The Alchemist
Ends Dec 19 1h 55m
The Alchemist
81

The Alchemist NYC Reviews and Tickets

81%
(99 Reviews)
Positive
89%
Mixed
8%
Negative
3%
Members say
Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Clever, Great staging

An updated version of English playwright Ben Jonson's rowdy, plague-set comedy. 

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Member Reviews (99)

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80
Broad farce, Excellent set/costumes, Great staging, Strong acting, Entertaining

See it if you loved Noises Off/Play Th Goes Wrong. If farce is your thing, you'll have fun. Strong actingstagi/ng. Gr design elements. Very polished.

Don't see it if you want substance. Or you don't like anachronisms for cheap laughs (I found Act II song jarring). Accents wobble; can be hard to understand Read more

80
Entertaining, Absorbing, Funny

See it if Fun clever story. Very well acted, adapted and directed. Enjoyable.

Don't see it if At exactly 2 hrs, the show should have done without an intermission. Maybe 5-10 min can be shaved off the first act.

74
Entertaining, Repetitive, Silly, Funny

See it if You enjoy silly, slapstick comedy in a period setting. Lots of slamming doors. It's a fun show that is well performed.

Don't see it if If you dislike silly comedies. I found act 1 to be a little receptive in it's jokes and humor. Would have liked it better as a 1 act.

84
Ambitious, Funny, Great acting, Entertaining, Clever

See it if you enjoy classic farce with a few contemporary allusions, fine performances from experienced farceurs, & love delicious on stage chaos

Don't see it if you are not a fan of farce, don't enjoy ridiculous but funny plots or doors banging, costumes flying, mistaken identities or plot twists

81
Entertaining, Quirky, Hilarious, Funny

See it if Enjoyed the show it funny and take away stress. Good acting. Theater nice size. Around 2hr.,

Don't see it if If you want a serious show.

85
Funny, Clever, Great staging, Great acting

See it if you enjoy clever madcap farce performed with style. If you liked The Government Inspector, you will like this.

Don't see it if you don't like nonstop madcap action with little purpose other than to entertain.

84
Entertaining, Raunchy, Zany, Great staging, Frenetic

See it if interested in a wonderfully staged & costumed updated version of Ben Jonson's farce performed by a cast of exemplary character actors.

Don't see it if prudish, or expecting subtlety.

83
Great choreography, Great set, Great acting, Entertaining, Ambitious

See it if you enjoy absurdist, comic theater with a more than adequate modern interpretation of a classic script

Don't see it if you hate absurdist comedy or modern takes on classics not true to the original language Read more

Critic Reviews (7)

The New York Times
November 21st, 2021

"The dialogue often zings, and Berger orchestrates the farcical comings and goings on Alexis Distler’s bi-level set at the requisite madcap pace — at the performance I attended, the excellent Rogers (who played the director of the musical-within-the-musical in “Tootsie”) ad-libbed a line about all the stairs he had to climb. But the show is better at setting up the plot than at resolving it when we return from intermission — it is, after all, easier to throw a bunch of pins up in the air than it is to juggle them."
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Time Out New York
November 22nd, 2021

"4 stars!...Berger and Hatcher put all of them through their fast paces, disguising some structural weaknesses in the play itself; the promise of the first act isn’t quite met in the second, when the threads of the story wind up looping into knots. It’s a strange amalgam: a shaggy-dog farce. But even when The Alchemist loses the plot, its energetic plotters are fun to watch."
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Theatermania
November 22nd, 2021

"Powered by implausible situations and the kind of supercharged comic performances that make those situations seem perfectly acceptable, The Alchemist represents a mighty return for Red Bull Theater, the scrappy troupe with a joyously modern outlook on the classics."
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Lighting & Sound America
November 22nd, 2021

There's no way to describe the mélange of plot, counterplot, and subplot that follows, as the bell rings, new disguises are thrown around the room, and doors open and shut with precision. As in Jonson, the action is really a series of comings and goings with little overall design. But the hilarity remains steady for the two-hour running time, largely, I suspect because Berger and company know exactly how far to take this nonsense, staying on just this side of comic excess. It's a remarkable balancing act.
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New York Stage Review
November 21st, 2021

"4 stars!...Jesse Berger, who heads the Red Bull Theater, has a soft spot in his heart for comedy/dramas past and has now given The Alchemist more than a moment’s thought. He’s directed and produced an entertaining revival-revisal for our time. He’s accomplished this using Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation and tapping some of the best farceurs hanging around these days."
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TheaterScene.net
November 23rd, 2021

While Berger’s work with the actors is excellent, the pace might be quicker, although considering the complicated plot (Coleridge notwithstanding) it might become harder to follow. Felciano and Rogers are a bit more muted than one would expect for the con-artists but never go beyond credulity. As Dapper, Elrod who has entertained us in such David Ives’ satires as The Liar, The Heir Apparent, Lives of the Saints and All in the Timing isn’t given much to do which is not his fault.
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Theater Pizzazz
November 21st, 2021

Jonson’s farce requires rapid pacing, of course. The question is, must it be a supercharged, 0-to-3 door-slammer that would make the Marx Brothers at their zaniest look like novices? Each actor is a talented clown, with individual moments of comic glitter, and each brings distinctive…colorings to their shenanigans. But since their chief goal appears to get laughs at any cost rather than create even a modicum of reality, the play becomes secondary to their overstated carryings on.
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