New York | 1h 30m | Already closed

The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant

From 4 critic and 32 member reviews
Members say: Disappointing, Ambitious, Indulgent, Confusing, Slow

About the show

Third Space presents this theatrical reimagining of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's classic 1972 film about a famous and arrogant fashion designer and the women in her life.  More…

When a new model, Karin, enters the home of designer Petra von Kant, Petra's world—and career—rocket to manic heights. But in the midst of Petra’s euphoria, her submissive assistant, Marlene, senses a threat. When Karin becomes a superstar, leaving everything behind, Marlene is left to pick up the broken pieces. What Marlene does with those pieces will dictate the rest of her life. Featuring an all-female cast, 'The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant' delves into the tortured connections between desire and power in an industry driven by consumption.

1h 30m | Already closed | New Ohio Theatre (West Village)

Wolf Entertainment Guide

"It stands on its own as an interesting and absorbing weird drama involving love, passion, anger and other emotions stemming from the set-up...A problem with the play is that with all the heat generated it is difficult to feel deeply for Petra. That is due to the oddball nature of the work itself, and the aura of strangeness that hovers over events...It falls on the performers to capture our attention and get us to enjoy much of what we are watching, and they certainly succeed at that." Full Review

Theater In The Now

“This dark comedy is a wild ride that will leave you on edge…Fassbinder's text, translated by David Tushingham, is problematic but Viertel had a plethora of missed opportunities to infuse a genuine and consistent style…As Marlene, Alex Spieth gave an outstanding performance…‘The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant’ is a wild trip through madness that goes off the rails. And it’s a shame because there’s so much good inside." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

“A gorgeous and vacuous production that mines the material for high camp with very little sincerity. Under the direction of Benjamin Viertel, Fassbinder’s darkly humorous drama about a woman’s breakdown is a frenetic comedy about a pathetic lesbian…Scenic designer Bryce Cutler and costume designer Emily Chalmers do some dazzling work here…A more restrained directorial approach could have fulfilled the promise of the professional and transformative design." Full Review


"Sadly, this production, although imaginatively staged, is neither embraced by a text that is even remotely in synch with its presumed agenda nor is it enhanced by performances that might have effectively answered the call. The acting as a whole is far from awful, but this company has not been guided to express or explore the dark and moody sensuality that made the film or the subsequent stage version so provocative...The overall effect of the experience was close to numbing." Full Review

Absorbing, Delightful, Great writing, Intelligent, Modern classic

See it if you didn't know that R. W. Fassbinder wasn't just an amazing filmmaker but a great playwright as well (who wrote truly rich roles for women)

Don't see it if you're uptight when it comes to nudity, strong language or a high camp cultural critique that takes no prisoners.

Intense, Absorbing, Edgy

See it if you like experimental, avant garde theater focused on women's relationships

Don't see it if you like clear resolution to a story

Absorbing, Refreshing, Raunchy, Entertaining, Edgy

See it if you want a fun, sensual, avant-garde type of night, without over the top avant-gardeness. Very fun evening of theater.

Don't see it if you're looking for a very tame, family-friendly production.

Ambitious, Indulgent, Overrated, Overacted. best performance is from the silent "assistant"

See it if predictable theater, with a seemingly strong woman falling prey to a femme fatale, losing all she's worked for and going back for more.

Don't see it if dislike performances with an LGBT theme, or to see successful women so weakened by a "pretty face and body" to a point of self destruction.

Exhausting and agitating

See it if You want to watch an all female cast be melodramatic and hysterical for 1.5hours... it's a headache inducing, drain of a show

Don't see it if You do not enjoy reality TV dysfunction and conflict shows like Jerry Springer and Maury Povich...agitating and exhausting-- just don't!

Also Toward the end of the show, they wheel a "present" onto set (no spoile... Read more Read less

Oh, please!, Banal, Cliched, Insipid, Kitchy

See it if you want a taste of what off-off Broadway was like in the late 60s and early 70s. Your expectation level is low.

Don't see it if You have anything, and I mean ANYTHING better to do with your time and money.

Also This show would have been better served by being totally camped up--a ... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Indulgent, Excruciating

See it if Sorry to say, but don't see it.

Don't see it if Don't see it.

During previews
Clever, Entertaining, Enchanting, Delightful, Absorbing

See it if Must see . Just great.

Don't see it if N/a

During previews
Great staging, Confusing, Clever, Quirky, Ambitious

See it if You appreciate innovative staging and complex characters

Don't see it if You are uncomfortable with same sex relationships

During previews
Ambitious, Disappointing, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if You're a feminist and/or saw the original Fassbinder film to compare them.

Don't see it if The idea of putting an absurdist comic/tragic spin on women's plight has no appeal for you.

Also Saw first preview. Hope they learn how to work the humor better withou... Read more Read less

During previews
Thought-provoking, Funny, Stylized, Storefront, Entertaining

See it if Fassbinder writes heavily schematic, melodramatic plays- characters don't have backstories and they appear/disappear at will.

Don't see it if As a result, the play is not like much else you'll see in theater. This is a stylized production with strong directorial choices that don't

Also always work out, but really pay off when they do. Some of the actors w... Read more Read less

During previews
Engaging, Verbose, Sluggish, Appealing staging

See it if interested in the topic. Seeking well acted off-Broadway entertainment. You will enjoy rollicking role of Marlene. Fine production and set.

Don't see it if you want to avoid shows with lesbian, broken heart relationships. Performance could use some tuning and have actors to project more.

During previews
Disjointed, Entertaining, Funny, Quirky, Repetitious

See it if A mid 30s first-love story resonates with you. The initial expression of anguish was demonstrative.

Don't see it if You're too old to experience someone else's first-love heartaches. The multiple expressions of love sickness were plenty enough for a year.

During previews
Entertaining, Refreshing, Romantic, Edgy

See it if you enjoy getting into the minds of may-december lesbian relationship; well acted melo-drama

Don't see it if you don't like harsh language or some brief female nudity

During previews
Ambitious, Indulgent, Great acting

See it if you are morbidly curious about a tragic-lesbian fashionista meltdown staged like a slumber party at Smith; some great diva moments!

Don't see it if you do not have an iron intermission while Petra et al howled and raved for hours...And if you are hoping for German shmerz, nein

During previews
Slow, Great staging, Great acting, Funny, Confusing

See it if You enjoy an exquisite set with all female cast. You like LQBTQ themes. The acting is also pretty good.

Don't see it if You can stand the slow progression of the plot and a woman who screams and cries for almost an hour.

During previews
Great staging, Indulgent, Intense, Underdeveloped

See it if You have a particular interest in the fashion industry. I also enjoyed the dramatic set design within the constraints of a smaller theatre.

Don't see it if You prefer subtle, nuanced acting or a conventional narrative arc. The primary characters were all (perhaps deliberately) over-the-top.

During previews
Great acting, Edgy, Indulgent

See it if Thought the acting was well done and it was artsy and edgy

Don't see it if Bit over the top at times and ending fell a bit short

During previews
Indulgent, Slow, Ambitious, Disappointing, Dizzying

See it if You enjoy shows like Dostoevsky, a little out there, goes around in circles, and all emotions are right there on top. You like the absurd

Don't see it if You don't want to spend two hours watching hysterical women be hysterical. I get that that was probably the point, but it was exhausting.

During previews
Inaudible, Ultimately excruciating, Histrionic, Verbose, Slow

See it if You're up for a show with high self-conscious intellectual aspirations that devolve into logorrheic melodrama, misdirected and unclear.

Don't see it if You'd prefer a show held up by more than a silent maid and an iguana, unfortunately the clearest, most layered & effective elements onstage.

Also In spite of an unforgivably inaudible exposition, Bitter Tears begins ... Read more Read less

During previews
Raunchy, Quirky, Intense, Edgy, Disappointing

See it if You like dramedies based on movies. It's a good shows for those who are able to sit through long shows (2hrs no intermision)

Don't see it if If you dislike odd shows. At certain points of tension the audience will laugh and I'm not sure if that's the intention of the director.

During previews
Disappointing, Slow

See it if You enjoy a bit of confusion!

Don't see it if If you're a Fassbinder fan!

During previews
Ambitious, Indulgent, Disappointing, Poor staging

See it if you enjoy unintentionally campy insanity.

Don't see it if you require strong acting, good direction, good staging.

Also Costumes were lovely. Actors had great physicality.

During previews
Great staging, Ambitious, Disappointing, Fluffy, Quirky

See it if You want to see a play about a fashion designer that has a love interest that seems to be interested in only one thing.

Don't see it if You don't want to. You don't like plays about love interests that are users and the lover is being used and she doesn't know enough to stop

Also The space was nice. The staging was okay. The clothing were nice. Be p... Read more Read less

During previews
Ambitious, Cliched, Confusing, Disappointing, Excruciating

See it if An ambitious show overshadows disappointing presentation

Don't see it if you don't care for profanity used in place of actual dialog, ham fisted presentation disappoints you, you don't enjoy HS level shows

Cast & Creatives (14)