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"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
“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." Full Review
"This one-actor play is performed with consummate skill and precision by Ilia Volok, an amazingly talented actor...His rendering of the character of Poprishchin, the titular Madman, is at once both touching and frightening...The direction of the play is simple, elegant, and inspired. Volok and Lazarav don’t make any attempt to elicit sentimental sympathy while still allowing us to feel sorry for the man himself. This is a tightrope act that comes off beautifully.” Full Review
“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.” Full Review
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." Full Review
for a previous production "Gogol created a character who is a mixture of rationality and madness, a twisted, tormented soul who is also capable of moments of lucidity and understanding. The interweaving of humor, anger, hatred and delusions of grandeur gives the monologue its dense, complex texture -- and makes it a fiendishly difficult challenge for an actor. Volok rises to the occasion; he gives a powerful and commanding performance that this reviewer will long remember." Full Review
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." Full Review
for a previous production "One sees the character Volok portrays morph into a doomed man trapped inside of his forced quarters; A lost soul that sheds into utter madness, making a point of what he is but far from being real...This presentation packs more intense spoken and physical drama than similar stage outings that can last for two or even three acts! Volok’s performance is extremely robust, having its audience hold the desire for more...For a single person showcase, it doesn’t get any better that this!" Full Review
for a previous production "A bold and unique actor’s showcase, and a performance well worth attending...The story presents pleasantly timeless and universal themes that seem to tie a thread through time...The staging seems at times obtuse and often does not suit the space...All of this is surmounted by the tour de force performance by Volok...The strong script and commonality of the feelings it conveys lay the groundwork for effective storytelling...Succeeds primarily due to Volok’s fully-committed performance." Full Review
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
See it if You are a Gogol fan and like his heavy handed critiques of class and modern society with its disrespect for individuals. Quite over the top.
Don't see it if There is a limit to your tolerance for unrelenting intensity, overacting, and perhaps overwriting. I have been sufficiently Gogol-ized!
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
See it if You want to experience the workings of a deranged mind, with moments of clarity emerging from the morass of madness
Don't see it if You need linear storytelling and are uncomfortable in the presence of irrational behavior.
See it if You might enjoy a dramatic & intense representation of mental illness, a story about class differences in 17th century Russia, good acting.
Don't see it if If you are looking for something light and cheerful, you do not enjoy one man shows.
See it if you want to see Russian theater in an extremely intimate setting-behind a court room in a police station. Volok was very good & convincing.
Don't see it if someone going more and more insane hits too close to home.
See it if you enjoy solo, borderline performance art pieces with historical context. Great performance by actor.
Don't see it if you're looking for a modern piece or something with a clear beginning, middle, end plot.
See it if You enjoy one man shows, nontraditional theatre, solid acting, paying attention
Don't see it if You don’t like to be close to the action, you require a linear plot to understand what’s happening, you don’t like paying attention
See it if you like well-acted one character plays based on 19th Century Russian short stories and plots that are more impressionistic than literal.
Don't see it if you like ensemble acting, complex plots, elaborate production values, and comfortable seats.
See it if you appreciate great classic theater and Russian literature.
Don't see it if you're expecting something typically contemporary.
Also This is a beautiful animation of Gogol's story. Volok is superb.
See it if You want to experience a great classic tale of a delusional character in a very intimate theatre instead of on MSNBC!!
Don't see it if You're looking for an escape from our current news reports.
See it if You can use your imagination to fill in what you’re hearing but not seeing, can follow nonlinear stories, enjoy storytelling
Don't see it if You need fancy sets and seats, cannot follow nonlinear stories, need to see all action in a story
See it if You appreciate fine acting.
Don't see it if His final descent into madness will be too discomfitting. If seats that don't quite stay in place if you move will be too uncomfortable.
See it if you want to see a classic performed by a very talented actor, emotionally potent subject matter...
Don't see it if If you would be disturbed by very graphic portrayal of mental decline in an individual .
See it if If you like the classics. This one man production was superbly done. It was absorbing and I was glad to get to see this.
Don't see it if If you don't like characters that have emotional issues. He is totally obsessed and delusional.