"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"“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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"'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." Full Review
“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.” Full Review
"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." Full Review
“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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"'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." Full Review
See it if If you like experimental theatre where the actor/reader has not seen the script. Some audience participation. Fun time. Saw it last year
Don't see it if You want a polished performance and a directed piece. The actor only had stage directions to rely on.
See it if you are a fan of the featured actor. I saw Mike Birbiglia, whose comedic and improvisational skills were crucial to my enjoyment of the show
Don't see it if you're put off by audience participation and the playwright's preachy tone.
See it if you are a fan of the actor performing, but there are more reasons to see this unique, thought-provoking piece. Expect the unexpected!
Don't see it if you are not looking for something to make you think or if you are looking for a more traditional theatrical experience
See it if You're looking for something different, like things that don't end wrapped in a pretty bow, and like the actor in the role.
Don't see it if You're looking for a straightforward, linear show. Don't go if you don't want to think. It's funny, but thought-provoking. I've seen it 2x.
See it if you like thought-provoking, political theater, experimental theater and a bit of improv.
Don't see it if you dislike the possibility of audience participation, prefer well-rehearsed pieces or being challenged.
See it if you like monologues, thought experiments, and/or have an interest in Iran. Or if you really like the actor performing.
Don't see it if you want a narrative or a play with characters; if you sighed throughout the entirety of your college metaphysics class.
See it if You like creative theater-writing, improvisational-type surprises, and thought-provoking themes amidst humor.
Don't see it if You want linear story-telling or character development. This is almost like scripted stand-up work - albeit with some twists.
See it if you love to see great actors forced to work outside of their comfort zones. If you are interested in unique off-Broadway works.
Don't see it if you want to know exactly what you're going to see. If you want something with singular tone--this will toss you back and forth.
See it if You like unconventional theater and don't mind a little experimental staging or audience participation.
Don't see it if You want a more structured, traditional narrative; you don't want to possibly be pulled on stage.
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
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.
See it if You're a huge fan of the actor performing, you enjoy audience participation
Don't see it if You're expecting something profound, you get really cranky when disappointed by not seeing something profound
See it if you are curious about a play given to a performer who has never seen it before and wonder what will happen, or love the actor participating.
Don't see it if you are looking for a cohesive story or meaning, hate audience participation.
See it if experimental, improv, audience involved theatre excites you! This is a very unique experience. Part existential part stand up.
Don't see it if you don't like free wheeling, seat of your pants evening leave you cold. The performer you see makes ALL the difference in the experience
See it if You want an intimate show in a play that the actor has never seen until he/she gets on stage. It leaves you thinking and grateful.
Don't see it if You're not willing to participate in the show or not up on the current political climate.
See it if you're a fan of the actor reading the script that evening and are looking to see them candid and uncensored.
Don't see it if you're expecting a great play. The evening doesn't really rise above "clever" and "interesting". The script could have gone much deeper.
See it if You are a fan of the actor who is performing. That is a big piece of what will make this fun. I saw Kathy Najimy who was wonderful.
Don't see it if You can't roll with spontaneity.
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