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. More…
A groundbreaking work by the Tony and Olivier Award-winning writer of 'Skylight' and 'The Hours,' 'Plenty' is the story of Susan Traherne, a fiercely intelligent British secret agent flown into France during World War II. Her experiences among her wartime colleagues and during the two decades that follow are distilled in powerful scenes in this endlessly layered work about a woman of remarkable bravery, who cannot find in peacetime the values and relationships she cherished in war. Directed by five-time Tony nominee David Leveaux ('Arcadia,' 'Cyrano de Bergerac') and costarring Corey Stoll.
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
“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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"'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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
“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.” Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
“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.” Full Review
"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." Full Review
“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.” Full Review
"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." Full Review
See it if You like character-driven, thoughtful, relevant plays. And if you like two-act plays with long time-lines.
Don't see it if You want more action than talk, light entertainment.
See it if fine production terrific acting from Rachel Weisz Corey Stoll Emily Bergl et al beautifully staged & costumed. Great play by 1 of the best
Don't see it if u have no familiarity with post WWII British social conditions & politics, or don't care. If you can't identify with mentally ill characters
See it if Rachel Weisz inhabits Susan with intensity and pathos; wonderful supporting cast
Don't see it if Scenes can be so abstract that the timeline jumps are more confusing than the script allows
See it if You are interested in serious themes of loss, PTSD, social isolation and self destructive behavior resulting from traumatic war experiences.
Don't see it if Nonlinear plots confuse or annoy you. Individuals struggling to find meaning and human connection in very damaging ways are not your thing.
See it if you want to see a great play performed by an O/S cast that shows the transition in life of a WW11 agent in France & the toll it takes on her
Don't see it if you don't like plays that required full attention and have many layers.
See it if you missed it last time around. It's a great piece of writing.
Don't see it if you don't like scenes not in chronological order and no program notes nor projections to help you figure out what was happening when.
See it if you like character studies of people in challenging circumstances. Rachel Weisz gives an astonishing, riveting performance.
Don't see it if You want light entertainment, a blockbuster, or an action-packed, plot-driven show.
See it if You like dramas that are centered on strong heroines and have a historical back drop.
Don't see it if You like comedies or shows that are set in current times. Or are uncomfortable with sexual situations being portrayed and discussed on stage
See it if You are a fan of David Hare and like a play that's going to challenge your mind in regards to the human psyche after war. Weisz is amazing
Don't see it if You don't want something that requires you to focus or are looking for a light evening of theatre that's not too profound
See it if You are attracted to the star power of fine actors like Rachel Weisz, intelligent drama, and WWII period plays
Don't see it if Get confused by disjointed time lines, don't like psychological dramas, eschew nudity,
See it if You value great acting. Everyone was good. I wanted to like it more. I'm not sure what the disconnect was.
Don't see it if You want a straightforward story, or don't enjoy period pieces.
See it if You can withstand the poor direction, Weisz' wanting performance, and sometimes poor set design, for great secondary performances
Don't see it if You have little patience for long, often confusing, story line. In has been done much better in the hands of others.
See it if you want to see a super-talented cast deal with a difficult play. Hunky Corey Stoll is so good at his craft that he turns into a nerdy self
Don't see it if you don't want to deal with disjointed scenes out of a proper time sequence or a frustrating overpraised play.
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
See it if You enjoy great acting--this is definitely a great show to see Rachel Weise and Corey Stoll. Innovative set, beautiful imagery.
Don't see it if You don't really enjoy older, somewhat dated pieces. The script is old fashioned, and a bit confusing at times. It jumps around a lot.
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