See it if to see a less popular Strindberg dark comedy in which a dissatisfied couple, trapped in a miserable 25 year marriage, trade barbs & torments
Don't see it if you seek sentimentality, romance, light-hearted humor & happy endings. Read more
See it if It's McPherson's dark Irish humor in adapt that provides most interest in this fitful revival Actors tend to lean into sit-com territory
Don't see it if Drama frustrated by Clark's lackluster comic-centric direction Couple's danger & desperation never really reaches Stindbergian heights
See it if a darkly funny story of a miserable marriage (on the eve of the 25th anniversary) where the spouses trade vicious barbs;
Don't see it if you want to be emotionally moved - either concerned or frightened or on the edge of your seat; some acting over the top; drags at 110 mins.
See it if a tepid take of Strindberg suits your preferences
Don't see it if morbid depressing stories amplified by a monotone cast and dramatized by a gory playwright are abhorrent to you
See it if Strindberg is an acquired taste, but this translation brings out the humor in a truly dysfunctional marriage
Don't see it if You have a low attention span or like your plays to be clearly comedy or drama . ..not both
See it if you are a fan of August Strindberg or simply want to see an extremely well done show all around
Don't see it if you are bothered by people laughing at inappropriate situations or physical violence
See it if you can steel yourself for an evening with the most unpleasant people you have probably ever met. It is certainly never boring!
Don't see it if you like light, uplifting fare with a happy ending.
See it if Something about the turn-of-the-century writers of Old makes their work so Special, so important, no matter how low the budget. Words-work!!
Don't see it if Don't see if U have a happy marriage, cause the two main characters of this play LOATHE each other to the point of hilarity. Sarcasm 101!!!
"Seems to take place entirely at room temperature...Provides an accessible and assimilable introduction to a complex and uncomfortable world. Cautious theatergoers unacquainted with Strindberg may dip their toes into his work without being blistered...The virtue of such underplaying is that, when what the performers are saying so calmly fully registers, your jaw drops in wonder at the harshness of it...The disadvantage is that while Alice and Edgar are sometimes funny, they’re never scary."
"It's a treat that director Victoria Clark...leans into the bleak humor in this depiction of a husband and wife so scarily destructive they make the central couple in 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf' seem cozy...Subtle it's not, and at times the performances teeter on the edge of overdone. But if Strindberg's observations about class and gender get buried under the broadness, the dark comedy of codependence shines through."
"As Alice and Edgar, the warring couple at the center of 'The Dance of Death,' Beck and Topol don’t hit the same fierce pitch as their young counterparts in 'Mies Julie'...This 'Dance of Death' never fully finds either its horror or its humor. Director Victoria Clark keeps her actors talking quickly but without much variety...Clark is unaided by McPherson’s translation, which feels ungrounded in a strong vernacular and more than a little phoned in."
"The performances are generally good, but Mr. Topol’s Edgar comes off rather like a goofy sitcom character, which can’t be right. Overall, the results don’t quite measure up to Writers Theatre’s 2014 U.S. premiere of Mr. McPherson’s adaptation...If, however, 'The Dance of Death' is new to you, this staging—and Mr. McPherson’s adaptation—will give you a clear and mostly satisfying idea of what it’s all about."
"'The Dance of Death' is a nuclear standoff that is all too often more tiresome than taut..It's an appropriately joyless display, and Topol delivers a perfectly head-spinning performance as a compulsive liar and drunkard who, like his marriage, is constantly on the brink of death...But even McPherson, a playwright with an aptitude for building drama in confined spaces, can't lift 'The Dance of Death' out of its monotony."
"Strindberg's 1900 darkly comic drama...accenting the mannered language of over a hundred years ago with flippant moments of contemporary vernacular...While 'The Dance of Death' is certainly not the strongest of Strindberg's plays, its vision of a storybook marriage gone sour remains relatable, and, from a distance, perversely entertaining."
"Victoria Clark's staging of 'The Dance of Death,' Strindberg's bilious view of marriage as an extreme sport, bubbles with acid comedy...McPherson's version draws its bitter humor from characters who aren't afraid to bare the bald facts of their claustrophobic marital antagonism...Under Clark's spirited direction, every drop of this cyanide-laced cocktail delivers an appalling kick...'The Dance of Death' is a canonical work, but not an entirely satisfying one."
"Although director Victoria Clark...may see humor here, she doesn’t pursue it...How many times do assaulted viewers want to see Edgar and Alice spew verbal and physical venom at each other only to reconcile, et cetera? Pulling Kurt into the spiteful vortex only exacerbates things...Maybe next time, an adventurous director might try mounting the classic(?) play as an out-and-out laff fest."