See it if You would appreciate nouveau classic Shakespeare with a most talented cast
Don't see it if You only appreciate classic stagings of Shakespeare
See it if You want to cheer on an ambitious new work based on Shakespeare. Insertions of some contemporary language don't always work, but kudos.
Don't see it if You would be traumatized by a graphic rape scene (even in the dark, it's hard to hear) and the victim's harrowing emotional aftermath
"The cast of 'The Rape of Lucrece' is uniformly talented, featuring a number of young actors who grapple with the emotional complexity of the show with exceptional maturity...Director Cristina Lundy has supported the actors to make the most of the play’s uneven lines, smartly adapted by Kevin Brewer with admirable skill. Unfortunately, it is very apparent upon hearing certain tinny slant rhymes why 'The Rape of Lucrece' is not one of Shakespeare’s better-known works."
"Brewer does a noble job of adapting the material into a solid Shakespearean structure without making the mistake of trying to mimic the style, which never works...To add dimension, Brewer, with the assist from Cristina Lundy’s fine direction, fleshes out secondary characters despite there being very little source material to work with (or none, as some figures never existed at all in the original)...The cast delivers the difficult material remarkably well."
"The conclusion involves some questionable choices: a climactic scene of revenge that doesn’t reflect history; a sudden, unexpected betrayal by a hitherto loyal servant without an apparent grudge; and a new character whose identity is unclear...Though flawed and with a too-long first act, this workshop production by New York Shakespeare Exchange offers extremely impressive writing, skillful direction by Cristina Lundy, and some superb performances."
"Much of this contemporary urgency is the credit of Kevin Brewer, who adapted the original Shakespearean poem. The ancient Roman world is fleshed out on the stage by characters with dead-language names speaking in Elizabethan verse. Yet nothing about it feels stuffy...From its most tragic verses to a rather silly chamber pot gag, the scenes are unfailingly well-acted...With a stellar cast and an ancient, captivating story that begs to be retold, the only pity is that it has such a short run."