Brooklyn | 2h 50m | Already closed

The Winter's Tale (TFANA)

From 16 critic and 37 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Disappointing, Entertaining, Great staging, Absorbing

About the show

Theatre for a New Audience presents Arin Arbus's new staging of Shakespeare’s haunting late romance. A parable of jealousy and redemption, that is half-tragedy, half-comedy. More…

A tyrant’s accusations of infidelity, a shattered family and marriage, miraculous rescue of children, a thief so clever we take his side, Time personified, a statue magically sprung to life, and a ferocious bear: all feature in Shakespeare's fantastically eventful drama.

Stage Buddy

"The production stays true to form, preserving almost the entirety of Shakespeare's original text. More importantly, Arbus' direction preserves the spirit of the work: quietly brimming with wonder...The most famous moment in 'The Winter's Tale' is the statue scene; and here, both the dynamic cast and Arbus' inspired direction are at their very best...You're not likely to see a more lovely, more faithful, or more magical production of Shakespeare's great transformation play." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"Arbus embraces everything that, down through the centuries, has been labeled problematic about 'The Winter's Tale'...A connection has been forged between the two halves, something that isn't found in every production of 'The Winter's Tale'...Arbus guides her company with the steadiest of hands...So much does this production exude an air of purpose that when forgiveness arrives in the surprise appearance of a statue that comes to life, it doesn't feel the least bit forced or tacked on." Full Review

The New York Times

"Death is shown to be, like life, a chain...That grief is at the heart of Arbus’s interpretation, and is almost enough to make the disparate pieces of this strange play hang together...Most productions I have seen work too hard to make these elements emulsify. Arbus doesn’t try; rather, she emphasizes the lumps...Mostly Arbus depends on the excellent cast to squeeze the ripe Shakespearean language for all it’s worth...You may never hear a Paulina as fierce as Mahira Kakkar." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"Burton’s Autolycus is a delight, as he breaks the fourth wall and interacts with audience members...The mostly top-notch acting aside, Arbus’s team creative team rounded out a crisp, elegant production...This iteration of 'The Winter’s Tale' is an ideal production for both Shakespeare aficionados seeking a (finally!) complete version of the play, as well as those who want an easy-to-follow version of this sometimes confusing, often illogical, but, of late, much beloved Shakespeare play." Full Review

Off Off Online

"In Arin Arbus’s terrific production, Anatol Yusef is completely convincing, masterly in the language and commanding a range of emotions, including anguish, arrogance, and cruelty...Arbus’s take on the story of cruelty and redemption benefits foremost from crisp, intelligent verse-speaking...The director has modernized bits of the text, cut judiciously, and, most important, paid attention to details." Full Review

Stage Left

"Rather than ignoring or attempting to mitigate the wild tonal and stylistic swings of the play, Ms. Arbus hangs a lantern on them, accentuating shifts in mood, whimsy, and magic with crisp design and a terrific troupe of actors at her disposal...'The Winter’s Tale' remains a strange and inharmonious play, but finds temporal resonance in its fascinating discourse on misogyny and disbelief in fact, and is ultimately about loss and restoration, universal features of the human condition." Full Review

This Week in New York Blog

"Arbus juggles the play's so-called problems deftly, balancing the darkly serious with the lightly comic, moving things relatively briskly on Hernandez's spare but austere, at times almost blindingly white set...Rebholz's contemporary costumes take some getting used to...Much of the cast is allowed a wide berth, especially during the wacky sheep-shearing festival, but Curran, Rogers, and Yusef keep it grounded just enough...Might be a lesser-performed Bard work, but it still has its gems." Full Review

New York Stage Review

"Arin Arbus and Theatre for a New Audience have news for you: 'The Winter’s Tale' is about Paulina. Fearless, truth-telling, proto-feminist Paulina...Aside from the antics of pickpocket/peddler/all-around rogue Autolycus (played by the exceptional Arnie Burton) the pastoral elements of the play grow a bit tiresome...Thankfully, soon enough, you’re jolted back to Sicilia and into the capable hands of Paulina, who’s about to make some magic happen and anthropomorphize a Hermione statue." Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

"A wonderfully rendered production of one of Shakespeare's 'problem plays'...Filled with intense psychological drama...An ending that is surprisingly a happy one...Arbus has decided to utilize the bear as a tell-tale sign...Arbus' point is solid in the making even as it doesn't fit entirely well with the mood of the first half...Quickly paced, with all of this action flying by at a well orchestrated and confident speed...Redemption and reconciliation are the fundamental key of this play's met... Full Review


"Arbus's production doesn't avoid all of 'Winter's' potential pitfalls, but it does admirably grapple with them head-on...After the tragic half, the play's comedic half achieves much-needed equilibrium. That's not necessarily an indication that the production wasn't on firm footing earlier on. Arbus seems too deliberate in and aware of the tragedy's chaotic tone...Arbus's production starts as impossibly grim, but leaves us grateful for the gift of a hopeful ending." Full Review

Theater Life

"When a Shakespearean tale is produced this intelligently, it is ripe for every season. Though the writing itself is long and frustrating at times, it is made fantastically accessible...While infused with bold notes of humor...It takes a while to get to the funny, and those are the scenes that make this production unique and memorable...A genius telling of a nominal, faltering story...The choices made by Arbus and the marvelous ensemble are stunning in their complexity and splendor." Full Review

Time Out New York

"The tonal dissonance is jarring. Director Arbus attempts to unify 'The Winter’s Tale’s' disparate parts by bookending them with their emotional opposites: The dark half opens on a lighthearted note, with a bear dancing in the snow, and the lighter one concludes with the ghost of a child. In between, the drama is frequently overwrought and the comedy sometimes too broad; but there are magical moments, too." Full Review

Village Voice

"I’ve seen enough versions to come away from this one unsatisfied. Leontes is a tricky role...Alas, Anatol Yusef only goes so far. He’s grim, determined, macho, and cruel, but the performance is all surface and moderately smooth verse-speaking. It’s not only Yusef who comes up short. Arbus gets clear and steady work from an ensemble of seasoned actors but the cumulative effect is dignified but uninspired. The surprising exceptions are the comic roles." Full Review


"'The Winter's Tale,' which has seen a resurgence in popularity recently, is one of Shakespeare's trickier texts, a diptych of tragedy and comedy, of city and pastoral, of youth and old age. Yet with all these pieces, each of which could motivate Ms. Arbus' interest, there is a lack of urgency, really of direction to all of this." Full Review


"It is easy to see why this is not one of the more popular Shakespeare plays. 'The Winter’s Tale' is a bizarre sort of play that seemingly doesn’t know what it wants to be...Any attempt to make the two parts of the play feel unified often fail. So Arbus’ solution was to create two completely distinct worlds...The play often came across as flat and felt as if it was lagging...The play itself is not perfect, but Arbus takes the audience on a ride where anything can happen." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

"It comes nowhere near capturing the play's schizophrenic, tragicomic personality…Malone and Keating's shepherds…are the single most memorable feature of this otherwise ordinary revival…just the right touch of Shakespearean drollery. None of the serious acting is notably distinctive. Too much of the dialogue…either strives for conversational naturalness or…delivers un-nuanced emotional rhetoric. The actors speak passionately but too often it comes from the head and not the heart." Full Review

Absorbing, Delightful, Great acting, Great staging, Masterful

See it if You want to see the best Winter's Tale you've ever seen. It's hard to make this play work, and TFANA did just that. Wonderful!

Don't see it if Can't think of a single reason not to see it. If you love Shakespeare, go!

Magical, Exquisite, Underrated, Beautiful, Intelligent

See it if you have the patience to sit & attend closely to many difficult events & wait for the wonder to happen.

Don't see it if you don't believe miracles are possible.

Also “The Winter's Tale” is a famously strange play. But when a production ... Read more Read less

Enchanting, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing

See it if If you like one of shakespeares later fantastical romances, simply staged, great parts for women-actress playing paulina quite a force!

Don't see it if If you dont like shakespeare, and dont like the fantastical.

Absorbing, Delightful, Funny, Epic, Ambitious

See it if One of Shakespeare's most delightful late romances - performed here in a crisp, clear production. Hits the humor throughout.

Don't see it if Perhaps stronger on the humor/rustics side than the pathos of the court, where some resonant moments were undercooked.

Also Well worth seeing if you're into Shakespeare.

All encompassing, Alive, Intelligent, Resonant, Absorbing

See it if Catch AWT done right-large & encompassing. Not a bad seat; you feel right up there w/them. Dialogue spoken & acted (mostly) really well.

Don't see it if I had prob w/some of the casting-I want my Leontes passionate & large (was short too!) & Hermione charming (need to care what happens 2 her)

Also Best Paulina I have EVER seen-takes it to a new level of importance.

Enchanting, Funny, Ambitious, Great staging, Refreshing

See it if You like your Shakespeare magnificently performed, especially a difficult play like THE WINTER’S TALE.

Don't see it if You don’t like a mixture of comedy and tragedy in one play.

Refreshing, Entertaining, Great acting, Great staging

See it if you want to see a fresh and energized take on Shakespeare, while staying true to the text. This production is funny and well-staged.

Don't see it if you want very traditional Shakespeare.

Absorbing, Great writing, Refreshing

See it if you're interested in Shakespeare's less-common plays

Don't see it if you don't want to keep up with a complex plot

Frivolous, Fun, Dizzying, Delightful

See it if An absurd play well acted and fancifully produced. Silly and serious simultaneously. Worth going to see.

Don't see it if you don't like oddball interpretations of Shakespeare, although I found this just delightful and a lot of fun.

Clever, Great acting, Relevant, Uneven

See it if you value Shakespeare in modern dress but true to story

Don't see it if you're an Elizabethan purist, but you'll be missing some very good performances

Entertaining, Intelligent, Quirky, Long

See it if Shakespeare's romances with comedy, tragedy but with happy ending; a very funny Arnie Burton who interacts with audience; some great acting

Don't see it if you would find some over-the-top comedic acting annoying, want to understand each Shakespearean line or cannot handle almost 3 hours

Also Uneven acting but the actress that played Paulina (Mahira Kakkar) was ... Read more Read less

Delightful, Enchanting, Disappointing, Hilarious

See it if You enjoy a good clown, it's your favorite shakespeare (like me), A+ DESIGN, you appreciate skillfully pulled off bold choices

Don't see it if you're a hater who's too cynical to get down with the story

Also I've never seen a production of this play where the Bohemia part was m... Read more Read less

Simple staging, well-acted, a pagan setting in non-pagan dress

See it if you want to see one of Shakespeare’s strangest yet transcendent plays.

Don't see it if you’re a purist about the staging and casting of Shakespeare or are frustrated about not getting all the language when spoken rapidly.

Also Be aware that the actor playing the rogueish character Autolycus inter... Read more Read less

Refreshing, Ambitious, Clever, Quirky, Epic

See it if tfana via arin arbus is perfect for taking on the winter's tale. i esp loved the beautiful all-white set and kelley curran as hermione.

Don't see it if i wish the bohemia parts were as strong as the sicilia parts. i did not care for the actors playing perdita and florizel.

Fun, Great set design, Great acting, Good directing, Overrated

See it if you want to see a pretty good interpretation of Winter's Tale.

Don't see it if you have expectations for what it should be.

Also Winter's Tale is one of my favorite Shakespearean plays, so I was plea... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Great acting, Slow, Entertaining

See it if you like shakespeare. The women in the cast are particularly strong.

Don't see it if you can't pay attention to a long shakespeare play. Comedic bits are milked rather than cut.

Great set design, Slow, Funny, Thought-provoking, Shakespeare!

See it if You enjoy Shakespeare, you're interested in seeing one of Shakespeare's lesser-known plays instead of the famous, overdone ones.

Don't see it if You're not a Shakespeare fan, you're expecting a purely happy ending, you want to see a famous Shakespearean play.

Also It's difficult to find the theatre; I went as part of a group from my ... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Indulgent, Over the top

See it if you are curious about how to stage a tragicomedy today and forget the tragic bits. With the exception of King Leontes, the acting is good

Don't see it if you get annoyed by excessive attempts at extracting a laugh when the play would be funny by itself. The bear is over the top.

Also The actor playing Leontes should consider changing career. Not believa... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Insipid, Slow, Unmagical

See it if you support TFANA, see all Shakespeare and don't expect to be riveted and moved by the production.

Don't see it if expect to see a strong cast create the experience of beauty and magic overcoming the tragic elements. Want to be moved by the statue scene's

Also staging and poetry.

Funny, Slow, Hilarious, Great staging, Great acting

See it if This is Shakespeare’s problem play for a reason. While it is a bit disjointed the second act, staging, & comedy bits make it a enjoyable.

Don't see it if You hate the storyline & don’t want to see it in its original form or don’t like seeing actors interact with the audience.

Miscast, Disappointing, Great writing, Uneven

See it if you enjoy even sub-par performances of Shakespeare, with occasional bright spots, just to compare different acting and directorial ideas

Don't see it if you find it painful to hear great passages of Shakespeare wasted or mishandled and with key roles miscast.


See it if Autolycus, Hermione, Paulina - pretty much everyone besides the dude who plays Leontes does amazing work.

Don't see it if Leontes is up there acting alone with an easy to spot cadence, as if narrating his inner turmoil. V bad.

Disappointing, Entertaining, Slow, Insipid, Confusing

See it if you are willing to sit through banal "drama" just to experience great comic acting. The Bohemia frolic is quite wonderful. Nothing else is

Don't see it if you love Shakespeare and his language. There is no elocution or dramatic intensity. No passion no sense of relationship. Miscast misdirected

Disappointing, Poor writing, Poor direction

See it if You are a completist and have a grave illness. You can nod off through the first act till the marginably better second.

Don't see it if You think all Shakespeare is gold, and don't want to be disabused of that curious idea. Likewise re: Arbus direction.

Funny, Delightful, Entertaining, Great acting, Enchanting

See it if you enjoy seeing one of Shakespeare's more challenging plays well directed and beautifully acted.

Don't see it if Shakespeare done well is not your thing.

Cast & Creatives (26)