The Judas Kiss
Closed 2h 30m
The Judas Kiss
79

The Judas Kiss NYC Reviews and Tickets

79%
(89 Reviews)
Positive
87%
Mixed
12%
Negative
1%
Members say
Great acting, Intelligent, Absorbing, Slow, Great writing

About the Show

BAM presents David Hare's multidimensional study of esteemed 19th-century playwright Oscar Wilde (Rupert Everett), who quickly went from success to exile.

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Member Reviews (89)

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80
Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent, Long, Thought-provoking

See it if you are a Wilde fan (who isn't?). Everett is riveting. The play is slow, but is solid. Intelligent and witty. Even touching. Sophisticated.

Don't see it if you prefer experimental works; this is an old-fashioned charmer. Very talky; little movement. Gratuitous nudity for spice. Many white males!

76
Interesting, Slow, Entertaining, Great acting

See it if you like historical fiction, Oscar Wilde, & flawed characters. It's well written & acted.

Don't see it if this is slow and Everett looks way older than Wilde's mid-40s. It can get tedious at points. Male nudity bothers you. Borderline pedantic.

Critic Reviews (37)

The New York Times
May 17th, 2016

"How do you create dynamic drama with a hero who refuses to move? Armfield’s luxurious revival doesn’t solve that problem...This production artfully illuminates the greatest, most operatic contradiction that Mr. Hare’s Oscar embodies. That’s love as a force both sacred and profane...The second biggest problem with 'Judas': As written — and as played — Bosie isn’t worthy of anyone’s love...Which means 'The Judas Kiss' is without friction as well as without motion."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
May 17th, 2016

"Everett could hardly be better in a role he seems to have grown himself toward...In the process the play, too, grows toward the brilliance of its subject...The play’s flaw is too essential to be repaired so Armfield has had the good sense to highlight it instead. As Bosie, Charlie Rowe does nothing (except look good) to mitigate the character’s awfulness...Importantly, this production is also much more beautiful than the earlier one."
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The Hollywood Reporter
May 17th, 2016

"Everett delivers a performance that deserves to become legendary...The play is admittedly a bit slow and talky...Still, there are many moving moments...The witticisms are, not surprisingly, delivered with exquisite comic timing by Everett. But his performance goes much deeper. Wearing a fat suit and a wig, the dashing actor is virtually unrecognizable in the role, but the weight of his portrayal is as emotional as it is physical."
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The Wall Street Journal
May 19th, 2016

"Mr. Everett’s performance is a creative impersonation of breathtaking authority...One of the failings of 'The Judas Kiss' is that Mr. Hare, much to my surprise, has idealized Wilde’s personality...Even more disappointing are the one-note performances of the actors cast in the key supporting roles...I wouldn’t have wanted to miss seeing Mr. Everett, nor should you, but be forewarned that you’re more than likely to go home feeling let down.”
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New York Post
May 20th, 2016

"Rupert Everett, barely recognizable in a padded suit and prosthetic makeup, plays Oscar Wilde in the late 1890s, when the writer was tried for 'gross indecency' for his affair with Lord Alfred 'Bosie' Douglas...There’s delicious indecency from actor Tom Colley, who spends 20 minutes reclining in the nude. That, unfortunately, is the only rise David Hare’s gabby drama provokes."
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New York Daily News
June 7th, 2016

"The first act in David Hare’s 1998 vivid but verbose play takes place right before Wilde is imprisoned for his out-and-loud sexuality. The second unfolds after his release from the clink and his handsome blue-blood lover cavalierly betrays him. Neil Armfield’s staging comes with a fine performances by Everett and company, moody atmosphere and exposed skin, especially from a minor character with a major physique."
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AM New York
May 20th, 2016

"Wearing a fat suit, Everett delivers a wonderfully detailed and nuanced performance that captures Wilde’s flamboyance, wit and generosity but also stresses his vulnerabilities...Unfortunately, Neil Armfield’s spare and uneven production does not make a strong case for the play...The first act is packed with drama, but the second act is downbeat and static. Other than Wilde, the characters are painted thin, especially the detestable Bosie."
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Theatermania
May 17th, 2016

"We know about Wilde's tragic end, but we have a hard time believing that he took it so tragically the whole time. In so thoroughly canonizing Wilde, Hare and Armfield rob him of that which makes him so special: His irreverent wit and propensity to treat all serious things of life with sincere and studied triviality. Worse, it gives Wilde no real emotional journey, rendering this drama not just depressing, but sleepy."
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BroadwayWorld
May 18th, 2016

"The elegantly faded and crumbled interior of BAM's Harvey Theatre is a most appropriate venue…As written, and particularly as performed by a captivating Rupert Everett, the central character becomes rather elegantly faded and crumbled himself…While Everett masterfully delivers the sardonic Wilde wit that Hare sprinkles into the proceedings, there's a tender wistfulness about him in director Neil Armfield's melancholy production."
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Lighting & Sound America
June 3rd, 2016

"A vast improvement over the 1998 Broadway engagement, if only because Rupert Everett is so much better than Liam Neeson as Wilde...But two full acts of dramatic stasis prove to be too much; Wilde's passivity in the face of such adversity might provide rich material for drama, but Hare seems only interested in sanctifying it…It's a strange experience to have one of English literature's great wits treated with so much reverence and so little wit."
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TheaterScene.net
May 29th, 2016

"The problem with the play--which was also true in its Broadway production in 1998 which starred Liam Neeson (who was not terribly convincing)--is that it is extremely static. Also we know how things turned out so there is no suspense as to the outcome."
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Theater Pizzazz
May 26th, 2016

"Few actors could be better suited to play Wilde than Everett, who has devoted himself to the role in both look and temperament...The banter between Wilde and Bosie is lost in the latter’s one-dimensional delivery, which was shouty and unmeasured. Rather than a battle of wits, the dialog between the two men is one-sided...Hare’s writing is terrific here and throughout, and so evocative of Wilde. But director Neil Armfield doesn’t let the words penetrate and so much of the play is lost."
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CurtainUp
May 19th, 2016

“‘The Judas Kiss’ is not a great play, not even one of Hare's best. But now it can be considered a very good play, and one well worth seeing. Much of the credit must go to Everett who embodies Wilde in the thoroughly satisfying and effective way we wish every performance could….Armfield, the director, must share in that credit. There is unquestionably much to ponder here, but it is no longer ponderous.”
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Front Mezz Junkies
June 16th, 2016

“It’s a wonderfully performed and written piece, even if it was just this one act, but act two takes us deeper into the dark and complicated relationship of Bosie and Wilde...Everett inhabits the part as if it were tailor-made for him...Directed impeccably by Neil Armfield, with the help of Hare’s beautiful text...The final kiss goodbye leaves us all watching and waiting for a witty and sly comment from Wilde, and what we get is something more powerful: a still and silent all-knowing stare.”
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C
May 18th, 2016

"Do people – and plays – deserve a second chance? These thoughts ran rapidly through my mind while watching Armfield’s often stunning production of David Hare’s 'The Judas Kiss'…Everett captures Wilde’s wit, pride, self-delusion and self-destruction magnificently, lending both heft and pathos to Hare’s work…His actions place him as somewhere between a martyr and a fool, and 'The Judas Kiss' somewhere between Greek tragedy and tragicomedy."
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The Guardian (UK)
May 17th, 2016

"Some of the problems that plagued the initial run are still present. Wilde’s passivity has a way of dulling dramatic tension...But there’s pleasure and substance to be found here, too. Many of the quips sound a lot like Wilde — in part, because many are from Wilde. Others don’t, yet they’re amusing all the same. And for all Wilde’s inactivity, the play does ultimately present his downfall as a kind of tragic inevitability."
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The Wrap
May 17th, 2016

"Critics can now see 'The Judas Kiss' for what it always has been: one of the great plays of the late 20th century...Everett doesn’t make all the difference, which is not to say his performance is anything short of a revelation...As expected, Everett is great at delivering bon mots and epigrams. A lesser playwright would have filled the play with Wilde’s own words...What is totally unexpected in Everett’s portrayal is a heavy lugubriousness that somehow never bogs down the humor."
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Wolf Entertainment Guide
May 20th, 2016

“Engrossingly staged by director Neil Armfield with a superb performance as Oscar Wilde by Rupert Everett...One comes away with admiration for Everett’s performance and a fresh view of the tragedy of what Wilde had to endure in the face of the vicious prejudice of his time, and the devastating complications it brought to his life and relationships.”
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Towleroad
May 23rd, 2016

“The revival delivers neither weightless comedic banter nor thrilling tragic conflict...The one aspect of director Neil Armfield’s staid production likely to raise the pulse is its prolonged stretches of male nudity...Despite occasional outbursts of genuine feeling, Everett’s Wilde seems remote, more put-on than lived in. Rowe’s one-note performance as his young sparring partner doesn’t help, nor does the fact that they seem anything but in love.”
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The Huffington Post
May 30th, 2016

"Wilde is played to perfection by Rupert Everett, who channels the legendary writer at every turn—his wit, charm, exasperating ways and inexplicable Bosie obsession. His sharp, rueful performance alone is worth the price of admission...Hare tries to reconcile Wilde’s public and private selves, to determine why he participates in his own downfall...'The Judas Kiss' isn’t so much a dramatic effort as a compelling examination into the complexities and contradictions of Wilde."
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Financial Times (UK)
May 17th, 2016

"Everett delivers a convincing portrayal of Wilde during his public disgrace that captures the author’s endearing combination of wit, vanity, kindness and self-destructiveness. Alas, there’s not much else to compliment here. Under Armfield’s brisk direction, the other actors all do a decent job. But they are trapped by Hare’s cartoonish text, which turns a complex and fascinating story into a crude morality play."
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Off Off Online
May 17th, 2016

"Rupert Everett has found the role of his career...Neil Armfield’s staging has given Hare’s play the heft of real tragedy...Everett handles the timing and the wit with ease, and he’s physically right as well...Everett inhabits the contradictions, the wit, the passion and the foolishness, in a multifaceted, riveting performance...Perhaps it’s a bit of a stretch for Hare to cast Wilde as a Christ figure, but it’s not hammered at heavily."
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BlogCritics.org
May 19th, 2016

“With impressive dexterity, Hare has written dialogue for Wilde that measures up to the man’s legendary wit. For his part, Everett achieves the elusive theatrical magic of a larger-than-life yet utterly believable performance. Indeed the whole action bubbles in a heady broth of elevated naturalism, a recipe Hare balances so masterfully...A few cheap lapses mar the script here...All in all, we’re lucky that Armfield and the Chichester Festival Theatre have crafted this revival.”
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scribicide
May 23rd, 2016

"Though Mr. Everett is controlled enough to translate Wilde’s puckish humor into bitterness, he cannot rehabilitate a script that is tonally inappropriate and employs moralizing to mask emotional vacancy. Mr. Hare wrote in an introduction to 'The Judas Kiss' that 'the true subject of my play is not Wilde, but love; not Bosie, but betrayal.' When the kiss finally does come, I found no evidence of either."
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NJ.com
May 18th, 2016

"Everett's performance is about all 'The Judas Kiss' has going for it…Hare's play is a static, talky affair that tells much more than it shows, and that never really allows us to understand the central relationship…This revival does itself no favors by attempting to fill the cavernous Harvey Theatre space…Instead of making a case that 'The Judas Kiss' is one of Hare's least appreciated plays, this revival mostly just makes it seem very confused and dated."
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The Huffington Post
May 20th, 2016

"Rupert Everett’s performance is superb, not to be missed, though a little rushed in the first act…Bosie played by Charlie Rowe, is channeling the spirit of his character, excellent in his portrayal of this well-spoken and egotistic young man…For the most part, David Hare has done a wonderful job portraying these historic figures in 'The Judas Kiss,' while director Neil Armfield has fleshed out their frailties and strengths successfully."
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T
May 29th, 2016

"Everett is so downright wonderful, with a witty delivery that feels utterly authentic, that it is impossible for even a moment to doubt that he is the living incarnation of Wilde himself...Hare’s writing and Armfield’s direction keep the dramatic tension high, but also maintain enough comic moments and witticisms to make the heartbreaking moments even more biting."
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BroadwayWorld
April 3rd, 2016
For a previous production

"The current production of 'The Judas Kiss' is marvelous and must be seen by all…Rupert Everett is giving the performance of a lifetime as Wilde…The entire cast is delightful but the show belongs to Everett. The production is brilliantly directed by Neil Armfield and exquisitely designed by Dale Ferguson. The text itself is remarkable. Written by David Hare - the play is perfectly paced, highly engaging, and never drags. If you love theatre, this is a play you mustn't miss."
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S
March 31st, 2016
For a previous production

"An intelligent, beautifully written play…Witty as one might expect, the play is also as gripping as a thriller as we watch a great man see his life head unswervingly toward disaster…Director Neil Armfield has chosen an ideal cast for the production. Rupert Everett plays Wilde as if the role had been written for him. Everett’s slightest gesture, pause or change of intonation is laden with meaning…For any lover of the theatre and superlative acting, 'The Judas Kiss' is a must-see."
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The Toronto Star
March 31st, 2016
For a previous production

"In a lesser production it could easily become draggy. But Armfield directs with a keen attention to pace and tension...What most distinguishes this production is Everett’s total emotional and intellectual presence…Everett’s performance embodies the paradox that comes from viewing great tragedy: as your heart breaks for his character you cannot but be inspired by the talent it takes to bring this feat of emotional complexity to life. This one’s not to be missed."
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The Globe and Mail
March 31st, 2016
For a previous production

"Everett is a wondrous sight to behold as Oscar Wilde…Everett has been the force behind this revival and in the process he’s revealed it to be an emotionally rich drama illuminated by Hare’s customary insight and humanity. It’s also beautifully written…It’s near-impossible to separate Wilde’s real words from those Hare puts in his mouth. Neil Armfield has crafted an elegant production…This is a rich and revealing performance."
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Toronto Sun
March 31st, 2016
For a previous production

"It’s an ideal match of talents…The play is often laugh-out-loud funny. It is also surprisingly affecting. Everett brings Wilde to life as an endearing and unusually kind character, rapier wit notwithstanding; still, he seems quietly resigned to his fate at all times...Everett is wigged and padded to look uncannily like Wilde. His performance is astonishing, and fans of Oscar Wilde’s work (or of Everett) won’t want to miss the actor in this role."
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N
April 1st, 2016
For a previous production

"Long, ponderous and uneventful…There are wonderful moments in the production…But by failing to understand Wilde’s relationship with Bosie, who throughout seems shrill and petulant, the script disappoints. And despite the ­occasional flash of nudity, particularly in the second act, there’s not much to look at on Dale Ferguson’s spare set. But Everett’s layered and deeply felt performance almost makes you forget all that."
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Mooney On Theatre
March 31st, 2016
For a previous production

"Everett really found a lot of emotional range for the role, and we absolutely believe in him as he makes terrible decisions for the loveliest reasons. It’s a fantastic performance, full of vigor…'The Judas Kiss' is a profoundly universal play about love and power. It touches on all the ways love makes us act, from nobly steadfast to craven...If that’s a journey you’ve ever taken without holding anything in reserve, you’ll adore this."
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Ontario Arts Review
April 1st, 2016
For a previous production

"David Hare is the finest British living playwright. And his play, 'The Judas Kiss' is perhaps his best…Hare succeeds, not only in skillfully telling a true tale of passionate intrigue, but in touching the soul of what it means to love…Everett heightens Wilde’s vulnerability, his humanity, his humour, his ability to observe, and wisely forgive…Director Neil Armfield, does a fine job of pulling all the pieces together...The script is honoured…Hare has written a masterpiece."
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The Charming Modernist
April 7th, 2016
For a previous production

"From the first provocative scene to the final, heartbreaking act, 'The Judas Kiss' will have you glued to your seat and riveted by the action unfolding before you…Rupert Everett plays Oscar Wilde with gusto...Under Neil Armfield’s skilled direction, each actor shines, adeptly showing how their characters impacted Wilde…See 'The Judas Kiss' for its superb acting, engaging dialogue and entrancing action."
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Theatromania
April 5th, 2016
For a previous production

"Emotionally stirring and witty…'The Judas Kiss' is a poignant story of love and betrayal, but most importantly it's a tribute to a brilliant artist, whose wit and intellect never dim, even in times of tragedy. Everett's portrayal of Wilde is absolutely masterful. The man is barely recognizable he is so wholly consumed by his character. Neil Armfield's production is skillfully staged...You don't want to miss this beautiful piece."
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