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

Rapper affiliate of Wu-Tang Clan 'cuts off own…

Rapper Andre Johnson, who has performed with New York outfit the Wu-Tang Clan, is in a critical condition after reportedly cutting off his own penis…

National

Cleavage complaint: Disneyland staffer orders curvy mom to…

A curvy mom-of-three says she filed a formal complaint after staff at Disneyland Resort in California ordered her to cover up her boobs. Melissa Behnken,…

Local

Supporters say man accused of robbery was misidentified

A Liberian immigrant couple charged with extorting money from an elderly woman in March will be in court Thursday for a bail hearing, but supporters say it's a case of…

International

Canadian charged in 'Heartbleed' attack on tax agency

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police have arrested a 19-year-old man and charged him in connection with exploiting the "Heartbleed" bug to steal taxpayer data from…

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 8

Sure, it's called Survivor. But this season should really be called 'The Tony Show.'

Television

Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.

Television

'Dexter' star Jennifer Carpenter moves into producing role

The actress who played the title character's sister in "Dexter" is teaming up with producer George Stelzner to adapt Erika Hayasaki's book "The Death Class:…

The Word

Wahlburgers announce North America domination

Tuesday was a huge day for Donnie Wahlberg.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

NHL

Flyers, Rangers meet in playoffs for 11th time

The Flyers and Rangers will start a new chapter in a historic rivalry.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers…

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers and Braves right behind

NHL

Top 5 Philadelphia storylines for Flyers-Rangers

The slate is clean for the Flyers and the Rangers. Which is good news for the Flyers.

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: chocolate may prevent obesity…

Can chocolate prevent obesity and diabetes? Location of study: U.S. Study subjects: Mice Results: The positive health benefits of chocolate have been studied increasingly more…

Wellbeing

This Week in Health News: breastfed infants trying…

Are breastfed infants trying to prevent mom from having another baby? Theory: The act of breastfeeding not only brings mom and baby closer together –…

Wellbeing

Unexplained infertility may be caused by lack of…

Researchers have identified a protein on the egg's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of sperm, allowing the two cells to join.

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.