Members say: Confusing, Quirky, Ambitious, Great staging, Disappointing

About the show

Robert Lyons' new play is inspired by Dostoyevsky's novel of the same name, and staged by HERE artistic director Kristin Marting.

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'Idiot' features a prince, a notorious woman, a spoiled socialite, and a jealous rival squaring off in an intricate and violent quartet. Immersive staging casts the audience as voyeurs, confidants, and society gossips. In the face of a corrupt society, be there as the prince battles the depths and heights of human experience.

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See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

The New York Times

"Something crucial is missing...a sense that we have entered a version of that fictional world, no matter how it is refracted...There’s no palpable social critique, none of Dostoyevsky’s disgust with the ruling class; no real sense of the prince as a Christian paragon. Which might be fine — this is, after all, a response to Dostoyevsky — except that 'Idiot' doesn’t offer anything coherent in their place. The party here never really gets started." Full Review


"Everything about this production is tepid, sedate, and leaves you wanting some caffeine...Doesn't quite feel formed enough to be a considered a compelling work of experimental theater...This show shouldn't be as dull as it is. Unfortunately, the impressive technical elements do little to distract from a dry script and overly cautious performances. There may be a brilliant immersive experience in 'The Idiot,' but in order to find it, Lyons and Marting might want to go back to page one." Full Review

Time Out New York

“An unwieldy mess. The theatrical medium and the literary content never gel, so while Robert Lyons and Kristin Marting's attempt is noble, it seems doomed from the outset…‘Idiot’ avoids most of the common adaptation mistakes...But these solutions create their own problems...By extracting just the 'I love you! You love him! He loves me!' bits, Lyons turns the source into a soap-operatic supercut...All Dostoevsky's heartbroken critique vanishes into the noise.” Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

“They have taken a complex, psychologically detailed, and deeply philosophical work and reduced it to a four-way lover's spat...Billed as being ‘a response’ to the novel, it remains a strange effort...Its method is largely subtractive, providing too little to compensate from all that has been taken away. It provides a good illustration of the dictum that even a piece with a short running time can seem interminable if nothing seems to be happening.” Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

"What occurs over Dostoevsky’s complex course of events has been condensed into a simplified—but ambiguous—narrative with a vaguely outlined time span. The thinly dramatized characters express their feelings in contradictory ways that offer little insight into what they really mean, the transitions seem arbitrary, there are philosophical and religious digressions that add little of interest...and by the time the piece ends you feel as if years have passed, not a mere hour and a quarter." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"Who can say what Dostoyevsky would make of the brazen liberties taken with his famous work? But somehow the enterprise is so unexpected and astonishing—and the players so committed to what’s asked of them as they sometimes weave through, and address, the dropped-jawed patrons—that it’s difficult to laugh off the proceedings outright. Sometimes something so gleefully bold in nature deserves a succumbing respect." Full Review


"Playfully hi-tech and well performed, the show is overall enjoyable and interesting but the perpetual sensory bombardment at times overwhelms the experience of following the plot and characters...Director and choreographer Kristin Marting masterfully coordinates everything into a spectacle with sensational movement and dance. Robert Lyons has done a skillful, flavorful and faithful distillation...The spirit of Dostoyevsky does come through despite all of the technological tangents." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

“The casting of Kublick in the role of the Prince is a big part of what works in this production...His performance is warm, childlike, and captivating...There are several scenes including music...They’re fun to watch, but I cannot honestly tell you what the dramatic purpose was of any of those moments. They seemed to unnecessarily lengthen the run time...Maybe those who are more familiar with Dostoyevsky will find more to love in this show than I did.” Full Review

New York Theatre Review

"It is a novel conceit...Kublick is superb as Prince Myshkin, crafting his performance into a blend of dashing hero and sad clown. His seizures are powerfully underscored by Ray Sun Ruey-Horng’s disquieting video designs...Director/choreographer Kristin Marting juggles all of these moving pieces with a strong eye for color and shape. Indeed, the visual impact often rivals Dostoyevsky’s text...'Idiot' is state-of-art Dostoyevsky." Full Review

Village Voice

"The play doesn't live up to its conceptual or theatrical potential, in part because Lyons's script slashes Dostoevsky's massive novel down to 75 minutes and four characters. Neither the scenes nor their set elements ever fully cohere. The show has some high points: Daniel Kublick plays Myshkin with a touching naïveté, and multimedia elements bring his seizures vividly to life...But ultimately, like Dostoevsky's Prince, 'Idiot' doesn't ever find its way." Full Review

Off Off Online

"There were arresting moments in this production…But, for the most part, inventive use of video, gesture and dance, the dramatic story and interludes of deeper rumination do not, finally, cohere to immerse us in anything more than that spectacle itself. We are entertained but, finally, not enlarged in the course of this production." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Quirky, Excruciating, Slow, Arty

See it if You get a free ticket and need to kill time - this was 75 minutes that felt like 3 hours.

Don't see it if You value your entertainment dollar.

Original, Confusing

See it if Like my bride, you studied literature, and are into the emotional flow of the proceedings.

Don't see it if Like me, you may not be the brightest star in the sky, but you valorize logic in your theater, and could not make head or tail of this show

Banal, Disappointing, Excruciating, Slow, Messy

See it if you have a masochistic streak. This is tough to sit through! Although minimized (in time, story & impact) to 75 min, it feels interminable.

Don't see it if you are a Dostoevsky purist. His compelling, complex novel has been distilled to a messy multi-media teen soap opera/reality show.

Clever, Edgy, Great staging

See it if You like unusual, thought-provoking theatre

Don't see it if you expect to see a blockbuster

Edgy, Confusing, Excruciating, Uncomfortable, Unsuccessful

See it if you like inventive, in the round staging with lots of multimedia and soundscape usage. You like a nonsensical story with cringeworthy acting

Don't see it if you value good acting/writing/direction. The cool set was wasted on bad everything else. In the round was 100% unnecessary.

Original, Clever, Slow, Well cast, Visually inviting

See it if Alternative theatrical approaches to stripped-down Russian classics interest. Engaging cast, set & audio but loses steam & doesn't resolve.

Don't see it if Russian drama or experimental, interactive plays with long speeches, strobe lights or techno music are issues.

Slight, Condensed, Tangential, Unformed

See it if Would enjoy performance art/unusual staging aspects despite unconvincing integration, for Daniel Kublick's warmly eccentric performance

Don't see it if Looking for coherent, faithful, or profound use of source material, suspect "experimental" is a byword for pretension

Ambitious, Quirky, Confusing, Great staging

See it if you appreciate mashups of old works with modern tech. You like plays that use audience space.

Don't see it if you don't like Russian karaoke or plays that make you go WTF?

Original, Quirky, Indulgent, Great staging, Repetitive

See it if like a close view of experimental theatre, especially if you have some familiarity with the characters and themes of the novel.

Don't see it if you prefer a clear, linear narrative or are uncomfortable with being extremely close to the actors.

Disappointing, Immersive, Well-designed, Fuzzy, Formless

See it if you're a fan of HERE Arts, inventive design, and attempts at distilling epic classic novels into short, theater pieces.

Don't see it if you care about plot, nuance, social context, emotion, shape, and momentum.

Ambitious, Excruciating, Odd staging does nothing to enhance the story, Good idea, poor execution, Good script sabotaged with terrible acting

See it if You're familiar with Russian literature. You want non-traditional staging. You've had a few drinks pre-show. You need to kill time.

Don't see it if You value good acting. You're sober. You don't know anything about Russian literature.

Absorbing, Clever, Confusing

See it if You know/liked the book, you enjoy creative staging and more artys shows.

Don't see it if You like more traditional plays, if you aren't into Russian Lit

Original, Ambitious, Intelligent

See it if You enjoy seeing a work of great literature adapted to drama

Don't see it if You don't like Russian classics

Indulgent, Confusing, Excruciating, Slow

See it if You love performance art and don't care that there is nothing that resembles a plot or good writing, even if you like the book.

Don't see it if You want a show that despite interesting staging has nothing else to recommend it.

Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Romantic, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you like dostoyevsky; like romance

Don't see it if you aren't familiar with his rich text

Dizzying, Quirky, Indulgent, Confusing, Excruciating

See it if you can appreciate weirdness for weirdness's sake.

Don't see it if you don't want to be counting every painful second of what is actually a fairly short show

Creative, Confusing, Entertaining, Fun, Great staging

See it if You enjoy immersive staging. It's a fun experience but it's primarily due to the creative and engaging staging.

Don't see it if It's confusing at times & at only 75 minutes the show could benefit from cutting 10-15 mins. That being said, I stil had a good time.

Ambitious, Quirky, Enjoyable, Great staging, Performatic

See it if you like perfomance pieces with your dialogue. Very creative staging/projections. Good distillation of the original for 75 min. Solid acting

Don't see it if you want more theater & less "art". The performance pieces should be shortened to be more illustrative than demonstrative. Niche style.

Ambitious, Edgy, Indulgent, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if you're curious about how a massive Russian tome has been translated into a short [yet overlong] multi-media theater piece.

Don't see it if you seek a coherent or emotionally effective play. a lot of effort and talent, some interesting staging, but it just doesn't work.

Original, Ambitious, Clever

See it if you like more avant garde shows and can handle being looked at in the eye why the actors are speaking.

Don't see it if you get nervous when actors talk directly to you, you don't like shows that take place all over, you want something straightforward.

Original, Dizzying, Strange, High-tech

See it if You're interested in in a 360 multimedia experience that starts when you walk through the door. It's a unique experience.

Don't see it if You want a plot or coherent message. The situation doesn't really develop much after the first 20 minutes.

Quirky, Confusing, Different

See it if You enjoy different quifky multimedia shows.

Don't see it if if you like more traditional sequential and logical stories.

Quirky, Indulgent, Disappointing, Slow

See it if You like immersive theater and "artistic" theater of the absurd. Overly unnecessary technical production.

Don't see it if You don't like immersive staging, and if you prefer a story and script to propel the production rather than technology and overcomplications

Ambitious, Confusing, Disappointing, Slow

See it if You're a fan of alt theatre and fairly disjointed flashy video aspects. Or actors trying hard. Because they did.

Don't see it if You need a story or characters that make sense.

Banal, Confusing, Disappointing, Great staging, Try-hard

See it if you enjoy beautiful multimedia use, you value aesthetics over writing and plot, you want to be thoroughly confused and lost in a 'story'

Don't see it if you want the production value to match the actual production (there was no necessity for the elaborate in-the-round set to the performance)

Cast & Creatives (12)