See it if avant garde bare stage techniques & blind multi-character casting amuse rather then confuse you. The love child of Candide & Hamilton!
Don't see it if you are looking for a true biography of Da Ponte whose embroidery on his complicated life has been further expanded for dramatic effect.
See it if You want a modern take on a lesser known historical figure. You want to support a young theatre company.
Don't see it if You value consistency: the writing & direction swing between sincere interest in DaPonte, & mocking, hipper than thou nonsense.
"The actors are quick, funny and talented. The comedic timing and repetition of the piece is incredibly charming and consistent...If the show has any faults they are in the second act. The second act is not at all consistent with the first act in terms of tone...It redeems itself in the scene between Da Ponte and Mozart...Da Ponte is stripped to his soul and Whitmore does an excellent job of really breaking him down to his core desire...'That True Phoenix' is witty and entertaining."
"The playwright, Kelley, and the director, Diercksen, report most of this story in a non-linear fashion, using many rapid-fire and humorous scenes and flashbacks...Through many of Mr. Kelley’s lines we get some glimpses of Da Ponte’s poetic use of language. The engaging Curry Whitmire comically plays Da Ponte. Isaiah Tanenbaum is gifted as the genius Mozart...Diercksen capably guides the remaining ensemble cast of four. They energetically play many different roles."
"For a while, it seemed like Kelley’s 'That True Phoenix' would be simply a delightful, freewheeling 18th-century romp...And yet about halfway through the first act, we discover Kelley and director Diercksen are up to something a lot more interesting. Da Ponte is not exactly who he has been telling us...In addition to maintaining a sense of unity among the many design and storytelling elements, Diercksen also draws stellar, energetic, and acrobatic performances out of all of his actors."