Peer Gynt
66

Peer Gynt NYC Reviews and Tickets

66%
(88 Reviews)
Positive
54%
Mixed
32%
Negative
14%
Members say
Great acting, Confusing, Thought-provoking, Slow, Ambitious

About the Show

Classic Stage Company presents a streamlined version of Henrik Ibsen's epic play about the misadventures of a farm boy. Adapted and directed by John Doyle and starring Tony winner Gabriel Ebert.

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Member Reviews (88)

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60
Ambitious, Disappointing, Slow, Thought-provoking, Well-acted

See it if you're familiar w/Ibsen's towering epic & want to see his rarely-revived play, albeit heavily abridged; you want to see a nice perf by Ebert

Don't see it if you're frustrated w/John Doyle stripping down every revival to within an inch of the show's life. A few sets/props/costumes would help here.

76
Ambitious, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if you wish to see a Tour de Force by Gabriel Ebert, A clever reduction in time from the 5 hour original by new man Doyle.Great 4 sided seating

Don't see it if you cannot handle almost two hours without an intermission

Critic Reviews (23)

The New York Times
May 25th, 2016

"This telling 'Peer Gynt' is both more digestible and less flavorful than usual…If this production lacks the teeming, motley exuberance that pulses in Ibsen’s text, it definitely distills the intriguing philosophical essence of a play that still seems unsettlingly relevant…By the time he comes to his tête-à-tête with the onion, we may not feel like weeping, as Peer does. But in this production, we can definitely understand why and how he’s reached this pathetic moment of communion."
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Time Out New York
May 25th, 2016

"The spirit of austerity courses through John Doyle’s production of 'Peer Gynt.'...This slimming down has been effected though a strict renunciation of many pleasures. Gone is most of 'Peer Gynt’s' humor, gone is the pageantry, gone is the verse...The strong cast helps create memorable scenes...But even the production’s most playful bits have little sense of fun. It is elegant and thoughtful, but hampered by priggishness."
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The Wall Street Journal
June 2nd, 2016

"His version is directed and acted with considerable imagination, but there’s no denying that it amounts to a 'Peer Gynt' suite, a production that whets the appetite rather than sating it...What we have here, then, is something not unlike a pencil sketch of 'Peer Gynt,' one that demands an enormous amount of imaginative participation on the part of the audience. But the play, with its protean symbolism, amply rewards such participation, and you’ll have no trouble following this compressed version, even though the cuts are so deep that it will sometimes feel as though you’re watching a synopsis of the play being acted out onstage."
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New York Daily News
May 28th, 2016

"Doyle gets an E for effort, but the production gets a D for dull. Peer’s adventure leads him to women, trolls and, in the play’s dramatic high point, an onion — as he tries to peel back the layers to his true self. As Peer, Gabriel Ebert gives his all. So does the onion. Doyle is the incoming artistic director at Classic Stage Company. This leaves lots of room for improvement in coming productions."
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Theatermania
May 25th, 2016

"A man peels an onion live onstage in John Doyle's adaptation…Would you believe that this is the most dramatically compelling moment of the whole play? Unlike most of the other scenes, the stakes feel real and palpable — and may even bring tears to our eyes. Unfortunately, the remainder of this cleverly conceived but confusingly executed production is as sleepy as it is opaque…Doyle has reduced a messy and fantastical tale into one that is merely dull. "
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Lighting & Sound America
May 31st, 2016

"Handsome to look at, well-cast, and a total bore…The production is so stripped back that it is often hard to follow...It is often virtually impossible to tell where Peer is and to whom he is speaking. Given this stark approach, the play's many mystical and/or fantastical aspects are denuded of their power. God help you if you are unfamiliar with the play; chances are, you may find yourself totally lost…Doyle's staging is a bold experiment -- but experiments sometimes fail."
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TheaterScene.net
May 31st, 2016

"John Doyle has turned Ibsen’s epic 'Peer Gynt' into a kind of Everyman morality play which demands total concentration from the audience to follow this stripped down version. While Ibsen’s first four acts are drastically cut, the fifth act which seems to show Peer’s redemption is given extended play. Some will find this a fascinating reinterpretation of an unwieldy classic. Others will find that the approach is tediously too much of the same."
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Theater Pizzazz
May 26th, 2016

"An admirable, absorbing production...To tell this richly metaphorical and philosophical tale with no set and no props is a remarkable accomplishment, requiring considerable artistic skill. Doyle is aided by an able cast, featuring Gabriel Ebert as Peer, at the center of his universe. 'Peer Gynt' is a challenging ride – and that’s what makes it so worthwhile...Expect more thought-provoking, soul-searching theatre at CSC."
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CurtainUp
May 27th, 2016

"Doyle has directed Ebert in an outsized performance that meets the challenges of this difficult text and lends the role a certain consistency of style. The result is a Peer who's compelling throughout...Parts of Doyle's abbreviated account of Peer's odyssey are bound to perplex playgoers unfamiliar with the original...There's plenty to debate about John Doyle's streamlined 'Peer Gynt'. What's incontestable is that Doyle and Ebert are an explosive combination."
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Front Row Center
May 27th, 2016

"Mr. Doyle’s adaptation reduces Ibsen’s sprawling opus into a pint-sized 'Reader’s Digest' version of its former self...The actors are all quite good and perform with confidence but it doesn’t amount to anything remotely coherent, either in the moment or in later recollection...As a director Mr. Doyle does not seem interested in telling a story of any kind...I would even encourage you to stop reading this review, so you can avoid wasting any more time on this pointless production."
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Stage Buddy
May 26th, 2016

“Doyle has crammed way too much into a vessel that craves and demands expansion...It’s anchored by the larger-than-life performance of Gabriel Ebert...As it stands, it’s a production admirable for its economy, excellent performances and ambitious direction, but just like its central character it can’t help but alienate others who’d rather move on than indulge its narcissism."
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T
May 25th, 2016

"As directed and adapted by the Doyle, Ibsen’s 'Peer Gynt' is the story of the quest of a young man who willingly descends to the underworld and ascends to heaven in search of his 'self'…Peer neither finds his ‘self’ at home (initially), nor at his father’s banquet, nor during his encounter with the trolls (a wonderful archetypal image)…This is pure and powerful mythos."
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Broadway Blog
May 26th, 2016

"There’s so much oxygen in the room that it has displaced other key elements needed for an evening of engaging theater, such as a sense of place and emotional resonance. Gabriel Ebert throws down the gauntlet in a performance packed with physicality and vocal inflection, but it’s cast into an abyss that swallows him whole. By the end of the play, as Peer faces his final calling, I felt equally depleted."
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Theatre's Leiter Side
May 26th, 2016

"A company of first-rate New York thespians is unable to inject more than momentary life into Doyle’s frugal version of Ibsen’s banquet. Nor is it easy to follow Peer’s peregrinations, especially without visual or verbal markers...John Doyle's ‘Peer Gynt’ may end blessedly sooner than standard versions but it still can’t avoid seeming overlong, like so many of its more elaborate predecessors. ‘Bore Gynt’ would be a much better name for it."
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Times Square Chronicles
May 26th, 2016

"This piece is long and it is unfortunately not interesting enough to sustain most of the audience's attention. Part of the problem is the casting of Ebert as the title role. He is just not layered enough or likeable enough for us to buy into his journey...Everything about Doyle’s production is dark. The costumes, the sound design and the orginal music do nothing to make this production watchable...'Peer Gynt' has a lot to say but this production keeps too much in the dark."
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B
May 26th, 2016

“A case of too little Ibsen and too much Doyle. Up to a point, Doyle’s stripped-down version with just seven actors works, but there is so little specificity about location or identity of the characters that it all runs together into a blur...Nevertheless, Ebert is a wonder to behold. He is onstage for virtually the entire play and probably has 90% of the lines...I hope this production will not set the template for what we can expect during Doyle’s reign as artistic director.”
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Wolf Entertainment Guide
May 26th, 2016

"This one runs only 110 minutes without an intermission, but it sometimes seems like five hours. By stripping the play to its bare bones, Doyle captures essentials, but the setting seems puny for a play with such lofty ambitions...Admittedly 'Peer Gynt' is an exceptionally challenging, but cutting it down to what Doyle has done doesn’t seem to be the answer...In truth I left more exhausted than enlightened."
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Broadway & Me
June 4th, 2016

"It was the cast that initially drew me to the show...They do manage to create a few beautiful moments. But there aren't enough of them to make for a satisfying whole…The meandering tale is supposed to chronicle Gynt's search for his true self but Doyle's concept left me totally lost. And since there was no scenery to orient me and no costumes to signal when the actors were assuming different characters, I eventually gave up even trying to understand it."
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Off Off Online
May 30th, 2016

"Gabriel Ebert’s the best thing about the production. Ebert conveys the young Peer with high-kicking brio and excess of energy, yet in the quieter scenes his maturity comes to the fore...Although Doyle’s minimalist, modernist approach may force one to focus on the words, the loss of color and variety risks dulling one’s senses and resulting in confusion. To anyone who has experienced a full production, this 'Peer Gynt' seems intent on sensory deprivation."
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Z
May 26th, 2016

“Director John Doyle serves up ‘Peer’ with his signature spare staging...Peer is played by the talented Gabriel Ebert in an inexhaustible and exhausting performance...In his challenging and fraught search for himself he twists his body, his voice, and his emotions. Ebert does what he can. But this prop-less, set-less, costume-less, several-hours-less production is also missing, in the end, a compelling reason to watch his contortions.”
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Epoch Times
May 30th, 2016

"Director Doyle is noted for his minimalist productions...However, in the case of this production, more might have been more. I missed the section, deleted here, of Anitra the beautiful Arabian woman and her seductive dance; nor does Solveig sing her song...Performances are fine, with an outstanding contribution by the energetic and athletic Gabriel Ebert."
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Let's Talk Off-Broadway
May 29th, 2016

"This is a shrunken version of the epic verse drama...In the role of Peer, Gabriel Ebert runs the gamut of human experience and of affect and emotion...It would be great to see Ebert in a fully realized version of this tantalizing, confusing, and iconic drama...I wish Classic Stage had brought to Ibsen’s 'Peer Gynt' a broad, determined embrace of the play’s epic scope and complexities. Without that, and in spite of Ebert’s great efforts, the play seems irrelevant, even silly."
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NY Theatre Guide
May 26th, 2016

“CSC’s awkward adaptation of the misadventures of Henrik Ibsen’s anti-hero...The problem isn’t extreme cutting...Rather, it is overcompensation...This production’s modernizing of Peer makes him comes across as a narcissist and spoiled brat...Gabriel Ebert does what he can. However, when the Tony Award winner must use an exaggerated stage whisper for his id/inner self, he sounds false...'Peer Gynt' didn’t have to be traditional. It only needed to not try to be everything.”
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