Diary of a Madman
Closed 1h 10m
Diary of a Madman

Diary of a Madman NYC Reviews and Tickets

(79 Ratings)
Members say
Great acting, Absorbing, Intense, Ambitious, Intelligent

About the Show

After a successful run last fall, this solo adaptation of Nikolai Gogol's short story chronicling an average man's doomed quest for individuality in a seemingly indifferent city extends to an Off Broadway run,

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Show-Score Member Reviews (73)

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302 Reviews | 87 Followers
Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Resonant, Must see

See it if you like long Russian drama, intricate character development, reflecting futility of ordinary man's quest for his recognition as special

Don't see it if you cannot sit through an intense emotional and physical 80 minutes of solo male monologue of decline into insanity without intermission Read more

50 Reviews | 19 Followers
Absorbing, edgy,passionate, riveting, must see

See it if Visceral, passionate, absorbing theater excites you and you wish to take a riveting journey into the soul of a character

Don't see it if You're looking for a musical, light fare, don't wish to become involved and don't like visceral, theatrical theater Read more

61 Reviews | 20 Followers
Absorbing, Great acting, Masterful

See it if you want a master class in acting and how to do a riveting one person show

Don't see it if spiraling into insanity would bother you

506 Reviews | 1010 Followers
Absorbing, Entertaining, Clever, Dizzying

See it if love a rarely done show. So much better than then book

Don't see it if you need a musical or fluffy comedy

366 Reviews | 77 Followers
Absorbing, Dizzying, Great acting, Masterful, Riveting

See it if You'd like a taste of Russian playwriting and/or Gogol, or want to see an actor give everything he's got in 80 minutes. He really delivers.

Don't see it if Madness expressed in a small claustrophobic atmosphere is not easy for you to take, or if the non-uplifting Russian style is not your thing. Read more

179 Reviews | 29 Followers
Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Profound

See it if Tour-de-force performance that captivates and spellbounds, with equal parts sadness, whimsy, and madness. Uncomfortably hot theatre.

Don't see it if you do not like solo plays, with a complex character

162 Reviews | 18 Followers
Absorbing, Edgy, Great acting, Riveting, Must see

See it if Enjoy solo Tours de force? Want to be dragged along on a characters descent into madness? See it before it closes

Don't see it if Prefer big productions or elaborate staging, not here. Don't like being subjected to the demise of a character, probably should not see it.

252 Reviews | 61 Followers
Masterful, Intelligent, Profound

See it if You want to see an incredible actor - Ilia Volok perform a role that is believable. He transforms himself on stage.

Don't see it if You don't like solo shows, don't like any of Gogol's work. Want an upbeat, funny show...this is not it. Read more

Critic Reviews (12)

January 23rd, 2018

"Cool sound effects and inventive direction cannot compensate for the overwrought performance in this wearying solo play...Volok is quite personable and definitely commands the stage; his performance is heroic but it is so intense and his accent is often intrusive. Comical and sensitive portions are overshadowed by the perpetual ranting...Technically accomplished, Lazarev and Volok's adaptation is faithful to Gogol's tone but is diminished by Volok's misdirected performance."
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February 7th, 2018

"Throughout the brilliant painting that is Volok’s performance, every twitch of his face, every jerk of a limb, is another artfully placed brushstroke on the captivating emotional landscape of Poprischin...Volok is particularly engrossing to watch in the moments in which madness utterly consumes Poprischin...In addition to being a powerful and entertaining piece of art, 'Diary of a Madman' is a profound commentary on mental illness, homelessness, and empathy."
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Front Row Center
October 28th, 2017

"A triumph of acting...A performance of beauty and intensity...Volok is not alone on stage. The madness itself is tangible. The people, the dogs, all present. That is the strength of his performance. Mr. Volok is truth...I wish the production trusted him more. I wish they had seen that Gogol’s story and Volok’s performance are enough, so that they would not need to add so many sound and lighting cues that are distracting at best and absolutely overpowering at worst."
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On Stage Blog
October 29th, 2017

"A particularly fine visual and theatrical experience...This adaptation of the original story is very well-written, and is delivered with an energy that vividly displays the dark, psychological troubles of this character...The main highlight of this production is the performance of Volok...He is very clearly immersed in the character and keeps the audience captivated and entertained...Won’t leave you bored for a second."
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NYC Splash
November 8th, 2017

“Merely the most charming trace of Volok's native tongue, Russian, can be detected. What is far more prevalent is his unmistakably Russian soul, which is not dead in the least, but in the guise of the character and narrator of this piece, Poprishin, terribly damaged...Volok’s commitment to his character is unimpeachable. Every glance, movement, sound, word, laugh, and cry of his severely troubled tale is rendered with palpable pain as well as the innocence of truth."
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Local Theatre NY
October 31st, 2017

“The journey of the show reveals the sanity within insanity and the power and fragility of the mind in solitude...Ilia Volok did not disappoint...There were initial moments when lighting flickered and sound effects sounded all-too-canned. When these aspects aligned, the experience was electric...Audiences eager to marvel at the mind and chuckle at the fervent and heartbreaking ingenuity of Ilia Volok’s performance should catch this show.”
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Los Angeles Times
March 21st, 2012
For a previous production

"The original translation feels crisper and more contemporary than ubiquitous public domain versions. It’s particularly effective in evoking the Gogol story’s vivid mix of the comic and horrific...But the fact that Poprishchin’s madness is obvious from the outset leaves Volok nowhere to go except the no man’s land of over-the-top, actorly clichés of madness, and a tendency to embellish lines with pregnant dramatic pauses makes the piece slower going than it needs to be."
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LA Weekly
July 12th, 2012
For a previous production

"Gogol's short-prose masterpiece about a petty bureaucrat's dizzying plunge into the lowest depths of madness isn't exactly the stage-friendliest of texts. Which makes Volok's fevered and fascinating one-man turn all the more remarkable...Volok delineates the delirium with a fierce yet finely modulated intensity, while Lazarev's use of costuming to visually underscore Poprishchin's unraveling mind is a grace note to his otherwise spare but engaging production."
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