Wolf in the River
Closed 1h 45m
Wolf in the River

Wolf in the River NYC Reviews and Tickets

(38 Reviews)
Members say
Intense, Edgy, Ambitious, Confusing, Great staging

About the Show

The Flea Theater presents this world premiere drama by playwright Adam Rapp about a young girl trapped in a world of neglect, longing for escape.

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Member Reviews (38)

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Ambitious, Edgy, Great staging, Great writing, Intense

See it if It's Adam Rapp so you know at the very worst it will be amazing. Great set and staged perfect in the round. you felt like you were in it.

Don't see it if you want to be challenged and asked to think.

Original, Edgy, Confusing, Ambitious, Thought-provoking

See it if You like cutting edge shows and are a fan of anything by Adam Rapp

Don't see it if You expect a clear plot and dislike zombies

Edgy scary charismatic original writing

See it if Rapp's vision of self-destructive white trash in the South is disquieting. Vivid storytelling through violence and outrageous imagery.

Don't see it if Jack Ellis is totally riveting and charismatic. He gives life to Rapp's histrionics. Another shirtless hardbody e.g. Ben Walker, Alex Breaux


See it if You come to Adam Rapp for the strange, unexpected, bizarre (and who doesn't) don't mind the offensive and know the Bats might do anything

Don't see it if You need more than just strange, as the thought provoking, dare I say insightful he sometimes brings to the stage.

Ambitious, Great staging, Original, Intelligent, Edgy

See it if You'd enjoy a sophisticated wild disturbing journey which may (or not depending on audience chance) end well. Ambitious & creatively staged.

Don't see it if The ugly, course, sexually threatening isn't something you want to experience-or if you simply prefer your plays to have a clear narrative.

Ambitious, Great staging, Original, Excessive, Raunchy

See it if You like Adam Rapp's work...even if you haven't liked some of his most recent stuff. This is really good.

Don't see it if You can't handle excess, nudity, violence, etc.

Edgy, Raunchy, Intense

See it if You want to be challenged. This is an adult Lord of The Flies. Very disturbing.

Don't see it if You insist on a straightforward linear narrative. There is a heap of metaphor here. You will have to pay attention.

Great acting, Edgy, Great staging, Intense, Riveting

See it if you like being shaken-up by intense scenes acted brilliantly in an intimate setting that offers no barrier between stage and audience

Don't see it if you want a romantic comedy, are on a first date, or are averse to nudity and violence

Critic Reviews (16)

The New York Times
March 21st, 2016

"[The actors] seem to be having just as good a time as Mr. Rapp apparently had writing and directing this tall and bloated tale of nasty doings on the banks of a cannibalistic river...It is easy to imagine 'Wolf' as a collaboration between Tennessee Williams and Erskine Caldwell, both deep in their cups...The artery-clogging prose is enlivened by the vivacious staging...The cast members will be very much in your midst throughout, sharing their glee at the chance to act up a hillbilly storm."
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Time Out New York
March 22nd, 2016

"Though 'Wolf' has trouble sustaining its fever-dream intensity, there's no doubt that Rapp can write...Rapp clearly loves horror, but this attempt to import the style onto the stage doesn't quite work. A few of the flaws are in execution: As a director, Rapp creates inventive environmental staging, but he urges his actors into loud performances rather than frightening ones. Even the dialogue, Rapp's strong suit, turns against him at times."
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March 21st, 2016

"Rapp presents a handful of scenes that are among his very best, alongside an assortment of seriously confounding characters and plot contrivances that don't add up to much...The actors bring a fierce intensity to their roles, like sticks of dynamite that have just been lit...'Wolf in the River' ends up feeling more like an overstuffed, undercooked stew of atrocities...That's not to say it's entirely a loss. Amid the gratuitousness is a collection of moments that rank as top-tier Rapp."
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Lighting & Sound America
March 25th, 2016

"A wildly overstaged and mostly incoherent tale...Nothing much happens in 'Wolf,' which fades from one scene of depravity to the next....'Wolf in the River' is a would-be shocker undone by its sheer oversupply of grim and grimy details. Even for playwright Adam Rapp, who revels in the details of various bodily fluids, this one is a bit much. Acting as his own director, Rapp seemingly has no one to point out the moment when his taste for the horrible descends into shtick."
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March 26th, 2016

"The play, which has alternate endings, is told out of chronological order so that it makes it difficult to follow...While the audience may be confused, the cast appears to be gleefully enjoying their roles...'Wolf in the River' is more like a 1960’s happening with its non-linear plot line, colorful characters, startling imagery, gratuitous violence, weird goings-on, and use of myth and folk tale. It will not be to all tastes."
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Stage Buddy
March 28th, 2016

"At times the constancy of the shouting and the breathless vocabulary of the dialogue can be exhausting. The quietude of this single river scene is something to cherish...The fact that there is such a gentle relationship around which all of this menace occurs only raises the tension. There is an immediacy to the impressionistic appeal of 'Wolf in the River,' but its ideas about the way human beings can instantaneously relate to each other grant it a more permanent universality."
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Exeunt Magazine
March 30th, 2016

"By constantly shifting storytelling styles the aggregate impact of this yarn gets diluted. However, there are vivid performances and haunting moments that will still grab you...The silliness of the pre-show makes it quite hard to take the show seriously, and some goodwill is lost while you try to re-commit to the actual endeavor at hand. But once the play gets going and we get a grip on our surroundings, Rapp’s kinetic writing and intense poetry flourishes."
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March 21st, 2016

"Under Mr. Rapp’s extraordinary direction, the ensemble cast of 'The Wolf in the River' brings the audience to a level of awareness and responsibility the theatre too often buries under the veneer of entertainment and the umbilical cord of numbness. Adam Rapp’s 'The Wolf in the River' is nothing like you have ever seen before and nothing you are likely ever to see again."
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Theatre's Leiter Side
March 25th, 2016

"‘Wolf in the River’ is a theatrical grotesquerie that allows Rapp to give his fevered imagination free rein; much of it is godawful self-indulgent and overwritten, some of it is moderately interesting, and a small portion is actually quite fascinating...But however much Adam Rapp’s ‘Wolf’ huffs and puffs, it serves as a marvelous springboard for several exceptional performances, most especially that of Kate Thulin, who makes her every unrealistic moment thrillingly real."
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Times Square Chronicles
March 21st, 2016

"The actors are, for the most part, the resident company called The Bats. They are in high form with Rapp’s work, brave, daring and utterly terrifying. There is a intensity that makes you wonder if this show will turn real and bring you into its midst...Rapp, who also directs, keeps this production alarmingly honest. Despite what is good about this play, the play in a strange way goes nowhere and we never really get to know these characters."
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Theater In The Now
March 22nd, 2016

"From the start, there is an instant element of discomfort...'Wolf in the River' is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. It will catch your breath and keep you on edge...There were troublesome components to the text but when you’re thrust in a space such as this, the elements will get the better of you and sway the experience into something extraordinary. It’s when you have more time to think about the play that you’ll really start to question 'Wolf in the River.' For good and for bad."
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March 22nd, 2016

"Magnificently acted, beautifully written, and claustrophobically staged in the round, with a pile of dirt in the center and the cast running and slinking in circles behind the audience, it’s a jolt of dark energy...It grabs spectators in an exceptionally visceral and creepy way, without messy performance-art tricks...Rapp’s text and direction draw out the best from the talented cast...I wasn’t sure what was real and what was fantasy or dream. Yet the story held me from start to finish."
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March 22nd, 2016

"'Wolf in the River' teeters between fantastic and overwrought...For those who like their theater to challenge them with ideas and images as much as story...'Wolf in the River' has a few problems inherent in the play. The portrayal of these people may be meant as impressionistic, but it borders on vicious stereotyping of them as dumb-ass Southern hicks...The staging has the audience in the mist of the actors, which is mesmerizing."
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April 14th, 2016

"Always provocative, often poetic, playwright-director Adam Rapp blends the mythic with the mundane in this potent exploration of the tribulations of coming of age in the wild backwaters of rural America...'Wolf in the River' offers an entrancingly primal approach to theatrical storytelling...There are times when Rapp’s dithyrambic dialogue seems be trying too hard...The Bats leap into their roles with their customary zeal, clearly trusting Rapp’s vision."
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Off Off Online
April 7th, 2016

"Rapp and the cast make bold choices and commit to them, but the challenge is having these choices payoff. The vulgarity in some of the scenes can create distance for theatergoers...At the same time there is so much depth to these characters that each of them could have their own play written about them...The violence, nudity and sexual situations do effectively show the characters’ vulnerability, desperation and fears–even when theatergoers have already seen enough."
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NY Theatre Guide
March 21st, 2016

"Even at the end of the 105 minutes worth of love, loud noises and a twerking sequence with a blown up Miley Cyrus doll, the purpose of the production remains unknown... Rapp’s 'Wolf in the River' is almost like an aged old wine; it is an acquired taste...The play makes you feel an abundance of emotions, ranging from pity for delicate Tana, to terror in the presence of the wolves. But it, somehow, is unable to give you closure or help you unravel meaning and purpose."
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