68

Plenty NYC Reviews and Tickets

68%
(153 Reviews)
Positive
54%
Mixed
34%
Negative
12%
Members say
Great acting, Disappointing, Confusing, Slow, Intelligent

About the Show

Oscar winner Rachel Weisz headlines the Public Theater revival of David Hare's WWII drama about one woman’s struggle to lead a liberated life in a repressive era.

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Member Reviews (153)

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70
Absorbing, Ambitious, Well-acted, Great set, Imperfect

See it if you're a Hare fan. I find he chooses a good premise, creates strong characters, but always gets a bit lost. Strong acting, great moving set.

Don't see it if you dislike insanity on stage. RW's performance was bumpy in those parts. Still my issues were mostly with the script. Solid production.

77
Ambitious, Intelligent, Great acting, Slow, Disappointing

See it if you admire David Hare's work, want to see Corey Stoll deliver a transfixing performance, enjoy metaphors about decline of Britian

Don't see it if you're hoping for a star turn from Rachel Weisz, don't know a lot about 40's-60's British system or its diplomatic system

Critic Reviews (37)

October 24th, 2016

"This 'Plenty' feels as artificial and remote as a Mayfair melodrama from the 1920s...Much of this has to do, surprisingly, with Ms. Weisz...She never really registers as a serious threat. Nor does she break our hearts...The performances by Mr. Jennings and Mr. Stoll embody what’s best in Mr. Hare’s play, the ways in which seeming archetypes surprise by not hewing to type...Yet the grayness that envelops this production is less one of moral ambiguity than of hazy dramatic uncertainty."
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October 23rd, 2016

“Weisz is an absorbing and intelligent actor, and she traces Susan’s descent into mental illness with persuasive bitterness and glamour. Yet despite her fine work, 'Plenty' seems remote…Its urgency is at risk of losing force with the passage of time...Most of the creditable supporting performances fall into a similar trap; aside from the splendid Byron Jennings...The plenitude of Hare’s play is not well served by this production’s postures of austerity.”
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October 23rd, 2016

"The role’s hugeness demands a corresponding hugeness in the performer. Weisz clearly knows this, pushing hard and getting close to the mark...Susan needs to be a glamorous nightmare, and Weisz is only halfway there. In this she is not helped by Leveaux’s decidedly non-epic production...Without feeling viscerally how thrilling and ego-consuming Susan’s war was, the audience cannot properly grasp her ensuing boredom and monstrousness. Her wails of despair become little more than whines."
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October 23rd, 2016

“Neither director David Leveaux nor Rachel Weisz in the lead role satisfyingly meets the challenges of this structurally complex drama...The precise reasons why the production packs so little charge are hard to define, but a dated text and a disconnect between director and material loom large among them...Weisz gives an oddly stilted performance here, wan and distant in the scenes of relative composure and artificial in the explosive rants."
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October 23rd, 2016

"'Plenty' covers 19 years, three countries, and eight locales in its 12 scenes—and the shifts can be clunky, and lengthy...One constant throughout director David Leveaux’s poorly paced revival: the luminous Weisz, who radiates steely determination and profound intelligence in every scene. Even Hare admitted the role is underwritten... Weisz’s distinct gift is that she gets us thinking about what Hare hasn’t shown. The gaps between are almost as intriguing as the scenes themselves."
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October 23rd, 2016

"Although the play’s original impact has been blunted with time, this slick revival directed by David Leveaux respects the historical moment...Weisz has a sweet quality that lends poignancy to the idealistic heroine’s bitter disillusionment with the cold realities of the modern age. She’s out of her depth, though, in the scenes that show Susan struggling to maintain her mental equilibrium within her social set...Leveaux’s strong production features solid supporting actors."
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October 25th, 2016

"It’s a signal event, a comprehensively satisfying production that features a blowtorch-hot performance by Rachel Weisz...Ms. Weisz’s blazing performance, like the play itself, is ambiguous enough to permit multiple interpretations...Mr. Stoll is no less adept at conveying Raymond’s mounting frustration, and the ever-satisfying Byron Jennings gives a beautifully nuanced performance...David Leveaux has staged “Plenty” with a supple fluidity."
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October 23rd, 2016

"Neither Weisz nor her director David Leveaux meets that challenge in this revival, which in both her character and in the sense of overall emotional impact is somewhat chilly…Instead of a textured reading, the production glosses the content and is as chilly Mike Britton’s set…Least well served is Weisz. Her high-pitched, rapid-fire line readings conspire to keep Susan from getting under our skin…I left the theater not so much emotionally wrung out as merely shaking my head."
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October 24th, 2016

"A sinking feeling immediately takes hold and doesn’t let go throughout David Leveaux’s sluggish production. The big issue: Oscar winner Rachel Weisz's star turn as Susan Traherne, a British secret agent who buckles under the stiff and stultifying banality of post-war England...A bleating Weisz proves surprisingly unconvincing in this tricky role."
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October 23rd, 2016

"It’s not hard to see what attracts great actresses to the part of Susan...and Weisz gives a poised and assertive performance. That said, the play is slow, depressing and jumbled, leaving little reason to bring it back other than to serve as a star vehicle. The grim-looking set design, built around thick, brick-like walls, adds to the feeling of oppression."
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October 23rd, 2016

“The fragmented structure of Hare's script gives 'Plenty' an impressionistic quality, a feeling that Leveaux seizes on but can't find particularly engaging ways to illuminate outside of broad strokes…Most of the performances are disappointingly one-note...Weisz is a luminous actress...But she hasn't really burrowed as deeply into Susan as we need her to...Perhaps with a firmer hand guiding the ship, this revival would produce a wallop of emotion that delivers on its title.”
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October 24th, 2016

"Weisz is always intriguing...Susan is at the center of every scene, and Weisz keeps her transitions firm and believable, but Leveaux's stilted and slow-moving production supplies little for her to bounce off. Aside from the typically exceptional work of Byron Jennings, the men seem barely a match for her...Scene changes are often too slow and there's a uniform drabness about the production's look. Some of this may be intentional...but it undercuts the effectiveness of Hare's interesting play."
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October 24th, 2016

"That's not to say Weisz doesn't have many effective moments...What Weisz doesn't do is make Susan's raging dissatisfaction anything bigger than itself. This is a major problem, because Susan is the lens through which we view the changes reshaping Britain, all of which happen offstage...Still, Leveaux gets good work from several members of the supporting cast...'Plenty' is still very much worth seeing, even in a production that doesn't realize its full potential."
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October 23rd, 2016

"If there's a fine accord between the script and production, which Leveaux weights a hair self-consciously but nonetheless moves with agility and grace, Weisz does not provide them the consistently unshakable emotional core they demand...The rest of the cast is much more effective, especially Stoll...Though the point would be hammered home clearer with a Susan more capable of anchoring the strikes, Hare's play thrills and unnerves."
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November 8th, 2016

"I still find the work’s premise to be fundamentally flawed. 'Plenty' is meant to be both character study and metaphor, but it doesn’t satisfactory fulfill the requirements on either count...What it takes to cover the work’s imbalances is a great actress. Fortunately, at the center of David Leveaux’s revival is Rachel Weisz, who hands in a fully committed portrait of Susan...An imperfect if often riveting piece of theater, 'Plenty' does leave plenty of things for us to think about."
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November 5th, 2016

"Every so often a play comes along that defines an era. Such is the case with 'Plenty,' David Hare’s landmark 1978 drama about post World War II England now being given a clear-eyed revival at the Public that is both moving and haunting in its retrospective insights...Under David Leveaux’s economic, restrained direction, the uniformly excellent cast shines. Rachel Weisz gives a deeply affecting performance in a role that matches Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler in its complexity."
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October 23rd, 2016

"The current stylishly staged and splendidly performed revival is still a gripping example of Mr. Hare's skillful blend of personal and historical theater...Weisz is not as deeply nuanced in every aspect of Susan's story as one might hope for. She does ruthless, self-absorption and righteousness very well indeed, but her mental fragility tilts too much towards complete craziness...The rest of the large cast adds immeasurably to 'Plenty's' retaining its dramatic force."
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October 25th, 2016

"At first, we may be frustrated by the underlying disconnection the actors sustain...But as the story unfolds, we see that the chill that runs through it is a comment on the effects of war itself...After the devastation, we have to rebuild, reconnect, empathize, make friends with the enemy while only looking forward because the past is too painful...To an insane human being, the adjustment is utterly impossible...'Plenty' is crazy beauty in these ashes. Go see it."
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October 23rd, 2016

"This dense play, exquisitely directed by Leveaux with precision and style, is still a struggle to unlock...Susan’s slow mental deterioration, brilliantly portrayed by the exceptional Rachel Weisz, mirrors the British post-war disillusionment and depression, and is as exciting as it is devastating...'Plenty' challenges us to lean in and play close attention as it bounces around the '40’s, '50s and '60s. But as we put the puzzle pieces together, we begin to all feel the weight of Susan’s story."
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October 25th, 2016

"'Plenty’s' intrigue and characters are indissociable from their context...Weisz is left to fill in the emotional void but her Susan Traherne borders on the hysterical, gasping between lines barked in strident tones and barreling across the stage in fits of pique. Worse, she never makes us feel what her dilemma, or her fight, really is...Suez is 'Plenty’s' Waterloo...But as forgotten as it is for American audiences, it makes a neatly appropriate allusion for this forgettable production."
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October 23rd, 2016

"Of all the crazed, destructive, female characters that the stage has given us, Susan Traherne may be among the least interesting, at least as performed by Rachel Weisz...'Plenty' is far more oblique and disjointed than some of Hare’s other work; the scenes feel like shorthand, and are not all in chronological order...'Plenty' features a beautiful movie star, foul language, guns and gunshots, actual smoking, even both male and female nudity, and still ends up feeling dull."
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October 24th, 2016

"Weisz, who is normally so warm and empathetic, is so chilly you can feel the frost. We never bond with her and this character that lives for herself is hard to like, let alone love...Told in jumbled pieces like her mind, the play does not follow a strict timeline, weaving back and forth. In the hands of David Leveaux, the show becomes even more confusing, stark and long...Weisz loses this round. We never feel for her so the last scene seems pointless."
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October 23rd, 2016

"Because the play works on so many levels and delights in so many ambiguities, it requires a firm sense of place and time and purpose, which David Leveaux’s revival does not offer...One place seems very much like another, one conflict too much like the next...As Susan, Weisz has some big heels to fill...She sometimes strains for effect...But hers is a high-voltage performance, pulsating with alternating currents, flashing against the bleakness of Susan’s world."
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October 23rd, 2016

“Hare’s drama doesn’t play as well as memory serves. At least in this revival. Susan remains a complex portrait, as does her doomed marriage, but beyond that small orbit of two people, the other characters often register as mere devices…And there are bigger disappointments. Minor characters are often ridiculed for no good purpose other than to induce easy laughs…If Brexit didn’t already make it clear, Britain’s superiority complex and xenophobia survived the Suez Canal crisis very much intact.”
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October 30th, 2016

"Hare’s writing is brilliant and director Leveaux shifts scenes smoothly between past and present and keeps the look spartan enough so that the performances always stand out sharply...Weisz gives a fabulous performance as she falls further and further into emotional trauma...The essence of Hare’s play is there with all its striking political undertow. And one should come away with new admiration for Weisz’s range of talent."
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November 16th, 2016

“The miscasting of the two leads has thrown the entire production off-balance…Weisz, under David Leveaux's listless direction, seemed unsure of how to play the role…Her Susan was far too confident at times, as though she could brush off annoyances with the flick of her hand…Corey Stoll was even less convincing as Susan's husband Raymond...The only one who truly hits the mark is Byron Jennings who plays Raymond's mentor."
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October 23rd, 2016

“Wonderfully smart and deeply satisfying…Rachel Weisz is riveting — febrile, passionate, yet understated — in director David Leveaux’s blazingly confident production, which also stars the excellent Corey Stoll...Hare goes back and forth through decades of highs and lows in multiple times and places and moods...Weisz, with a heart-shaped face that captures both the lights and the very darks of Susan’s journey, surprises us just as much as Susan shocks her friends and loved ones."
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October 24th, 2016

"An absorbing Public Theater revival, directed by David Leveaux and featuring a powerful, edgy performance by Rachel Weisz...Weisz, petite and fragile-looking, vividly conveys Susan’s unpredictable willfulness, the unsettling combination of strength and turmoil that struggle inside her, often behind a self-assured façade...'Plenty' is an old-fashioned play of the best kind: solidly built, intelligent, thoughtful and provocative."
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October 23rd, 2016

"Rachel Weisz here brings impressive emotional range to that central role and exudes an alluringly damaged presence throughout. The supporting male characters all seem intentionally stodgier...Under David Leveaux’s direction, an oppressive sense of torpor prevails...The play suffers, however, from Hare’s eagerness to turn Weisz’s character into an ideological mouthpiece and her childlessness into a heavy-handed metaphor."
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October 24th, 2016

"Weisz is mesmerizing...but the award-winning actress would have been better served by a more coherently directed and designed production...In Leveaux’s interpretation, I was particularly unsure what time or place it was...Weisz, at least, offers a consistent portrayal of a woman who is manic, manipulative and hollow. The character’s arc is devastating, but—and I mean this in the best possible way—her performance is like a slow-motion car crash from which you can’t avert your eyes."
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October 23rd, 2016

“Far more than a vibrant assertion of the enduring value of Hare's work, this ‘Plenty’ is mostly just a handsomely designed bore. The first of the production's many problems is that Hare's play now just seems dated and even quaint in its concern...The other, arguably even bigger problem here is Weisz, who is overemphatic and histrionic almost from the start…’Plenty’ is a slog that only the most devoted (or perhaps just masochistic) Anglophiles should consider taking.”
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W
October 29th, 2016

"It's a complicated play, told as a shattered, out-of-order narrative. It can be tough to know what's happening. This production, directed by David Leveaux, certainly doesn't make it clear. There are few anchors to let us know when, exactly, something is occurring...You might find yourself feeling sorry for Susan, and agreeing with her husband that she might be healthier in a facility — instead of rooting for her freedom, as you're meant to."
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October 27th, 2016

"Like its lead character, the production fails to recapture the excitement of the moment of its creation. Partly there's a problem of pace. 'Plenty' is a play about a restless spirit, returning from war service, but David Leveaux's production is far too static to engage. And Rachel Weisz's laboured performance as former secret agent Susan Traherne is surprisingly inauthentic, full of phoney posturing and cold emotions."
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Z
October 27th, 2016

"What is meant to be Susan’s frustration at the failures and cynicism of post-war England comes across as childish petulance...Weisz stamps and laughs, does drugs, both prescribed and not, waves a gun (even shoots it), and flings her waiflike body across the stage. But it’s a whole lot of signifying nothing, and none of the other decent performances, from Corey Stoll as her trying-so-hard decent husband to Emily Bergl as her wised-up best friend, are helping much."
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November 4th, 2016

"Disappointment is the undeniable theme of 'Plenty,' David Hare’s play that is presented in a lukewarm revival at the Public Theater. And that disappointment is not limited to just the characters onstage...While Weisz is known as a fine actress, her performance as Susan fails to inspire much of anything from the audience other than exhaustion...Disjointed and difficult to follow...The feminist tones of the production feel forced."
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T
October 24th, 2016

"Rachel Weisz is electrifying as Susan Traherne...Weisz can’t save the play’s more plodding moments...She’s developed a language of caged gesture, sometimes more stilted than convincing, but she’s also fierce, destructive and dignified...Corey Stoll fleshes out Susan’s husband with surprising sympathy while Emily Bergl captures the peculiarly British bohemianism of Weisz’s confidante, Alice. Even cameo roles...feel alive with Englishness."
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October 20th, 2016

"Rachel Weisz and Corey Stoll are terrific actors; we know this. Unfortunately, they have no chemistry on stage, leaving a void where there is supposed to be dramatic tension or intrigue. Neither of their characters is interesting, nor are the goings-on around them...Perhaps because of the lack of chemistry and interest, I found nothing compelling about the play, and, in fact, found the two-and-a-half hours I spent watching it to be tedious."
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