Theater review: No need to revise ‘The Revisionist’

Vanessa Redgrave, left, stars alongside Jesse Eisenberg in "The Revisionist," now playing through April 21. Credit: Joan Marcus
Vanessa Redgrave, left, stars alongside Jesse Eisenberg in “The Revisionist,” now playing through April 21.
Credit: Joan Marcus

Scrawny and self-centered, David (Jesse Eisenberg, who’s also the playwright) arrives at the cramped flat of his elderly second cousin Maria (Vanessa Redgrave) in Szczecin, Poland, with a chip on his shoulder and a yen for a quick hit of weed. He tokes away with door closed and window open in Eisenberg’s beautifully crafted “The Revisionist” at the Cherry Lane. David traveled to Poland to end his writer’s block, believing, or at least hoping, that a less comfortable landscape would set his creative juices free.

But we soon see he is almost as indifferent to the hard work of writing as he is to his cousin’s feelings. In contrast, Maria seems uncomplicated. With no family in Poland, she’s thrilled with her houseguest — but not afraid to put him in his place when appropriate.

One night David breaks out the vodka and convinces Maria, who never drinks, to join him. We learn that David is not the only one with secrets. But some things are best left unsaid — at least that’s what Maria thinks, come the morning after.
“The Revisionist” draws its considerable emotional clout from its characters’ ability to rewrite their own histories. Skillfully played by both leads, they deceive themselves as much as they deceive each other. We take David’s self-involvement and Maria’s blend of strength and vulnerability at face value, but there’s more there than meets the eye. Maria’s implacable survival instincts surprise us with their intensity — even as they leave her lonely and proud.

If you go

‘The Revisionist’
Through April 21
Cherry Lane Theatre,
38 Commerce St.
$85, www.therevisionistplay.com



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…

International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…