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The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart

Members say: Clever, Entertaining, Quirky, Delightful, Enchanting

About the show

The McKittrick Hotel (home of the immersive spectacle 'Sleep No More') presents the New York premiere of the National Theatre of Scotland's transporting, music-filled folk-theater fable.

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The Heath, the McKittrick Hotel’s bar and music venue, is transformed into a high-spirited Scottish Pub for 'The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart,' featuring the Scottish original cast. The title character is an uptight academic who specializes in Scottish ballads and finds herself coming face-to-face with the Devil. The show is written in rhyming verse and unfolds among and around the audience, using live music to weave its lyrical and enchanting story throughout the intimate setting. Tickets include select drinks and eats. 

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See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

The New York Times

"One hell of a tale…This gleeful import does transport you into infernal eternity. It turns out to be a swell place for a hibernal vacation…All the performers are dab hands with an assortment of instruments, musical styles and instant impersonations. They are also most companionable hosts in the specially outfitted pub through which they wander…It shifts seamlessly from robust silliness to sensual dreaminess, as the mind tends to through the course of successive whiskies." Full Review


"An unforgettable theatrical experience, driven by brave performances and resourceful staging…Greig's playful use of language and magpie instinct toward mythology results in an enchanting story that will stay with you for days after…Luckily, everyone in this excellent five-person cast seems perfectly at ease enacting whatever Greig has written while creating specific and consistent characters." Full Review


"The congenial atmosphere set up by director Wils Wilson replicates a sessions night you might encounter at a local tavern...While the merry antics and sexy melodramatics of 'The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart' can certainly be enjoyed by all, those with an intimate knowledge of Scottish literature and culture will certainly get an extra charge out of the evening." Full Review

Time Out New York

"Perfectly enjoyable even without a chest-warming, peaty buzz…A witty send-up of literary theory and rom-coms that morphs into a real mini-epic of damnation and obsession, ‘Prudencia Hart’ keeps a fine balance between supernatural shocks and Fringe-like silliness. Wilson’s scrappy troupe tears around the room, pulling off audience-interactive shenanigans with adorable aplomb. They sing, they dance, and they risk life and limb on top of cluttered tables for our amusement." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"The first act in particular is rife with lovely turns of phrase...Once Prudencia is in the underworld, poetry is replaced by prose and although the words remain highly literate, the fun is lessened somewhat...While one at times wonders what the point of Prudencia's story may be, it is undeniably entertaining to watch this gifted, nimble cast work the room, acting, playing musical instruments, and occasionally commandeering one of the audience's tables to make a point." Full Review


"As accomplished and entertaining as this Satanic, Scottish, musical tall tale is, it’s drawn out and its slender plot is wayward...The dialogue is often comical and flavorful...The pub performance concept, though marvelously presented, at times sidetracks the plot. With all of the singing and actors all over the place, it’s easy to forget about Prudencia Hart...Ultimately, it’s a great deal of merriment without much dramatic impact." Full Review


"Under the direction of Wils Wilson, the first act is breezy and convivial…In the evening’s second half, things take a turn for the metaphorical, with the terms of engagement switching from the narrative to the dramatic, and the proceedings hit a speed bump…But thanks to the effervescent cast, the show doesn’t entirely lose its momentum, and eventually regains its devil-may-care form." Full Review


"An immersive entertainment featuring five talented performers equally adept at clowning and music...The plot is silly but diverting...After that break in the action, 'The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart' loses steam. In part, the problem can be attributed to the script's transition from zippy verse to prose that's decidedly prosaic. But it's also that the preoccupations of small-beer academicians don't justify two hours of ridicule." Full Review

Daily Beast

"The show is many things: satirical, absurd, a literary parlor game, a crazy surf through folkloric history, and a wild and celebratory slice of storytelling-as-art.... Your capacity to embrace this show will depend on your capacity for absurdity, wild silliness, and literary in-jokes. Free shots of whiskey may help...The sheer energy of the performers is all-enveloping...It takes great skill to be this silly, and to do it with such heart and relish." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"An energetic, ingenious and gob-smacking evening of site-specific theater that won’t soon be forgotten...The cast are multi-instrumentalists who also sing, dance and act up a storm...Playwright Grieg has crafted a rather brilliant performance piece based on folklore and an abundance of cultural references...Director Wils Wilson has deftly woven this superb tapestry of movement, acting, and much more, with superb skill...Simply a darn good time." Full Review

Entertainment Weekly

"If something is happening at the McKittrick Hotel, it’s probably worth doing. That’s a rule of thumb I’ve lived by since the first time I saw 'Sleep No More,' and it continues to be true with its new immersive theater experience…'The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart' isn’t your typical holiday fare, but it certainly has the warmth one might crave from the theater on a cold, wintery night." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

for a previous production "The narrative sometimes loses focus, but the evening has plenty of musical swagger and wild poetic heart, and develops an unexpected erotic charge as Prudencia dances with the devil and discovers her real self in car park. This beautifully performed piece both uses the ballad form and sends it up rotten, takes a cheeky but affectionate swipe at Rabbie Burns and Conor McPherson, and celebrates the folk tradition...It deserves to tour for eternity." Full Review

The Washington Post

for a previous production "Whimsical in the extreme...But with a wee bit of indulgence, 'Prudencia Hart' will weave its spell, drawing you in as a willing collaborator in its multitudinous shenanigans...A lot of the charm of 'Prudencia Hart' derives from the unorthodox surroundings in which it is staged. The actors circulate among us, climbing onto our tables...The production is buoyed by the resourcefulness of director Wils Wilson, who makes economical use of limited space and design elements." Full Review

Financial Times (UK)

for a previous production "The piece brilliantly celebrates the joy of live, traditional music, the enduring power of ancient ballads and the delight in sharing the telling of a story. Wils Wilson’s exuberant production is staged in the bar as a lock-in, with a cracking cast...The piece loses some pace and grip in the Devil’s lair and the drunken karaoke scene goes on too long. But there’s great fun in the way this ingenious exploration of Scottish culture crosses borders with glee." Full Review

The Scotsman

for a previous production "After an extended pub sequence, in what still seems a slightly overlong show, 'Prudencia' finds something both more thrilling and much, much worse, in the Borders B&B from hell. It’s at this point that the show begins to weave itself into a strange erotic game of imprisonment and self-liberation that taxes Wilson’s fine cast of five actor-singer-musicians to the hilt. The company are well up to the challenge, though...They whip the show along to its fantastically rousing conclusion." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

for a previous production "Greig writes fluently in rhyming couplets...Though determinedly spoofy, the text also exhibits immense respect and affection for its satiric targets...Wilson’s deceptively unfussy production deftly distracts from the complexity of the show’s many threads, and the game cast appears well-drilled yet up for anything...A persistently entertaining bricolage of themes that only flags in invention in the perhaps overextended climax, notably less inspired than anything in the hours preceding." Full Review

The Austin Chronicle

for a previous production "A great drink will satisfy for many reasons, and so it is with 'The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart:' the go-for-broke enthusiasm of the cast, the infectious music-making, the astoundingly clever and delightful script penned almost completely in rhyming couplets, the playful theatricality that makes audience members into motorbikes and creates blizzards out of shredded bar napkins. And like that great drink, it may just leave you intoxicated." Full Review

A Younger Theatre

for a previous production "Greig’s dialogue is clever, unpacking tradition, with an ear for humour and shrewd composition...Yet if there’s anything that makes the night so alive, it’s the wonderful dynamism of the play’s cast of five. They move through the crowd, fueling their interaction, performing folk songs and pop music between all the action...With Alasdair Macrae’s music, and Wils Wilson’s direction, 'Prudencia’s' a joy from its very inception...I emerged from the theatre exultant, enchanted." Full Review


for a previous production "The novel setting and raucous disregard for the fourth wall are hardly the only things that make this memorable show so wildly entertaining...'Prudencia' cleverly weaves together handed-down mythical narratives, rustic, beautiful harmonies and verse, and the jovial liveliness of an evening spent with old friends at the corner watering hole...The five-person cast radiates authenticity...The second act is a bit jarring...a lone distraction in an otherwise captivating production." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Disappointing, Slow

See it if you want to see a different play at the Mckittrick Hotel, home of "Sleep No More".

Don't see it if you don't like Irish music.

Also The play was inside a restaurant with tables, a music stage, the actor... Read more Read less

Funny, Clever, Delightful, Must see, Great staging

See it if More of a must experience. Great show within a bar. Lovely story and experience

Don't see it if You don't like audience engagement

Absorbing, Clever, Dizzying, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if You enjoy an evening of rambunctious entertainment, that will make you thankful for it's pub location

Don't see it if Sleep No More is your expectation - it's a good show in and of itself, a little whacky, but don't go in expecting SNM.

Absorbing, Enchanting, Quirky, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if You want immersive theater experience where the story unfolds around the audience, a modern ballad with music, humor and supernatural themes

Don't see it if You prefer a straightforward theater experience maintaining separation of actors and audience. You don't like rhyming verse, ballad style.

Absorbing, Immersive, Magical, Lyrical, "select eats & drinks" were a letdown

See it if you want to be in the middle of the action and you like Scottish folk music and sensibility. Terrific performances and a haunting story.

Don't see it if you have a problem with Scottish accents or having performers jump up on your table.

Also With tickets ranging from $75 to $125 and "select eats and drinks" pro... Read more Read less

Quirky, Entertaining

See it if You like Scotch whiskey (it's free at the bar) You like being in the center of the action. You don't mind a little fantasy with your reality

Don't see it if You are uncomfortable with interactive productions. You don't like plays where the Devil is a major character. Whimsy is not your cup of tea

Also It's a wonderful shaggy dog story with sex and the Devil in the Scotti... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Edgy, Great acting, Intelligent, Great staging

See it if You want a truly unique theater experience. I have never seen anything quite like this show. All the actors were tremendous!

Don't see it if You don't like interactive theater.

Great cast, Great concept, Brilliant emersive theater, Fun presentation

See it if you enjoy brilliantly done storytelling with the cast acting all around you. You also get a free shot of scotch!

Don't see it if you're only comfortable with straight forward proscenium plays, but it's time to expand your horizons!

Delightful, Entertaining, Fun, Lighthearted, Fanciful

See it if you like tales of whimsy (w/a touch of romance thrown in). You like folk tales, ballads, & tales told in rhyme.

Don't see it if you want a conventional story or serious drama. You don't have a whimsical bone in your body.

Also Great way to spend time w/friends or on a date. Second act is definite... Read more Read less

Delightful, Great acting, Great singing, Immersive, Great storytelling

See it if You are looking for a great time in. Scottish pub, with whisky, sandwiches, great storytelling and terrific music!

Don't see it if Are averse to an immersive experience. Want a traditional theatre experience.

Also Great time--very talented cast that acts, sings, and charms their way ... Read more Read less

Clever, Dizzying, Edgy, Fun, Unique

See it if you like immersive theater. If you enjoy Scottish folk music & culture. If you want to see something different from usual off-Broadway fare.

Don't see it if you don't like performers to interact with you. You have trouble with accents. You prefer more traditional theater.

Also I enjoyed the first act more than the second but the whole play is a w... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining

See it if you like mystery

Don't see it if you don't like mystery

Absorbing, Clever, Must see, Resonant, Great staging

See it if You're looking to see something new, way out of the norm.

Don't see it if You're looking to see a conventional play or musical in a conventional space. This is a very unique experience.

Clever, Refreshing, Entertaining

See it if If you want to see a modern fairy tale. Complete with free scotch and finger sandwiches.

Don't see it if If you do not like interactive no traditional theater

Clever, Delightful, Quirky, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You have an interest in Scottist storytelling & folklore. You want something different with audience, interaction,singing and romance

Don't see it if Want a straightforward musical or play. Don't like the idea of the supernatural or unconventional storytelling steeped in Scottish lore

Clever, Refreshing

See it if You like unusual immersive productions that delve into fantasy.

Don't see it if You don't care for immersive productions set in a pub,stories that are not based in reality, or Scottish music.

Clever, Enchanting, Quirky, Refreshing, Great staging

See it if You like imaginative and immersive theater that challenges the imagination in a pub setting.

Don't see it if You couldn't care less about the devil and fable-like storytelling.

Funny, Clever, Delightful, Entertaining

See it if This is a cute show with some audience participation from an enthusiastic and talented company of Scottish actors. It is set in a pub.

Don't see it if You don't like slightly 'off the wall productions

Seeing a very clever/silly play that works both high and low is a hoot

See it if 4 wicked satirization academic culture; hilarious script in verse; immersive/ interactive theater-bar setting; mood-setting Scottish ballads

Don't see it if some will be put off by Scottish absurdity; after 2 beautiful hours, play spins completely out of control the last 20 minutes

Also Play is nominally about the academic plight of Prudencia Hart who spec... Read more Read less

Delightful, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if Terrific performances and fun music. Intimate and interactive. Playful and at times movingly beautiful language (the verse part) and songs.

Don't see it if Some moments were over the top or surreal, and people may find those silly. This is a play with some music, NOT a musical.

Delightful, Charming, Entertaining, Great staging, Environmentally staged

See it if you enjoy pub shows! Folk music! light interaction with performers. environmental staging.

Don't see it if you don't like pub shows or fun!

Absorbing, Clever, Exquisite, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You love slightly interactive theatre in a more unique space and are willing to go on an unsettling journey with beautiful storytelling.

Don't see it if You don't like to be so close to the action. You don't understand Scottish accents. The plot turns quickly. You don't like musicals.

Also I adore this play. The beauty of the end left me in tears, that's all ... Read more Read less

Dizzying, Enchanting, Profound, Quirky, Confusing

See it if you want an unconventional theatre experience that also has interesting storytelling.

Don't see it if you are by yourself and don't feel comfortable sitting in the same "dining" table with strangers.

Dizzying, Quirky, Indulgent, Disappointing, Silly

See it if Cross between Phantom of the Opera (work obsessed girl), Monty Python (silly humor) and Sleep No More. Good music and atmosphere but

Don't see it if scenes dragged on without enough substance. Other people seemed to enjoy it but I felt disconnected.

Absorbing, Clever, Intelligent, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if Loved the staging and original story

Don't see it if you do not like interactive or unusual theatre.

Cast & Creatives (10)