"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
"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
"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
“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
“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
"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
"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
"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." Full Review
“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." 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
"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
"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
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." 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
"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
“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
"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
“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
"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
"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
"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
"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
See it if You enjoy phenomenal actors working hard to make intense drama. You like the star power, you like intricate and interesting sets.
Don't see it if You don't like your plays with confusing structures that rely very heavily on the actors without letting them breath within the story.
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 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 Not sure who would like this play, frankly--incredibly dated and slow, but maybe someone interested in the historical significance of it.
Don't see it if You like absorbing, intelligent theater.
See it if You are a fan of this playwright, you love Rachel Weisz or political drama set in this period, you have read the script
Don't see it if You are even slightly distracted by anything else - I see a lot of theater but couldn't follow the story arc and needed someone to explain
See it if Well...it's David Hare and the Public Theater; the production is slick; there's a starry lead; it's sold out; Corey Stoll and Emily Bergl...
Don't see it if are excellent. But the play and the lead performance are shallow, trifling, empty. How did I not see this before? Is being younger a reason?
See it if enjoy class related dramas about British Society and a mad woman that desperately needs to fit in.
Don't see it if you are easily confused by time shifts, British slang and quirky drama
See it if outstanding cast with great acting and scenery. its an ambitious revival. performances are great.
Don't see it if if you need a linear play. this one can be confusing. i walked out saying what was the point of the play.
See it if You are a major fan of all David Hare plays. You love intense twisted hard to follow plots.
Don't see it if You can't get a seat in the front ! I was in the next to last row and found it very hard to get involved because it is very important to be
See it if You like David Hare, and want to see all his work. This, while well written, is not well presented, the central role in particular.
Don't see it if You are not up on you British political history of the 50-60's, and don't care.
See it if / for good performances by Stoll and the always-reliable Jennings. Weisz was fine, but not as transcendent as Nelligan in the original.
Don't see it if you're tired of plays that equate mental illness with moral vision, or you can never remember what the Suez crisis was about.
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.
Get alerts about your favorite artists and theater companies