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Review Roundup: THIS BEAUTIFUL FUTURE at Cherry Lane Theatre

Review Roundup: THIS BEAUTIFUL FUTURE at Cherry Lane Theatre

This Beautiful Future runs through October 30, 2022.

Written by Rita Kalnejais and directed by Jack Serio, This Beautiful Future is a story of young love set during World War II. This Beautiful Future will now play Cherry Lane Theatre (38 Commerce Street, Manhattan) for six weeks only, through October 30, 2022.

The Off-Broadway transfer of This Beautiful Future features original cast members Francesca Carpanini (All My Sons, The Little Foxes), Angelina Fiordellisi (Zorba, Out of The Mouth of Babes), and Tony nominee Austin Pendleton (The Minutes, Fiddler on the Roof) who are joined by Uly Schlesinger (HBO Max's Genera+ion) in his New York stage debut.

Caught in the middle of a war, two teenagers take shelter from a divided world. Elodie is French and 17. Otto, a German soldier, is 16. Safe from the debris outside, they meet secretly for one night. They talk, tease, and touch. They fall in love and fall through time. Kalnejais' kaleidoscopic play is a story of uncomplicated first love in a very complicated world. It seeks out tenderness amidst tragedy, and hope in the hopeless.

Let's see what the critics had to say...


Robert Hofler, The Wrap: How well does karaoke go with a World War II love story about a Nazi who is smitten with a young French woman in Chartres, Frances, in the year 1944? It's a probably a question you've never asked, but playwright Rita Kalnejais answers it in her new play, "This Beautiful Future," which opened Tuesday at Off Broadway's Cherry Lane Theatre. To call it the proverbial oil-and-water mix doesn't begin to describe this onstage mismatch.

Joe Dziemianowicz, New York Theatre Guide: This Beautiful Future is a peculiar yet quietly compelling portrait of two teenagers, a French girl and a German soldier, chasing a connection - and a roll in the hay - amid wartime. Over its compact 75 minutes, the play by Rita Kalnejais, an Australian writer based in London, lands with a modest impact as it pulls off a sly feat. It feels both very familiar (young love among the ruins) and disarmingly fresh (credit the unusual framework).

Juan A. Ramirez, Theatrely: You walk into Frank J. Oliva's sleek, brutalist set, drenched in Stacey Derosier's sumptuous bisexual lighting at the intimate Cherry Lane Theatre, and feel very much in 2022. The two-tone illumination has been everywhere lately, perhaps most conspicuously in Levinson's smash-hit Euphoria. It's reminiscent of a bunker, or perhaps an observation room, with its glass pane on the back wall allowing two actors to look on throughout. Raised above the audience-some unlucky first row visitors had to stand up a few times-there's a single mattress on the floor, a bowl in the corner and, you would believe, endless possibilities. But just as Levinson's series uses sexy neon to brighten up a storm of sensory overloading nonsense, so does director Jack Serio's production of playwright Rita Kalnejais' This Beautiful Future employ it to hide the fact she is saying very, very little.

Lane Williamson, Exeunt: In a city filled with theatre everywhere you look, sometimes it's behind a barely-marked door on 36th Street and 9th Avenue, up an elevator, and down a narrow hall where you and forty-odd people will experience something challenging and unforgettable. As I made the reverse journey back to the street, I was struck by how much I felt This Beautiful Future in all its complicated wonder. In the best possible sense, Kalnejais' play raises many questions and Serio's production raises even more. I'm going to keep thinking about it. If you see it, I bet you will, too.

Photo Credit: Emilio Madrid

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