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Cry Havoc!

From 11 critic and 86 member reviews
Members say: Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Relevant, Intense

About the show

Bedlam presents Stephan Wolfert's solo show in which he weaves personal stories of his military service with some of Shakespeare’s most famous speeches. More…

After six years in the Army, Stephan Wolfert hopped off a train deep in the mountains of Montana and found himself at a performance of 'Richard III' that changed his life forever. In this two-act, one-man show, Wolfert examines his own experience pre- and post-service. The military recruits citizens and trains them to kill, but what does the "de-cruit" process look like? How do we re-learn to live together?

Theater Pizzazz

“'Cry Havoc!' cries out to be seen because of the wrenching immediacy brought to its issues via the remarkable performance of Wolfert, a 50-year-old Iraq combat vet...Standing in a totally unadorned black space,...his sleek, dancer's body dressed only in a black T-shirt and dark gray slacks, Wolfert...is the embodiment of ‘the complete actor’...After you leave 'Cry Havoc!,' you'll never look at a homeless man with an ‘I'm a vet. Please help’ sign the same way again.” Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

“It begins with the actor Stephan Wolfert presenting his improbable and thoroughly gripping life story…But in the switchover between acts, he surrenders the power of his narrative to create a kind of ad hoc group therapy session, which undercuts the power of his own best work…Anyway, the first act, under Tucker's direction, is consistently gripping, although there are a few passages in which Wolfert could dial down the energy level; at times his intensity threatens to become exhausting.” Full Review

The New York Times

"A full-bore autobiographical solo with a meddling co-writer named Shakespeare...Wolfert is a puckish performer with a lithe build...Throughout, he peppers this material with lines from Shakespeare, a lot of them. And that’s a problem...Mostly the iambs gum up his own story...After Wolfert concludes his monologue...stagehands create a ring of chairs and the audience circles up for a combination of talk-back and group therapy...This coda is affecting, also protracted and self-congratulatory." Full Review


"'Cry Havoc!' is a piece with theatrical roots, and Shakespeare aficionados will certainly appreciate the angle of interpretation that Wolfert presents. But he and his director, Eric Tucker, have created a play whose purpose distinctly veers from the artistic and toward the edifying...While this is a valid use of theater, patrons should know going in that they're more likely to receive a masterful TED Talk about the psychological ramifications of war than a crafted work of art." Full Review

On Stage Blog

for a previous production "A captivating and powerful one-man show...While much of this play is heavy with turmoil, Wolfert does add humor to break up the emotional roller coaster he is taking the audience on. These real-life stories of war and its aftereffects are vividly told, and with seemingly boundless energy, physically acted out by Wolfert in a way that no other actor could do with the same authenticity and passion. This play is unique, honest, compelling and poignantly relevant to today’s world...A must see!" Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

for a previous production "One of the most compelling one-man shows you’ll see in quite some time...Peppering his story with beautifully performed soliloquies and speeches from Shakespeare’s most powerful plays, Wolfert recounts his discovery of the power of the Bard...It’s also his tremendous command and love of Shakespeare that most certainly furthers his program. One cannot help but be brought in by his infectious passion for the work.." Full Review

Boston Globe

for a previous production "Powerful theater can ensue when an artist simply, or not so simply, decides to bear witness...Stephan Wolfert commits himself body and soul to that mission in 'Cry Havoc!’, and the result is riveting...Wolfert delivers a dynamic and physically expressive performance...He emphasizes the timeless universality of the soldier’s experience...Wolfert also makes demands on the audience. In particular, he forces us to think about our responsibility to and for the vets." Full Review

Berkshire Edge

for a previous production "In the play, Wolfert often calls on the words of Shakespeare to present the next phase of his story, or to express in glorious tones the inglorious world he has occupied. He moves freely and conveniently between these two worlds...Wolfert is a dynamic performer, a compelling storyteller, and a consummate actor and mime...The play moves swiftly and even the hardest narrative is treated with patience...There is such a directness in all this that it is a marvel." Full Review

Berkshire On Stage

for a previous production "It is harrowing, hilarious and uplifting. On a bare stage, different worlds come alive by Wolfert’s storytelling and sound effects that he orally mimics...Wolfert’s performance is a high-powered and tender portrayal of a man who has escaped from a dysfunctional, alcoholic family that tried to stifle his creative fires. As his story unfolds he grabs our emotions and challenges our intellect. It is a performance not to be missed." Full Review

Berkshire Eagle

for a previous production "At once intensely personal while, at the same time, it reaches out not only to veterans in need but to a broader community that, Wolfert insists, needs to understand the plight of veterans and come to their aid...Wolfert meaningfully and seamlessly weaves various soliloquies from Shakespeare into his narrative, a technique that, in less skillful hands, would be little more than pretentious gimmickry. Wolfert is a galvanic, at times frenzied, performer with a captivating personality." Full Review

The Arts Fuse

for a previous production "Wolfert interweaves excerpts from Shakespeare’s plays ripped from their context more or less appropriately, yet always making a powerful point. His point is war, war and the pity of war. War and what it does to its warriors...Wolfert’s 'Cry Havoc' does seem to call on us to do something, to act, to walk out of the theater with more than an empathetic catharsis under our belt...Both his message and his performance are more than worth the attention he commands." Full Review

Absorbing, Ambitious, Profound, Riveting, Great writing

See it if You want to be moves and challenged. Th play was an amazing combination of the surhors life experiences and speeches from Shakespeare plays

Don't see it if You prefer lighthearted fare.

Visceral, pertinent to the crisis in returning veterans, thrillingly acted

See it if You like heartfelt storytelling, vital acting, and care about mental health, veterans, and heroism.

Don't see it if Just see it.

Absorbing, Intense, Thought-provoking, Profound, Riveting

See it if You appreciate a superb solo performance; riveting insights on Shakespeare; and gaining understanding of Military service. Very moving.

Don't see it if Trigger warning: veterans who have experienced events that give rise to PTS may find the first part of this performance challenging.

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Riveting

See it if you think you won't like a solo play about a veteran dealing with his experience and are just the smallest bit open-because you will love it

Don't see it if you can't be even the "smallest bit open"

Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Must see, Profound, Riveting

See it if you want to see the best thing currently off Broadway... if you know that there is no need for fancy set or costumes when talent abounds.

Don't see it if you're stuffy or just want song and dance from your theater. You won't leave with overwhelming joy, just incredibly moved.

Also So far, this is the highest score I've given a show on show-score... a... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Enchanting, Exquisite, Relevant, Resonant

See it if You're looking to better understand the plight of veterans and aid in the healing process.

Don't see it if You're a pretentious New York Times reviewer obsessed with your narrow definition of "aesthetics" and "narrative."

Also I find it really gross some of the critical reception of the piece - b... Read more Read less

Funny, Absorbing, Clever, Exquisite, Entertaining

See it if Fantastic acting, well directed, leaves you thinking

Don't see it if You want something easygoing and uneventful

Absorbing, Ambitious, Intelligent, Relevant, Perhaps the best one-man show of the season

See it if you want to see one of the best one-man shows of the season. Wolfert takes us on a captivating journey based on his own experience.

Don't see it if you do not like one-man plays.

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Masterful, Must see

See it if You want a powerful one-man act about a Veteran's view on re-entry into society, and the crucial need to un-wire back into society.

Don't see it if You don't like one man acts/Shakespeare or war stories-- but I think you should see it anyway. :) Stephen was nothing short of brilliant.

Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if You like one person shows with bare bones production values with the focus on the words, story and theme.

Don't see it if The above.

Also Go on a narrative personal journey seamlessly interwoven with history ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Masterful, Riveting

See it if You enjoy a timely, compelling, well drawn, important, solo performance that reels you in mind, body, spirit, and makes you feel.

Don't see it if I can't think of a reason not to see it.

Also Stephan Wolfort is a finely tuned orchestra generously, masterfully, w... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Ambitious, Dizzying, Edgy, Thought-provoking

See it if A must see for a veteran and anyone else to learn the hell returning from combat wreaks on returning vets and how little society cares

Don't see it if If Stream of Consciousness is not your style is the best comparison i can make to style, like a story with no punctuation or capital letters

Absorbing, Intense, Riveting

See it if You want to see a deeply personal story of the redemptive power of theatre.

Don't see it if You cannot tolerate one person shows.

Absorbing, Great acting

See it if Thought provoking and well done!

Don't see it if you are looking for a musical!

Caveat: i had to leave before the talk back, pt to er.

See it if you want to see a seamless interweaving of perfectly rhythmic Shakespeare with intensely personal and controversial material on War and PTSD

Don't see it if you dont like personal stories, dont like emotional performances including tears, you prefer not to hear the reality of the cost of war.

Also Kline in Hamlet? yup, as Henry V? best ever. Branagh MacBeth? yup,... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Intense, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Resonant

See it if you are interested in a gripping, insightful look into the the effects of war on the mind of a veteran, who happens to be a great performer.

Don't see it if (I think everyone ought to see this.)

Clever, Epic, Great acting, Intense, Profound

See it if if you are a veteran. Also see it if you want to better understand military service and the impact on the human condition.

Don't see it if if any of the trigger warnings concern you.

Absorbing, Great acting, Must see, Profound, Great writing

See it if You enjoy dialogue-provoking art, masterful physical acting, and engaging storytelling.

Don't see it if You can't stand one person shows.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if An impactful one man show on his military experience, PTSD, and healing process thanks to theater and acting and Shakespeare intrigues you.

Don't see it if Hearing about war and PTSD isn't your thing. You're looking for something light and fluffy with big sets and production numbers.

Also Confrontational, exhilarating, this make-you-laugh, make-you-cry monol... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Edgy, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Masterful

See it if you want a theater experience that does more than entertain. This one will move you and make you think.

Don't see it if You are looking for a lighthearted, comedic romp.

Also Stephan's story, interwoven with history and Shakespeare was intensely... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Masterful, Must see

See it if You're interested in the emotional and mental toll from military service. You enjoy strong, well-curated one man shows.

Don't see it if You dislike autobiography mixed with "lecture." You want a set rather than location defined by sound and gesture

Absorbing, Ambitious, Masterful, Resonant, Riveting

See it if You love and believe in Shakespeare, you can have an open mind about solo shows, you want to be impressed by someone's physical fitness.

Don't see it if The decompression circle/talkback at the end would make you super uncomfortable, you can't deal with frank discussions of violence.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Intense, Thought-provoking, Riveting

See it if Superb personal presentation by vet about how difficult it is for vets to return to civilian life, but how Shakespeare can help. Passionate.

Don't see it if You have a visceral objection to hearing about the impact that serving in the military has on those who serve multiple tours of duty.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if You want to see a fantastic performance about an important topic.

Don't see it if If you don't want to think. It is a serious play about combat veterans and their outlook and problems.

Also After the intermission there is a chat with the audience and the perfo... Read more Read less

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Resonant, Riveting

See it if You are open to something that's painful and brilliant, that combines Shakespeare with intimate and horrendous exposes of warfare.

Don't see it if You want to be merely entertained.

Cast & Creatives (5)