White Rabbit Red Rabbit
Closed 1h 15m
White Rabbit Red Rabbit
73

White Rabbit Red Rabbit NYC Reviews and Tickets

73%
(116 Reviews)
Positive
69%
Mixed
26%
Negative
5%
Members say
Thought-provoking, Clever, Original, Ambitious, Entertaining

About the Show

Every show, a new star (including Nathan Lane, Whoopi Goldberg, and others) takes on a unique challenge: the actor is handed a script onstage to perform without the help of a director, rehearsals, or a set.

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Member Reviews (116)

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60
Quirky, Slow, Original, Unfocused, Thought-provoking

See it if you enjoy "theater" with no fourth wall. Lots of audience participation. This self-conscious play has a couple of diffuse messages.

Don't see it if you want full engagement. I was bored by the script's repetitiveness. Whoopi was commanding, but couldn't save the often meh material.

55
Original, Thought-provoking, Disappointing, Meta, Overrated

See it if you want to see a story of oppression written as an unusual allegory; you want to see a particular celebrity in an intimate setting.

Don't see it if you expect anything notably profound; you need a tidy story; you hate audience participation; you roll your eyes at the meta-theatre trope.

80
Thought-provoking, Resonant, Original

See it if you're more interested in compelling ideas than a well-polished show (the performer has never seen the script before stepping on the stage).

Don't see it if you aren't open to a unique, potentially flawed performance.

72
Thought-provoking, Performer dependent, Both better & worse than you think, A lot of audience participation, Meta, very, very meta

See it if You're willing to go on an unknown journey w/the performer & audience. You're curious about the play: if you're reading these reviews-go.

Don't see it if You hate audience participation. You hate meta plays. You want to know the plot before seeing the play. You don't like the scheduled actor.

58
Indulgent, Thought-provoking, Slow, Funny, Relevant

See it if I was disappointed in the show although it was still fun. Mike Birbiglia was very funny and charming.

Don't see it if You are not interested in the actor performing that night. Only a few aspects of the show were interesting.

50
Original

See it if I don't trust this show. The actor is not supposed to have read the script before they perform it. when I saw this in boston I believed

Don't see it if this could be the case but I think the word is out on this.

70
Ambitious, Confusing, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if you like experimental theatre or are a fan of the particular actor. The play is thought-provoking , but also messy and underdeveloped.

Don't see it if you don't like audience participation, don't like watching actors on book, want a straightforward story, are expecting something profound

55
Entertaining, Funny, Disappointing, Indulgent, Overrated

See it if Funny in parts. Could be good with a performer who is good at improv. Unusual. Entertaining. Bobby Cannavale is fun to watch.

Don't see it if But ultimately didn't have much to say. Was kind of a stunt. And Bobby Cannavale stuck mostly to the script, so nothing too exciting.

Critic Reviews (11)

The New York Times
March 9th, 2016

"A playful, enigmatic and haunting solo show...The play is a conversation among playwright, performer and audience, a conversation that, for all its diverting humor, takes on a gravity that prickles your skin...Some other passages slide perilously close to pretentiousness, and much is shrouded in obscurity and frisky quirkiness. But Mr. Soleimanpour’s elliptical play keeps taking odd, unexpected turns that often lead us back to the relief of laughter."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
March 8th, 2016

"That such a work—politically fraught but stylistically passé—has wound up at the Westside Theatre is almost absurd in itself...The play itself is terribly earnest, filled with phrases like 'it tastes of freedom'...But if the dated style and lingo occasionally led Lane to roll his eyes or otherwise undermine the text, he was sometimes pulled up short by its power."
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The Hollywood Reporter
March 15th, 2016

"“It's extremely meta-theatrical, with the playwright often directly addressing the audience through his onstage messenger…Suffused with animal allegories — rabbits are not the only creatures who figure in the scenario — and macabre elements, the piece is ultimately too obscure and diffuse to have the desired impact…Ultimately, the show's main interest will come from the inevitably very different experiences offered by the varied performers."
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Entertainment Weekly
March 9th, 2016

"'White Rabbit Red Rabbit' by Nassim Soleimanpour — a dazzling, transcendent piece of alive-and-kicking avant-garde theater — is performed by a different lead actor or actress every time it’s staged...Without discussing its many dazzling swings in tone, I’ll say that it is steeped in self-referencing and metaphorical tales about animals, and builds to several surprisingly emotional peaks about the shared experience of art."
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Deadline
March 8th, 2016

“The play requires just one actor, who has not seen the script before this performance…[Lane] is a master of the ad lib, and he was in top form, those drawbridge eyebrows and parenthetical smile lines animating his razor-sharp delivery...We are in allegory territory offering equivalent doses of comedy and moral observation…For reasons I can’t go into, the actor is denied that ultimate act of audience participation, a round of applause at the end. Lane deserved one, for sure."
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New York Post
March 15th, 2016

"Nassim Soleimanpour’s text is designed to accommodate any gender, race or age, which is how Nathan Lane could do the inaugural performance last week and I could see Whoopi Goldberg...Soleimanpour is Iranian, and he was in Tehran when he wrote 'White Rabbit Red Rabbit.' The show is clearly influenced by living in an authoritarian regime. It’s playful and often funny, but there’s a serious undertone—the rabbits are part of a lengthy allegory about peer pressure, obedience and repression."
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Lighting & Sound America
April 11th, 2016

"'White Rabbit Red Rabbit' has reportedly been staged all over the world, and yet I suspect its success has more to do with star power than anything in the script. Fans of any of the names mentioned above may be entertained by spending an hour with one of their favorites in a rather novel context. But I fear that the author's intention travels very badly indeed."
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Stage Buddy
April 13th, 2016

"Whether or not you’ll enjoy this play depends largely on your enthusiasm for allowing your mind to take a turn toward paranoia. Soleimanpour’s words lead viewers down some unlit alleys that are probably not particularly dangerous—until you consider that the playwright himself moves through such treacherous passages on a daily basis. It’s possible to laugh the whole thing off, but I found with surprise that my pulse quickened at certain moments."
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The Huffington Post
March 24th, 2016

"As the rabbit tale extended, Soleimanpour turned it into a parable...I should only mention that many audience members seemed to be having a good time right up to the oddball conclusion. I decided that Soleimanpour risks becoming annoyingly specious when he attempts to incriminate us all regarding our lack of concern about oppressed peoples when we’re safe elsewhere. Yes, the producers’ request for review silence prohibits me from substantiating my claim, but there it is, all the same."
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The Guardian (UK)
March 8th, 2016

“The form that 'White Rabbit Red Rabbit' employs, in which the performer encounters a script cold, is not precisely a new technique…But Lane will never perform the show again, by design and perhaps also by choice...He did what was required of him, sometimes enthusiastically, sometimes reluctantly, always with charm. Perhaps a more earnest performer would have wrung more sincerity from the script, which is ultimately not perhaps as experimental or resonant as it wishes to be.”
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Act Three - The Reviews
May 16th, 2016

"My advice to you is to go see someone you like. Someone who is a fairly good story =teller and can handle the spontaneity of interacting with the audience and reading at the same time...The message is confusing, but potent. The story is choppy and a bit messy and unfocused. But if you listen carefully you can really hear a young Iranian playwright vigorously trying to convey an important message through an unrehearsed actor on the stage with a little help from the audience."
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