Review Roundup: THE HUNT Opens at St. Ann's Warehouse

Performances run through March 24.

By: Feb. 26, 2024
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Review Roundup: THE HUNT Opens at St. Ann's Warehouse
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Performances are now under way for the U.S. premiere of The Hunt at St. Ann’s Warehouse. The production officially opened last night, February 25 and performances run through March 24.

Adapted by David Farr and directed by Almeida Artistic Director Rupert Goold, The Hunt features Tobias Menzies, making a U.S. theater debut.

The Hunt, based on Thomas Vinterberg and Tobias Lindholm’s 2012 Academy Award-nominated film Jagten, previously ran in London at the Almeida Theatre in 2019. Starring Michele AustinDanny KirraneTobias Menzies and Howard Ward, the London production received positive reviews.

The critics are weighing in on what they thought of the New York production, with reviews coming in from The New York Times, Vulture, and more. Read the reviews for The Hunt below!

Review Roundup: THE HUNT Opens at St. Ann's Warehouse Elizabeth Vincentelli, The New York Times: Lucas's transition from hunter to hunted is among the shifting perspectives visualized by the ingenious set devised by Es Devlin (currently the subject of a retrospective exhibition at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum). The stage is dominated by what looks like an avant-garde Nordic tiny home placed on a rotating turntable, with walls that switch, as if by magic, from transparent to opaque and back. Intimate conversations take place in the house, but Goold can also cram a whole bunch of people in it, like the members of the lodge or the faithful at the midnight Mass. This structure is both public and private; it protects secrets and reveals them; it can offer shelter and harbor violence. It is the production’s single most fascinating element, and it is used devilishly well in conjunction with Neil Austin’s lighting and Adam Cork’s sound design and composition.

Review Roundup: THE HUNT Opens at St. Ann's Warehouse Elysa Gardner, The New York Sun: The little girl, who will emerge as a significant character, was played at a recent preview by the extraordinary child actress Aerina DeBoer (Kay Winard alternates in the role), who never lets us forget how the lies of the very young, particularly the more fanciful and confused, can differ from those told by their elders. Other standouts amid an excellent cast include Raphael Casey, touching as Lucas’s fiercely loyal teenage son; Alex Hassell, at once raw and nuanced as Lucas’s conflicted best friend; and MyAnna Buring, witty and haunting as the friend’s wife, for whom the play’s twists have deep personal relevance.

Review Roundup: THE HUNT Opens at St. Ann's Warehouse Sara Holdren, Vulture: Would that Farr and Goold’s work gave us as much to consider as Devlin’s, but beyond the rich evocations of its set, The Hunt is a frustrating affair. It aims for thrillerish tension, but in its attempt to sound the direful minor chords of parable, Farr’s script forces its characters into behavior that feels at best underexamined and at worst absurd. Will they make the worst possible decisions, the most drastic leaps to conclusion, the most violent threats, and the least reasonable assumptions in every situation? You bet they will. Will our beleaguered protagonist fail to defend himself almost every time he gets the opportunity? The man can barely get a sentence out. Will the play indulge in some classically manipulative moves from the Tropes for High-Tension Dramas About Communal Persecution of an Innocent Man playbook? Well, there is a real dog onstage, and yes, it belongs to our hero, and no, you shouldn’t get attached to it.

Review Roundup: THE HUNT Opens at St. Ann's Warehouse Allison Considine, New York Theatre Guide: In addition to a winning cast, The Hunt has a best-in-class production design. Es Devlin's set showcases a structure made of smart glass, which frosts instantaneously to allow actors to magically appear and disappear from scenes. (It’s made all the more incredible with a trapdoor beneath the stage.) The glass transforms into the classroom, the hunting lodge, and even the town’s church. As the play moves forward, it fills with more and more townspeople, with Lucas circling the outside on a spinning stage.

Review Roundup: THE HUNT Opens at St. Ann's Warehouse Steven Suskin, New York Stage Review: Menzies, standing uncertainly in the ambiguous middle, gives a masterful performance as Lucas. The actor seems somewhat older than he did back in 2019 at the Almeida; but then, most of us seem somewhat older after those upheavals of 2020-2022. There is an additional element of celebrity: Menzies has in the interim become internationally known, courtesy of his Emmy-winning turn as Prince Philip in two seasons of The Crown.

Review Roundup: THE HUNT Opens at St. Ann's Warehouse Jonathan Mandell, New York Theatre: Director Rupert Goold, the artistic director of London’s Almeida Theater, where David Farr’s adaptation debuted in 2019, has turned the story into an exercise in inventive staging. In an early scene, members of Lucas’ hunting lodge sing raucous drinking songs and perform what feels like a savage ritual (in the film, they just swam naked in the local lake); later, in an apparent nod to the main community activity of deer-hunting, we see Minotaur-like figures. Es Devlin, the Tony-winning scenic designer for “The Lehman Trilogy,” has created another transparent cube for “The Hunt” – a small one in the middle of the stage that serves as the classroom, the local hunting lodge, the local church with the characters crowded inside, as if to emphasize the (claustrophobic?) closeness of the community. Characters magically appear and disappear in the cube – and not just human ones.

Review Roundup: THE HUNT Opens at St. Ann's Warehouse Juan A. Ramirez, Theatrely: Es Devlin’s set, while minimalist and beautiful, also never reaches a satisfying use. The glass tiny-house at its center spins, fogs up, reveals and conceals different characters, but to no fulfilling end. By the nth time a character within the house knocks to be let into the scene, you begin to wonder on what logic these overused axes spin.

Review Roundup: THE HUNT Opens at St. Ann's Warehouse Adam Feldman, Time Out New York: Farr’s adaptation sidesteps potential evocations of cancel culture, sometimes a bit awkwardly, to allow space for a sharp but tender drama as the story’s focus shifts to Lucas’s sweet dynamic with his son, Marcus (Raphael Casey), who accepts his father’s innocence without question. Yet somehow, even after all we’ve seen with our own eyes, there is a looming discomfort in their father-son intimacy. It might be our own paranoia seeping through, but Goold lets the question linger: Can we ever really be sure?

Review Roundup: THE HUNT Opens at St. Ann's Warehouse
Average Rating: 76.3%

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