Tales from Red Vienna OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

  • NY TIMES

  • VARIETY

  • DAILY NEWS

  • VULTURE

  • TM

Opening Night:
March 18, 2014
Closing:
April 27, 2014

Theater: MTC / 131 West 55th Street, New York, NY, 10019

Synopsis: 

Heléna lost her husband in World War I, and with him, her financial security. Struggling to maintain her way of life, she becomes part of an illicit underworld. Heléna manages to separate her secret life from her public persona – that is until she crosses paths with a man who has the power to expose and ruin her.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Tales from Red Vienna

    Noble Widow Needs Cash. Nina Arianda Stars in ‘Tales From Red Vienna’

    Ben Brantley

    March 19, 2014: Though it is packed with fashionably dressed sentences and high-calorie bons mots, David Grimm’s Tales From Red Vienna achieves its greatest eloquence in an opening scene in which scarcely a word is spoken. There are only a few strangled monosyllables, like “please,” “no” and “so.” But the silence that enfolds those sounds is so dense with desire and disgust that only a few moments into this play, which opened on Tuesday night at City Center Stage 1, starring the Broadway It actress Nina Arianda, you feel that tantalizing hope induced by first chapters of novels that you just know are going to hook you but good. Sadly, the hook slips loose shortly thereafter, when the real dialogue starts up. But in the spirit of 1920 Vienna, where the play is set, and when Weltschmerz was the mood du jour, let me linger on that melancholy prologue and recall a time when we still had hope that what lay before us would be deliciously dark and enigmatic.

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  • VARIETY REVIEW OF Tales from Red Vienna

    Off Broadway Review: ‘Tales from Red Vienna’

    Marilyn Stasio

    March 18, 2014: Nina Arianda certainly knows how to make an entrance. For her Tony Award-winning role in Venus in Furs — her last appearance on the New York boards — she blew onstage in a gust of comic energy. In Tales from Red Vienna, David Grimm’s drama about crumbling social norms in post-WWI Vienna, she bursts in like a hunted animal. Shrouded in widow’s weeds, the dynamic thesp collapses in an attitude of abject despair that she holds for a very long stage minute in this production from Manhattan Theater Club. It’s an arresting tableau for a play that begins in breathless silence, but ends with such a groan that not even Arianda can make a graceful exit.

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  • NEW YORK DAILY NEWS REVIEW OF Tales from Red Vienna

    ‘Tales from Red Vienna,’ theater review

    Joe Dziemianowicz

    March 18, 2014: For a play about survival, David Grimm’s Tales From Red Vienna, barely registers a pulse. Credit a snoozy script — three acts’ worth, no less — and a star who’s out of her comfort zone. In post-World War I Austria, Helena Altman (Nina Arianda) resorts to the oldest profession to support herself after her husband’s battlefield death. Her secret life and daily life collide when rich frenemy “Mutzi” Von Fessendorf (Tina Benko) introduces her to Bela Hoyos (Michael Esper), a Hungarian socialist/journalist. But the two have already met — Bela’s been a customer.

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  • VULTURE REVIEW OF Tales from Red Vienna

    Theater Review: A Grim Tales From Red Vienna

    Jesse Green

    March 18, 2014: A man enters a woman’s apartment and, after leaving a few bills on a tray, enters her. That the scene takes place behind a lace curtain drawn decorously across the front of a dim stage does not render it any less clear. Nor does the curtain of time obscure much. (The number of buttons on the woman’s garments tells us we’re in a bygone era.) Coital grunts and pantings are, presumably, a constant throughout history, if human nature is itself constant. But is it? Is human nature even a constant in any one life?

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  • THEATERMANIA REVIEW OF Tales from Red Vienna

    Tales From Red Vienna

    Zachary Stewart

    March 18, 2014: If you're in the mood for an old-fashioned drama dripping with period costumes and subtext, look no further than David Grimm's Tales From Red Vienna, now making its world premiere in a production by Manhattan Theatre Club at New York City Center Stage I. While the setting takes us back 100 years, the hazy dance of love and infatuation it presents is timeless. Like that of the classic musical Cabaret, the backdrop of Tales From Red Vienna is intimately tied to the events of the story, highlighting the short-lived oasis of liberality that characterized urban life in the interwar period. It's Vienna, 1920. The Kaiser lives in exile following Austria-Hungary's defeat in World War I. Democracy reigns in Austria for the first time. The capital of the once-grand empire is now firmly under the political control of the social democrats (or "Reds"), much to the chagrin of wealthy aristocrats like "Mutzi" von Fessendorf (Tina Benko) who have been stripped of their nobility at the behest of the socialists and their political allies.

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