The Portal

The Portal NYC Reviews and Tickets

(89 Reviews)
Members say
Confusing, Disappointing, Slow, Ambitious, Excruciating

About the Show

Equal parts rock concert, movie, and theatrical performance, this immersive spectacle chronicles one man's epic journey in pursuit of a woman.

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Member Reviews (89)

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Quirky, Slow, Indulgent, Ambitious, Disappointing

See it if you miss the Fillmore East, bubble fractals, incomprehensible singing with mystic overtones. There are also beautiful projections of scenery

Don't see it if you are expecting a play let alone an interactive experience instead of a music and dance performance. There is a weak suggestion of a plot

60's acid trip, Bath of images & sound, Picks up where trip of love leaves off, Incoherant, Pretty powerpoint presentation with live action & music

See it if new age sensibilities are your thing, want something 2 match tripping experiences, you need 2 arrive high on life or some other substance

Don't see it if you have no toleration for the new agey, need story markers to help you along

Critic Reviews (12)

December 3rd, 2016

"Not only is its mystical wisdom a generic mashup of Campbell and Jung, but its theatrical staging is mushy and lethargic…A serious sound-balance issue renders most of the lyrics incomprehensible. When a line or two does sneak through, one begins to understand that the overpowering music might be intentional…Billy Lewis Jr. has genuine rock pipes and a gorgeously pure falsetto. Sadly, his talents are misused in this ill-gotten project."
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December 10th, 2016

"The overactive echoing and distortion that seems intent on making the lyrics indecipherable may be an artistic choice...The live performers certainly give game efforts, but Comer's direction does little more than designate entrances and exits...The Portal' doesn't seem intended for a theatre crowd. But if you're in the mood to just veg out and cleanse your brain by taking in a light bombardment of sounds and images for an hour and a half, it may provide a pleasing escape."
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Lighting & Sound America
December 5th, 2016

"The only reason 'The Portal' is worth discussing at all is that it unwittingly functions as a kind of warning about where stage design may be headed...So solemn in manner and so vague in its intentions that at times it's hard to believe the whole thing isn't a joke...Really a film with live music, singing, and dance accompaniment, all of which are deployed to little effect...I certainly had plenty of questions, but will confine myself to only one: Why does this production exist?"
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December 12th, 2016

“Self-discovery is an oft-explored theme in the world of the theater, but Luke Comer has attempted to change the mold by packing his spiritual tale into a contemporary rock odyssey. Though there are certainly thoughtful questions that arise from spending an evening at ‘The Portal’, this theatrical journey that promises enlightenment and self-discovery never quite lands the intellectual punch it intends to deliver.”
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Theatre is Easy
December 5th, 2016

"'The Portal' is a cheesy experiment of culturally appropriated mysticism, but its production values are remarkable…'The Portal' has its advantages as a piece of digital film-based performance, but it lost me at its content—a cheesy and repetitive dreamscape without an endgame…’The Portal’ is probably better suited to an arena or an outdoor concert venue than an off-Broadway theatre. Its purpose is more experiential than narrative, and therefore should be treated as a concert first."
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Theater Pizzazz
December 5th, 2016

"We find unmistakable shamanistic glory in 'The Portal'...Billy Lewis, Jr. delivers a scaled back performance, recalling all of the fervor of Hedwig. The loud music is felt through his entire body...With every sense of guidance and no sense of gravity, 'The Portal' stops just short of full-scale success. What is missing in Luke Comer’s spectacle is the weight."
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Stage Buddy
December 5th, 2016

"Kind of like being on someone else’s acid trip, but you wish you were also on drugs...Lewis Jr.’s powerful voice is obscured by the echoey quality of the microphone, making the lyrics barely discernible. There are apparently 16 musical numbers but they all sort of blend into each other. There is some poetry spoken at different points but don’t expect it to make a whole lot of sense...While the odyssey’s narrative is esoteric, the cinematography is commendable."
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Broadway Blog
December 5th, 2016

"Completely unbearable...The lyrics are barely intelligible and glancing at the musical numbers in the program doesn’t clarify anything...The music offers no variety or clarity into what this any of this is all about...Jessica Chen’s choreography offers very little for the imagination but I can’t blame her. She doesn’t have much inspiration. Nor can I address Luke Comer and Paul Stancato’s direction because the word doesn’t suit the outcome."
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Theatre's Leiter Side
December 4th, 2016

“'The Portal' is what one might have expected to encounter on the West Coast during the height of the post-hippie/New Age movement of the late '60s/early '70s. It's burdened...with a drearily portentous, allegoric narrative presented via a silent film that makes sense only if you've read (and remembered) its plot outline...'The Portal's' message is all well and good,...but the show's buried in such a mountain of self-conscious pretension that it may exceed a NY audience's climbing skills.”
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On Stage Blog
December 8th, 2016

"'Portal' shambles on slowly, like the awkward hybrid of Pink Floyd concert, modern dance workshop, student film, VFX mix tape, and self-help book that it is, eventually reaching a bewildering non-conclusion...There is nothing to this show. Nothing at all. For all its pretensions at a deeper understanding of the universe, and a subversion of the musical theatre genre, it is one of the shallowest, least insightful shows playing in New York right now."
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December 6th, 2016

"The trippiness of this unstructured approach will surely appeal to the Burning Man crowd, but those expecting a more traditional narrative may find themselves at a loss…It is still possible to have a perfectly wonderful time at ‘The Portal.’…Jessica Chen’s magnificent choreography is consistently theatrical, and highly enjoyable…The entire cast is fully committed, and very capable, keeping most audience members engaged regardless of the production’s shortcomings."
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Washington Square News
December 4th, 2016

"Live theater is a jewel that obtains its rawness only when the audience can witness the story unfolding by the work of the performers. With its heavy use of video, ‘The Portal’ lacked this thrilling component…The show’s excessive amount of spinning images, bright lights, monotone songs and apocalyptic costumes became overwhelming and distracting…Audience members likely left the theater with more of a migraine than a deeper artistic awareness."
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