Review Roundup: What Did Critics Think of MOSCOW MOSCOW MOSCOW MOSCOW MOSCOW MOSCOW?
MCC's New York Premiere production of Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow celebrated opening night on July 18th. Previously scheduled for a limited run through August 3, the production will now play through Saturday, August 17
The cast of features Lucille Lortel Award nominee Ako (God Said This), Tony Award nominee Steven Boyer(MCC's Hand to God), Tavi Gevinson (This Is Our Youth), Sas Goldberg (Significant Other), Drama Desk Award winner Rebecca Henderson("Russian Doll"), Lucille LortelAward nominee Greg Hildreth (Frozen), Matthew Jeffers (Light Shining in Buckinghamshire), Gene Jones, Alfredo Narciso ("Manifest"), Theatre World Award winner Chris Perfetti (Sons of the Prophet), Ryan Spahn (Summer and Smoke), and Ray Anthony Thomas(Jitney).
The creative team for includes scenic design by Mark Wendland, costume design by Paloma Young, lighting design by Ben Stanton, sound design by Darron L West, and casting by Telsey + Company/Adam Caldwell, CSA, Will Cantler, CSA, Karyn Casl, CSA. The Production Stage Manager is Lori Ann Zepp.
The struggle is real for Olga, Masha and Irina: siblings who are NOT super thrilled to be stuck in rural Russia circa 1900 (laaame). In Halley Feiffer's contemporary reimagining of Chekhov's Three Sisters, we follow the joys and heartbreaks of one lovably dysfunctional family over the course of several pivotal years in a world that proves to be eerily similar to the one we live in today. Directed by Trip Cullman, this new comedy tackles the absurdity of the privileged class and the power of love in a fresh twist on a classic tale that reveals itself to be far more relevant than, like, ever before.
Let's see what the critics had to say...
Jesse Green, The New York Times: The absurdity and sarcasm quickly pall; Ms. Feiffer evidently wants the audience to experience the household's emotional depletion firsthand. (She says she sextupled the title for maximum annoyance.) Seated on two sides of a narrow platform cluttered with detritus from various decades between 1900 and now, theatergoers can't help but feel they are trapped along with the Prozorovs in an eternal (or at least a 95-minute) headache.
Sara Holdren, Vulture: The results of strapping Three Sisters down for this particular makeover are varied. On the one hand, the incessant blasé cattiness of Feiffer's diction grinds on the ear and the soul, irrevocably shrinking the original play's world and its concerns. It's not meant to be, but Moscow Moscow often feels heartless. On the other hand, especially for its supporting characters, Feiffer's play ultimately becomes a kind of productive acting exercise. It gives its cast the freedom to be sloppy, to shake off restrictive tropes-presumptions about period, decorum, or status-and instead to bite straight into these juicy parts and draw fresh blood.
Marilyn Stasio, Variety: What makes this production so engrossing is that it seems to exist on two separate levels of reality - the stultifying reality of bourgeois life for women in turn-of-the-last-century Russia and the not-entirely-liberated lives of women in the present day. Without relinquishing its wonderful sense of gaiety, the show seems haunted by the future lives of its vital but vulnerable characters, and at the very end of the show we're allowed a glimpse of the emptiness in the days and nights to come.
Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter: But once you see what Feiffer is going for, and you will very early on, the humor quickly starts to feel forced and repetitious. Moscow calms down a bit in the second act, channeling more of the poignancy of its inspiration, but by then it's hard to feel emotionally invested in the turmoil of characters who have become little more than caricatures.
Robert Hofler, The Wrap: Feiffer cuts down what is typically a three-hour play to a breathtaking 95 minutes, which, right there, only pushes the collective Russian ennui into the Urals of the ridiculous. Add in expensive sneakers, celeb t-shirts, lots of F-bombs, cross-dressing (the male actor Chris Perfetti plays the tortured diva Masha), plenty of Internet jargon and even a whoopee cushion. In addition, the actors occasionally break into a chorus to laugh, "Ha! Ha! Ha!" and repeatedly call each other out whenever one provides too much exposition in the style of the Russian master himself.
Melissa Rose Bernardo, New York Stage Review: Though Chekhov's play is titled Three Sisters, rarely, if ever, do the title characters emerge as true stars of any production. All the action ostensibly centers on the trio-it does take place in their house, after all-but there are twice as many husbands, love interests, and would-be-suitors in Olga, Masha, and Irina's orbit. It always somehow feels like an ensemble play. Not so with Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow, Halley Feiffer's crafty, contemporary-ish take on the Chekhov classic at MCC Theater.
Jesse Oxfeld, New York Stage Review: The entire cast is delightful, and has a blast with the funny and prolific Feiffer's outrageous script: They're all recognizable young actors, having digging into their overdrawn parts but nevertheless embodying their characters' traditional sadness and frustration. Trip Cullman's direction keeps them in frothy state of barely contained chaos. (The center, of course, will not hold.)
Photo Credit: Joan Marcus