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Cymbeline

Members say: Great acting, Entertaining, Clever, Delightful, Funny
82
Critics
79
23 reviews
Members
83
30 reviews
 

Part of The Public Theater's free Shakespeare in the Park, this Shakespearean fairy tale stars Lily Rabe and Hamish Linklater.

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Princess Imogen’s fidelity is put to the royal test when her disapproving father banishes her soul mate. Cross-dressing girls and cross-dressing boys, poisons and swordfights and dastardly villains all take the stage in this enchanting romp about the conquering power of love.

 

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Reviews (53)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
79
Avg Score

60
The New York Times

"Daniel Sullivan, the reliably fine director whose Shakespeare productions here usually have avoided self-conscious concepts, has almost made a U-turn with this disappointing staging...Here, the emphasis is somewhat deflatingly on the artifice in 'Cymbeline.' We are encouraged to recognize that we are watching a troupe of actors in performance, presenting a fictional tale...The trouble is, when the play’s strange marvels are presented inside a heavy theatrical frame, they lose some of their w... Full Review

90
Theatermania

"Their sleazy and foolish characters aside, this is one of the most richly voiced casts in recent memory. One could listen to them read aloud from the phone book and never grow bored, so hearing them recite Shakespeare is an unparalleled treat...You can't help but laugh at the absurdly long resolution scene, in which the playwright ties up no fewer than 27 loose plot points. A rollicking jig follows, leading the whole theater to clap along. This kind of irreverent fun is what Shakespeare in t... Full Review

75
BroadwayWorld

"'Cymbeline' shows signs of the playwright losing steam, with numerous instances of repeating memorable moments from his previous works. If director Dan Sullivan's lively production doesn't exactly reveal any hidden genius, it certainly offers enough madcap fun for a summer night." Full Review

60
Variety

"The problem with director Daniel Sullivan’s fresh take on the play is that it’s neither here nor there — not outrageous enough to be funny, but not sober enough to be taken seriously...At the end of the show, the company comes together for a wonderfully witty court dance. Everyone seems to be cavorting in his or her own fashion, but their individually distinct movements are all carefully composed into a harmonious whole. At last, we see what the director wanted us to see all along in his sho... Full Review

45
The Hollywood Reporter

"Although entertaining in spots, this stylistically all-over-the-map rendition is more wearisome than enlightening...This late romance is one of the Bard's most problematic works and most difficult to successfully stage. Featuring allusions to characters and situations from many of his previous plays, it's as if he was raiding his attic in search of inspiration...By the time the lengthy evening concludes, you're likely to feel thoroughly exhausted. The play's happy ending has never felt so ha... Full Review

85
New York Magazine / Vulture

"Daniel Sullivan’s production provides not only a delightful evening in Central Park but also a successful argument for the play. He settles at once on a tone that can support the narrative’s oddball excursions...Sullivan has to play the final scene, with its hailstorm of absurd revelations, entirely for laughs in order to make sense of it here. In the process, it loses some of its potential emotional power. But everywhere else, that power is only heightened by an immediately identifiable gen... Full Review

80
Theatre's Leiter Side

"'Cymbeline' may not be a great play, but there are fragments of greatness in it. Daniel Sullivan and his wonderful cast have done everything they can to make it work, and, even if they don’t always succeed, I can’t think of many other things I’d rather have been doing on a beautiful summer night than seeing it come to life in Central Park." Full Review

90
The Wall Street Journal

"'Cymbeline' makes joyous sense out of a play that even the most devoted of Shakespeareans have oft looked at askance. What makes it a 'problem' play is that the complex plot is stuffed with implausibilities that can obscure the themes of jealousy, forgiveness and reconciliation. Daniel Sullivan, the director, has gotten around this obstacle by shading his staging in the direction of knockabout farce, but doing so with the lightest and sweetest of touches." Full Review

80
Talkin' Broadway

"Sullican keeps things middle-of-the-road enough that never do you feel you're watching a show about a show. No, the play is always the thing. And though a play this troubled guarantees some iffy results, you get a lot more good than you do bad...Even when the script is a bit wanting, as a production this 'Cymbeline' more than satisfies." Full Review

95
New York Theatre Guide

"Director Daniel Sullivan does a miraculous job of trimming up the traditional five acts to a manageable three hours. He puts two cohorts of the audience on stage and uses them as props and barriers, villains to be called out, foils for the players’ humor; he even gives them a few lines...Sullivan has an arsenal of wonderful diversions to keep us alert to the humor of the piece. There is an early surprise — a time-and musical shape-shifting number that is brilliant!" Full Review

60
New York Daily News

"Shakespeare’s 'Cymbeline' is such a convoluted mashup about love and war and much more that getting it even halfway right is something. The Public Theater’s al fresco take on the late, not-so-great play manages that mean feat by fighting fire with fire: Unruly play? Freewheeling approach...It makes for a breezy 90 minutes. Alas, there’s another hour and a half to go. And the show loses steam in a big way in the second act. Chalk it up to the overwrought play and conceits that wear thin." Full Review

90
Deadline

"One of Shakespeare’s least loved plays, 'Cymbeline' is too convoluted to sort out and too dense to follow; increasingly preposterous as the story unfolds, and yet. A production as wonderful as the one that director Daniel Sullivan has assembled in Central Park challenges us to suspend overthinking and simply to luxuriate in the charms of an off-center romantic comedy whose twin triumphs of love and forgiveness override logic, and to just enjoy the damned picnic...One very fine night in the C... Full Review

90
Newsday

"The Public Theater's modern-dress production, directed with wit and unexpected substance by Daniel Sullivan, has nine terrific actors switching around 24 sober and silly characters. The style has more than a dash of Lewis Carroll and, with actors generally sitting on chairs facing the stage when not performing, there is a let's-pretend attitude that never loses touch with the need to keep emotions real...Enchanting production of Shakespeare's messy tragicomedy." Full Review

85
NorthJersey.com

"While the script and performances are essentially faithful to Shakespeare's work, there are also delicious embellishments, such as Iachino singing a speech a la Sinatra during the Rat-Pack years...The one quibble with the production is that it has no overarching concept. The various comic bits are unrelated, stuck in solely because they're amusing...It's hard to complain too much, though, when a production is as entertaining as this 'Cymbeline.'" Full Review

75
WNBC

"Its complex plot is kept comprehensible thanks to a sure-footed cast...In 'Cymbeline,' Shakespeare dips deep into his bag of tricks. There are poisoned lovers; disguises and mistaken identities; and the weight of parental expectations. It’s all resolved in an intricate final scene, and somehow everyone ends up dancing and relatively content...except, of course, for poor Cloten." Full Review

95
NY1

"There are ways around this challenging play and I take great pleasure in being able to say director Daniel Sullivan and his outstanding company have navigated its pitfalls with delightful finesse...So yes, we are entertained, captivated and moved in an altogether magical night of mayhem in the Park." Full Review

85
Financial Times (UK)

"No Shakespeare in the Park production can trump the sylvan setting around the stage. The medium-green playing area of Daniel Sullivan’s very watchable new imagining of 'Cymbeline' may mimic some of the surrounding trees, but it more often reminds one of a miniature-golf course...Less felicitous are the giant new apartment towers jutting out behind the theatre’s Belvedere Castle backdrop. The magic is marred but not, with this impressive 'Cymbeline,' eclipsed." Full Review

90
CurtainUp

"What fun it is from start to finish for this play that has had/earned a reputation for being not only a bit dopey but a trifle dense to follow. The comedy's convoluted paths and well calculated mis-directions become almost unimportant...One can't be sure whether Sullivan has run wild with this absurd play or he has simply decided to play the wild card to make it just wonderfully absurdist." Full Review

85
USA Today

"Rabe and Linklater, two of the finest stage actors of their generation, return this year in a Shakespeare in the Park production of a less widely familiar and, frankly, consistent work, 'Cymbeline...' The result is a sometimes uneven mix of bawdy humor, brooding melodrama and tender, whimsical romance. The excellent cast ensures that the individual elements are at least played supply...As a showcase for the talents and range of these players, Cymbeline is, even at three hours long, an enjoya... Full Review

85
Edge New York

"This elaborate, overly-complicated play once again brings the real-life couple of Lily Rabe and Hamish Linklater to the stage as star-crossed lovers...Although this play includes the proverbial 'everything but the kitchen sink,' it's still enjoyable to watch. On all counts, 'Cymbeline' is a rousing success -- another in a delicious lineup of summer treats for lucky New Yorkers." Full Review

85
Center on the Aisle

"The Public’s new production of Shakespeare’s 'Cymbeline' must have been conceived with two goals in mind: to ensure the audience can follow the play’s famously convoluted plot, and to make the viewing experience as much fun as possible. Happily, 'Cymbeline' succeeds on both counts...Tony-winner Daniel Sullivan made an artistic decision to depict Italy as a Las Vegas nightclub run by the mob. It makes no sense, but it’s great fun." Full Review

85
New York Theatre Review

"While this production runs into problems of tone, it makes up for it with the emotional backbone of a performance by Lily Rabe, who treats her role with all the heartache of a tragedy though she is surrounded by more broad characterizations; somehow this blend creates a completely enjoyable breeze of an evening with emotional moments felt throughout...While there isn’t much in 'Cymbeline' that one can take with you to think about after the show, it is a wonderful, light evening that most any... Full Review

95
ZEALnyc

"'Cymbeline' was fantastic. What I feared about its chaos came through brilliantly to an attention deficit defined modern audience. Kept fresh with some musical interpolations, deft stage design, and most significantly, stellar acting, 'Cymbeline' engaged the audience, primarily on its humor and wit...This 'Cymbeline' was far more than an evening of laughs. Indeed the play is a spectrum of human experience, and I felt it all, thanks to The Public Theatre and Shakespeare in the Park." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
83
Avg Score

67
Confusing, Disappointing, Overrated

See it if if you'r a great fan of Shakespeare and enjoy productions of Shakespeare set in modern times and wearing modern dress.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy Shakespeare and aren't knowledgeable about the political machinations of the Cymbeline story.

Also I found the mistaken identities , star-crossed lovers and foolish vill... Read more Read less

95
Funny, Delightful, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to see a great Shakespeare show that rarely gets performed

Don't see it if You aren't a fan of Shakespeare.

95
Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if You like outdoor theater in a beautiful setting, a talented & funny cast with great timing, cool costumes, fun atmosphere & a free show.

Don't see it if You don't like Shakespeare or only want to see his well-know plays & don't want to worry about getting rained on or deal w/ getting tickets.

85
Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if you want to treat yourself to great theater on a sunny day in the park. Wonderful acting. Great play.

Don't see it if you are averse to seeing plays outside.

90
Funny, Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Masterful

See it if enjoy spectacle & humor along side your Shakespeare & want to see one of the lesser-performed Shakespeare plays.

Don't see it if You don't enjoy whimsical/magical story telling or find Shakespeare hard to follow.

87
Ambitious, Clever, Great acting, Masterful, Entertaining

See it if you like Shakespeare and classic works made fresh.

Don't see it if you're not into Shakespeare.

95
Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Great acting, Great writing

See it if you love the platypus of Shakespeare's plays! Romance, intrigue, dead/not dead, evil step-mother, poison, girls disguised as boys, etc.!

Don't see it if you aren't a fan of Shakespeare.

88
Delightful, Great acting, Romantic, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy farce and top-notch comedic acting. The entire cast was hilarious, esp. Esparza and Linklater (in two roles). Hark, hark the lark!

Don't see it if you can't tolerate incredibly convoluted storylines.

78
Funny, Ambitious, Romantic, Entertaining, Shakespeare

See it if Lucky enuf to see CYMBELINE twice from 2 different angles. Totally nutty play ends with dozens of "revelations" that join the large cast??

Don't see it if If U don't like Shakespeare this is not a good place to start. Also, outdoor theater can be trying if the weather suddenly changes. Read it?

85
Funny, Great acting, Great writing, Classic, Great staging

See it if you like Shakespeare in the Park. great actors.

Don't see it if you don't like lotteries and lines.

70
Clever, Great acting, Slow, Entertaining, Nice

See it if You enjoy a non traditional adaptation of shakespeare

Don't see it if You don't like Shakespeare

75
Funny, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if you want to see great Shakespearean acting.

Don't see it if you're not great with Shakespeare, as this one is on the weirder side.

85
Clever, Great acting, Fluffy

See it if you're a sucker for Shakespeare and you love watching extremely talented performers.

Don't see it if you're not strapped in for a long show. The play can feel a little slow at points--not to mention the run time is about three hours.

80
Intelligent, Quirky, Hard to follow, Pleasant, Free

See it if you'd like to see a more unknown Shakespeare piece in a beautiful setting - for FREE! The music was great and fun, and the acting was good.

Don't see it if you don't like Shakespeare, and following confusing plot lines isn't your thing or if you don't like being outside for 3 hours.

90
Original, Clever, Delightful, Exquisite, Great staging

See it if you love new takes on Shakespeare and love quirky song and dance

Don't see it if you wish Shakespeare would stay the same.

80
Absorbing, Ambitious, Entertaining

See it if You've never heard of the play - like me!

Don't see it if You don't enjoy free Shakespeare in the park?

35
Quirky, Indulgent, Excruciating, Overrated, Slow

See it if You didn't get to see Fiasco's production and want a Cliff Notes' version. Or you're related to someone who worked on it.

Don't see it if You value actors who talk to one another rather than merely themselves.

92
Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Quirky, Great staging

See it if You like Hamish Linklater or Lily Rabe. You're: a Shakespeare super-fan, familiar with Cymbeline, or focused & love "al fresco" Shakespeare.

Don't see it if You dislike Lily Rabe or Hamish Linklater. Or, you're impatient or easily bored.

98
Funny, Original, Delightful, Great acting, Must see

See it if You love Shakespeare and Lily Rabe! Amazing modern take on an already fantastic show.

Don't see it if You hate seeing shows outside.

95
Absorbing, Ambitious, Enchanting, Must see, Entertaining

See it if You appreciate directorial vision and an energetic cast/crew bringing Shakespeare to life. Remarkable production that should have run longer

Don't see it if you are a shakespeare scholar who insists on straightforward, literal, period interpretations

65
Great acting, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if you have an undying love for this show or Shakespeare in general, though the production lacked clear focus or intent.

Don't see it if You want a cohesive Shakespeare production that is entertaining from start to finish. There's much better cases of that out there.

86
Funny, Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy Shakespeare, you're down to have a fun ol' theater time, or you enjoy watching Raul Esparza. I know I do.

Don't see it if you don't like Shakespeare, or you can't do long plays. This is both.

87
Funny, Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining

See it if You love Shakespeare and you want a good laugh.

Don't see it if If you don't like Shakespeare.

83
Clever, Great acting, Offbeat, Romantic, Pretentious

See it if You love Raul Esparza and Lily Rabe, and if you want to see a fun Shakespeare show.

Don't see it if You would rather be inside with air conditioning and prefer shows that are fast-paced and less than 3 hours long.

80
Funny, Refreshing, Great writing, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if you want to see an obscure Shakespeare with some very funny moments

Don't see it if you're expecting an equal of Shakespeare's greater comedies