NY POST: "Deliverance proves the power of ingenious stagecraft."
THE NEW YORKER:
"Starting with a premise that sounds almost impossible to capture convincingly onstage—this production, directed by Joe Tantalo, compounds the challenge by allowing virtually no set or props. It succeeds with astonishing virtuosity, evoking every twist in the river and the plot as surely as if it were being performed on location…This is fundamentally a nightmare thriller, as taut and suggestive as a Daphne du Maurier short story."
NEW YORK TIMES:
"Godlight Theater Company, a troupe committed to bringing books to the stage, has given James Dickey’s 1970 novel, “Deliverance,” the theatrical treatment. Performed by seven actors on an intimate stage just 12 feet by 12 feet, it’s the kind of backwoods saga that will make you lavishly thankful for the comforts of concrete and taxis and takeout Chinese...Joe Tantalo directs it tautly."
"It’s actually amazing how much pulse-quickening suspense ingenious director Joe Tantalo and his excellent cast create...‘Deliverance’ proves the power of ingenious stagecraft...But, as a lesson in the power of evocation — and in entrusting your audience to fill in the blanks — this “Deliverance” holds water."
NY DAILY NEWS:
"In 'James Dickey’s Deliverance,' presented by Godlight Theatre Company, four Southern men go on a canoe trip, which turns terrifying when they become prey for locals...It’s an intense 90-minute show."
"James Dickey's Deliverance, the latest foray into the unstageable-turned-credible for the award-winning Godlight Theatre Company, proves to further this Off Broadway troupe's knack for challenging the boundaries of adaptation...Director Joe Tantalo and his superb crew of technicians, whose lighting and sound ingenuity is a show unto itself, keep Deliverance from ever threatening to capsize."
"Forget 'Dueling Banjos' and 'Squeal like a pig', Godlight Theatre Company’s new stage adaptation of Deliverance stays extremely faithful to the sparse, brutal poetry of James Dickey’s original novel, allowing us to forget the iconic film adaptation…While much of the nail-biting action in Dickey’s novel takes place on the river itself, director Joe Tantalo’s production miraculously achieves the same tension using only a bare stage with suggestive light and sound cues. The acting is remarkable, particularly Nick Paglino as the narrator Ed, a man pushed to limits of survivalist humanity he had previously thought impossible...By using only the dialogue and narration found in the novel itself, the show succeeds in fully recreating Dickey’s haunting journey to the heart of darkness, within man and without."
TIME OUT NY:
"In Godlight's Deliverance, the wilderness is on the inside...leaving grandiose set pieces and horrific acts to the imagination. With the audience on all sides surrounded by shiny black walls that throw back a dark reflection, seven actors enact Dickey's canoe trip into the heart of darkness."
"A smart, insightful production at 59E59 Theaters by channeling the book's vast natural backdrop and big themes onto a small stage and focusing on the interior journeys of its characters...It's an apt reminder of one of the themes that this creative production is driving at. By the end, we feel as though we've been on a strange trip, not through the vast wilderness but into a man's heart of darkness — and perhaps our own."
"Joe Tantalo has vibrantly directed playwright Sean Tyler’s excellently constructed, concise script. It’s a brisk 90-minute, small-scale spectacle that employs an assortment of theatrical devices to powerful effect...This outstanding cast of seven is all perfectly in synch with each other and are a true ensemble of the highest caliber...The highly successful artistic collaboration of all the creative talents involved makes this Deliverance a boldly striking work of uniquely theatrical storytelling."
THEATRE REVIEWS LTD:
"Under Joe Tantalo’s direction, the ensemble cast in essence does precisely what good readers do and provides the audience with an authentic “read” of Mr. Dickey’s challenging novel. And this is not an easy read."
"Adapted to the stage for Godlight Theatre Company by Sean Tyler, this barebones “Deliverance” does not skimp on thriller hair-raising moments as the fine ensemble of seven actors bring the story to life in the small Theater C at 59e59 Theaters...a terrifying 90 minutes...director Joe Tantalo cleverly and poetically winds and weaves these seven men through the mist and darkness of Deliverance."
"This unique production holds the audience captive with tension and challenge for 90 minutes...Because the realism of Deliverance cannot be duplicated on a small stage, Sean Tyler's translation based on James Dickey's novel depends on audience imagination. It's success owes much credit to production values, a skilled cast and the masterly direction of Joe Tantalo...It is worth seeing."
NY THEATRE NOW:
"Director Joe Tantalo and a seven actor ensemble make it gripping and often truly shocking...the piece is intensely suspenseful, sometimes crazily tense."
LIGHTING AND SOUND AMERICA:
"Do not underestimate the talents of director Joe Tantalo and his colleagues at Godlight Theatre Company. The company specializes in adapting prose works to the stage and all involved have found a plausible and highly imaginative way of stylizing Dickey's narrative. They prove that you don't need to spill a drop of stage blood to spread terror in the theatre….Paglino's performance generates an intensity that by itself is enough to keep our attention riveted…Tyler's language is lean and taut as a tripwire; this is an exceptionally fine adaptation...this is a killer of a tale, offering 90 minutes of high anxiety."
THIS WEEK IN NEW YORK:
"Expect to be chilled to the bone by this ever-insightful examination of what lurks in the pit of men’s soul...All of the actors are excellent...At times you’ll think you are actually seeing the woods, the river, a deer, but it’s just your mind getting caught up in this thrilling, unique theatrical experience."
FORBES ON FILM AND FOOTLIGHTS:
"The Godlight Theatre Company has mounted a most ingenious adaptation by Sean Tyler...this 90-minute, intermissionless dramatization packs a good deal of atmosphere, suspense, and excitement, as tautly paced by director Joe Tantalo...Such is the power of theater and good storytelling."
BROADWAY AND ME:
"The narrative's tension, thanks to the taut direction of Godlight’s artistic director Joe Tantalo and the moody sound and lighting of his design team, is there too. I knew how the story was going to work out and yet there were moments when I was on the edge of my seat."
THE EPOCH TIMES:
"A brilliantly harrowing stage adaptation...Godlight Theatre Company’s adaptation of Deliverance grabs the audience by the throat and never lets go till after the final curtain."
"James Dickey’s Deliverance, Godlight Theater Company’s world premier theatrical adaptation of Dickey's 1970 novel, Deliverance, is a theatrical tour de force that will grab you from the moment you step into the theater and keep you in its grip well past the final bow. It is a brave, cohesive and adventurous piece of theatre, the likes rarely seen in New York, and one not to be missed…The expertise brought to the stage by every member of the company is all that this astonishing and disturbing production requires to suspend disbelief and take viewers on the journey of a lifetime."
THE BROADWAY BLOG:
"A sharply theatrical, gut-punching, stripped-down rendition that will keep you nailed to your seat during its speedy 80 minutes."