’s classic tale, one that is far removed from other interpretations...The company of artists at Soulpepper have created a unique and thrilling production that has only expanded the relatable by stripping the narrative down to its essentials by using every theatrical trick at their disposal. It’s a strikingly modern affair that is unforgettable and exactly what theatre should be."
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