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The Hairy Ape

From 288 member  reviews
Members say: Great staging, Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing, Intense

About the show

Park Avenue Armory and the Old Vic present O’Neill's expressionist drama, a searing social commentary on the divide between the rich and poor in the industrial age. Starring Emmy winner and Tony nominee Bobby Cannavale. More…

Cannavale stars as Yank, an unthinking laborer searching for his place in a world controlled by the wealthy. His journey from the bowels of a transatlantic ocean liner to the wealthy neighborhoods of New York society literally revolves around the audience like the conveyor belt of a larger machine, serving as a metaphor for the struggle between the working man and the industrial complex. The revival is directed by Olivier winner Richard Jones and is based on a previous mounting he helmed in London.


Member Reviews (288)

MEMBERS SAY:

Great staging, Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing, Intense
86
Avg Score

75
Ambitious, Visually stunning, Thought-provoking, Intense, Memorable

See it if you like avant garde works. THA was more to be admired than enjoyed. The spectacle dazzles more than the words engage. Bobby C. works hard.

Don't see it if you like easy entertainment. Some parts drag. The staging is operatic, clever, imaginative. Sometimes, tho, it distracts from the content.

Also Everyone in my section was complaining about the uncomfortable plastic... Read more Read less

78
Great staging, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Confusing, Relevant

See it if you enjoy declarative expressionist texts. More philosophizing than actual dialogue. The staging and Cannavale are absolutely outstanding.

Don't see it if The acoustics are not the best, but expected in a venue so vast. It does get slow at time.

Also What a stunning production. Grandiose but never over the top.... Read more Read less

78
Great staging, Creative, Artistic, Clever, Relevant

See it if You enjoy really creative, artistic, avant garde staging. Came off more like a live art piece than a typical play. Themes still relevant.

Don't see it if Found some parts a bit slow and the text is not typical dialog but it works for this type of production.

Also The whole experience at the Armory is pretty cool. We had a nice time.

95
Great staging, Profound, Relevant, Intelligent, Absorbing

See it if You want to see this play done on a truly grand scale. The actors are all top notch, the direction is brilliant. It's as relevant as ever.

Don't see it if You like your drama served straight up. This is a "re-imagining" that worked VERY WELL for me.

100
Epic, Masterful, Profound, Stunning, Riveting

See it if Every scene in this powerful expressionist story takes place in a visually stunning expressionist set. Great acting and symbolism.

Don't see it if You prefer something happier or more realistic. You don't want to think about the meaning of the colors, masks, balcony, etc.

90
Great acting, Riveting, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great staging

See it if you want to see a highly-stylized version of O'Neill's expressionist polemic. Cleverly staged and powerfully acted, esp by Cannavale.

Don't see it if you prefer O'Neill's more naturalistic family dramas or if you have xanthophobia (fear of the color yellow).

89
Great staging, Edgy, Riveting, Thought-provoking, Great acting

See it if Jones' stunning expressionistic staging is a visual knock-out & gels perfectly with O'Neill's dramatic intent. Cannavale's perfect as Yank

Don't see it if Audibility & accents sometimes problemic & message a little one note but just quibbles It's a rare must-see for any avid theater goer

70
Great staging, Great acting, Surprising, Unfocused, Visually stunning

See it if you want to see a visually stunning production full of exciting surprises.

Don't see it if you only like naturalism or big fluffy musicals. This production highlights the play's expressionism.

91
Absorbing, Ambitious, Great staging, Epic, Riveting

See it if you enjoy great direction & sets, strong acting, epic structure, & great use of space, are a Bobby Canavale fan, want to see a rare O'Neill

Don't see it if loud, epic stagings are not your thing, have never been an O'Neill fan, prefer more realistic sets & situations, not a fan of archaic usage

95
Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if You want a dynamic, riveting production. You want great acting. You want a classic play that is still relevant.

Don't see it if You want a contemporary play. You prefer traditional staging. You don't like O'Neill, though this production, may change your mind.

82
Thought-provoking, Resonant, Relevant, Great staging, Slow

See it if You want to see a brilliant staging & central performance of a classic drama, even if you dislike the subject matter or the play itself.

Don't see it if You don't enjoy plays about not belonging & class inequity. This play is light on plot & heavy-handed on those themes.

85
Clever, Entertaining, Great staging, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if you want an experience with fantastic staging. Interesting but dated concepts are expressed in beautiful monologues.

Don't see it if you want complex themes. This is an old study in personal verses political. The plot is thin and the characters are one dimensional.

74
Great acting, Great staging, Intense, Quirky, Great use of lighting

See it if You want to see a rarely performed Eugene O'Neill play performed in an incredible space at the Park Avenue Armory with creative staging.

Don't see it if You want to see something fun. This is super serious and intense. Didn't make much sense as a play. Was really a polemic, beautifully staged

Also Bobby Cannavale gave a very strong and sometimes playful performance. ... Read more Read less

95
One of the most visually stunning productions i've seen, Great staging, Great writing, Relevant, Masterful

See it if you want to experience one of Eugene O'Neill's expressionistic plays. You are a fan of Bobby Cannavale.

Don't see it if expressionistic drama isn't your thing. You do not like stylized direction.

Also This is a production to cherish. The production is stunning—even as yo... Read more Read less

85
Great acting, Great staging

See it if You'd enjoy seeing Bobby Cannavale lead a strong cast - amazing set design, great acting, even the yellow seating is a sight to behold.

Don't see it if You wouldn't like the tale of a man struggling to fit in. 90 minutes.

95
Great staging, Great acting, Edgy, Thought-provoking, Absorbing

See it if You like expert ensemble actors led by Bobby Cannavale in the timeless story of man's search for his self-worth. Do not miss this!

Don't see it if You are looking for a happy ending. Do not like modern interpretations in a moving steel stage set.

Also Eugene O'Neill is an American treasure. This play is full of thought- ... Read more Read less

83
Profound, Intense, Edgy, Great staging, Great acting

See it if Bobby Cannavale is extraordinary, as is the staging and use of the huge stage. The production is beguiling.

Don't see it if The sound was poor in the beginning and I missed quite a bit of conversation. This made the story confusing and difficult for me to follow

90
Visually stunning, Thrilling and unique, Ambitious, Memorable, Intelligent direction

See it if Want to see unique piece of theatrecraft on huge scale, & can accept that at times the spectacle is bigger than the story. You like O'Neill.

Don't see it if Don't like expressionist/avant-garde, want realism in plot & acting styles, want story to move you emotionally. Painful seats/lots o'steps.

Also I found this thrilling from the moment I entered this cavernous, aston... Read more Read less

70
Great staging, Intelligent, Relevant, Ambitious, Dated

See it if you want to be a awed by a really unusual staging, which makes up for the rather banal plot. Acting is just so-so, but very physical.

Don't see it if you are not an O'Neill fan, and no amount of modern and unusual staging will make up for that. You cannot climb stairs; hate uncomfy seats.

Also I'm afraid all the interesting and unique staging could not make me en... Read more Read less

90
Great staging, Masterful, Riveting, Intense, Great acting

See it if you want to see a superb example of environmental theater or are a fan of Bobby Cannavale.

Don't see it if you are not interested in exciting revivals.

92
Must see, Spectacular, Great acting, Great staging, Epic

See it if You want to see O'Neil's polemic screed against classism starring Bobby Cannavale as the working man who can't get no respect.

Don't see it if You can't sit on a hard plastic seat for 90 minutes. You think classics should be done in a traditional way.

Also The eye-popping set is amazing and enhances the impact of the story.

86
Epic, Profound, Incredible staging

See it if This is a masterful staging of a classic, with sets and blocking that will grab you and not let go. Don't miss it if you can help it.

Don't see it if you have a problem with uncomfy plastic seats or you don't like stylized classic existential work.

91
Absorbing, Great staging

See it if You like good theatre

Don't see it if You don't want to be stimulated to think

90
Experimentally environmental, Expressionististic naturalism, Tour de force all around ...literally, Must see, Brilliant concept/staging/acting

See it if wild ride is on your bucket list, surprise after surprise from tableau to man in the moon balloon, TheVISIT's yellowShoes, & donut turntable

Don't see it if you can't be surprised any more, dislike O'Neill, can't stand examining class issues, don't like monkey fur, can't climb stairs....Go anyway

Also Classic day of unforgettable theatre in the other worldly Park Ave Arm... Read more Read less

79
Brilliantly conceived with committed impressive acting, why was i sooooo bored.

See it if You want to see a brilliant use of a space. A beautifully conceived set married to the assets of the actors. It's a well tuned event.

Don't see it if You dont like O'Neill/fusty old fashioned plays with facile symbolism w a brush with the depression and unions. Women conceptually reed thin

Also If I hadn't been so bored I would say that this is a must see. I still... Read more Read less


March 31st, 2017
“A mesmerizing revival…O’Neill’s nightmarish parable of alienation and class conflict still feels close to home…Mr. Jones’s interpretation is ravishing enough to please the sort of aesthetes who worship Robert Wilson’s exquisite dreamscapes. But this production also rings with primal pain...Mr. C...
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March 31st, 2017
"A staggering, last-word revival...Cannavale's body is giving us expressionism while his smooth interpretation of the speech is giving us realism...It anchors a production, gorgeously directed by Jones, that is otherwise full-tilt expressionism on the grandest scale...The performances of the othe...
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April 10th, 2017
“Yank is an embodiment of the playwright’s ideas about theatrical naturalism and how to elevate it beyond the proscenium and make it deeper, spookier…Reading ‘The Hairy Ape,’ you’d never imagine what Jones comes up with, and those surprises are the reason the production is such a thrill…Jones’s t...
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March 31st, 2017
"Environmental theater doesn’t come any more powerful than the staging of 'The Hairy Ape'...Cannavale superbly brings his raw, macho physicality to the leading role...The play is not exactly subtle in its language and themes. Director Jones exploits that artificiality by visually emphasizing the ...
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