Animal Wisdom
90

Animal Wisdom NYC Reviews and Tickets

90%
(10 Reviews)
Positive
100%
Mixed
0%
Negative
0%
Members say
Great singing, Spiritual, Must see, Masterful, Enchanting

About the Show

The Bushwick Starr and West Yorkshire Playhouse present the world premiere of this music-theater piece: a lo-fi, idiosyncratic, folk-blues requiem written from theoretical or actual (you decide) conversations with the dead.

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Member Reviews (10)

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97
Great singing, Spiritual, Enchanting, Delightful, Must see

See it if you love beautiful voices, intimate settings, personal stories, spirituality, blues; show is a big, beautiful gift to the ear and the heart

Don't see it if you disdain spirituality, can't sit in darkness for 20 min (listening to soaring voices) - although phone lights allowed; otherwise, go! Read more

99
Beautiful music, Beautiful lighting, Moving, Almost-concert, Must see

See it if you love southern folk and rock, characterizations, raw personal storytelling, unique theater.

Don't see it if bothered by part new-age part Christian spiritual talking to ghosts. The experience still works if you don't "buy" her metaphor however.

75
Clever, Great singing, Epic, Intense

See it if you want to see great story-telling, avant-garde theatre that isn't theatre but is also theatre, great musicians, and want a unique evening

Don't see it if you are claustrophobic and hate complete darkness (15 min in the pitch black - you are warned several times), want a traditional evening out Read more

85
Great singing, Masterful, Edgy

See it if you are willing to go along with this extraordinarily talented women's trek which includes wonderful music and lighting and a big character

Don't see it if you want a linear story line because there ain't none

87
Indulgent, Enchanting, Quirky, Great singing, Intimate

See it if you liked Ghost Quartet, Futurity, Hadestown etc; impressive singing; incredible lighting courtesy of brilliant Andrew Schneider

Don't see it if if you need a plot; are annoyed by spirituality and southern gothic whimsy; don't want to sit in the pitch black for a good while Read more

100
Absorbing, Enchanting, Edgy, Masterful, Ambitious

See it if You want a moving communal experience. Music, storytelling, ensemble play.

Don't see it if you like a traditional structure to a play.

94
Intense, Fresh, Spiritual

See it if You like fantastic music and want to experience a fantastix contemporary show about ghosts.

Don't see it if You dislike the dark

81
Clever, Entertaining, Refreshing, Riveting

See it if You are interested in something different, like Southern bluesy-rock mixed with some gospel, a biographical-ish musical.

Don't see it if You don't like extended darkness (15 minutes in complete black), quirky characters, music on the louder-side

Critic Reviews (5)

The New York Times
October 14th, 2017

"Even agnostics may find themselves almost believing in the spirits, holy and otherwise, who possess Heather Christian’s truly one-of-a-kind opus...It is possible to grow impatient as the details of personal folklore accumulate, though some reminiscences have an affecting sting...When she raises her voice in harmony with her fellow performers, she does indeed soar into a realm that seems sufficient unto itself...These aural effects are almost matched by the visuals."
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Time Out New York
October 14th, 2017

"Despite her birdlike fragility, the composer-performer isn’t actually small—not if you factor in the incredible sounds she makes with her voice and the way she hammers music out of a piano...'Animal Wisdom' is a Southern-style avant-cabaret séance...It’s part concert, part painful para-autobiography, and part old-fashioned magic act. This time, however, the woman onstage saws her own damned self in half."
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Theatermania
October 16th, 2017

"Christian's mass mixes precious spiritualist whimsy with gospel-like fervor in ways that feel at best like a genuine communing with the ghosts of the creator's own past, and at worst like an overextended therapy session...'Animal Wisdom' may not necessarily live up to its title in offering an eye-opening perspective on dealing with an awareness of death, but cumulatively, Christian's work accomplishes what all great requiem masses ought to do: It leaves us in a state of hushed reflection."
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Village Voice
October 17th, 2017

“That long, late-breaking episode of darkness is one of the most affecting parts of ‘Animal Wisdom’, a sweet, quirky musical meditation on death...The music is sweet and strong, combining the jangles of folk, blues, and gospel...Though she advertises 'Animal Wisdom' as a requiem-slash-séance, a quest to summon long-lost relations, Christian is just as clearly after buried parts of herself...'Animal Wisdom' occasionally founders on obviousness and ghost-story cliché."
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C
October 17th, 2017

“The show is equal parts concert and séance, and an unforgettable experience...She exists, she conjures, she illuminates through whisper and scream...The ghosts will keep speaking. She will sing whether or not we’re there, because they are there alongside the rest of us, circling the dragon-slayer in the body of a waif, humming with her, communing with her history, her stories, her voice, her electric ability to commune right back at us."
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