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Review: ‘Patriots,’ starring Michael Stuhlbarg, is a new Broadway show on Vladimir Putin and ’90s Russia

“Patriots,” starring Michael Stuhlbarg, is a new play that premiered on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in New York.

Michael Stuhlbarg in 'Patriots'
Michael Stuhlbarg in 'Patriots.' Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy.
Michael Stuhlbarg in 'Patriots.' Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy.

“Patriots,” starring Michael Stuhlbarg, is a new play that premiered on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in New York.

It was written by Peter Morgan, who is known for writing such screenplays as “Frost/Nixon,” “The Queen” (starring Helen Mirren), “The Last King of Scotland” (starring Forrest Whitaker), and the series “The Crown.”

“Patriots” was expertly directed by Rupert Goold, and it stars Michael Stuhlbarg as the egocentric billionaire Boris Berezovsky, who was the kingmaker behind Vladimir Putin’s rise to power. This marks Stuhlbarg’s return to the Broadway stage for the first time in nearly two decades.

Will Keen and Michael Stuhlbarg in 'Patriots'
Will Keen and Michael Stuhlbarg in ‘Patriots.’ Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy.

Stuhlbarg delivers a commanding and chilling performance as Boris Berozovsky and he works well opposite Will Keen, who portrays Vladimir Putin in a more different yet subtle fashion, yet it works.

Luke Thallon is noteworthy in the role of Roman Abromavich, while Emmy nominee Alex Hurt (“The Rehearsal”) is a revelation as Alexander Litvinenko, the former officer in Russia’s FSB spy agency who tragically died.

Alex Hurt in 'Patriots'
Alex Hurt in ‘Patriots.’ Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy.

Even for a Peter Morgan play, the screenplay is not perfect, especially since it gets preachy in a few instances, but the actors do a decent job with the material that they have.

Several of the supporting characters are unnecessary in this production, as they stick out like sore thumbs. It does, however, shed light on a few historical facts for people that may be unfamiliar with Putin’s life and how he became the president of Russia.

The Verdict

Overall, Michael Stuhlbarg is Tony-worthy as Boris Berezovsky as he captures his conscience in a truly cerebral performance that is equal in excellence to Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour.” It will put the audience in a time warp to 1990’s Russia, and it will offer a substantial deal of political intrigue.

“Patriots” is a compelling play, and it garners four out of five stars.

To learn more about “Patriots” on Broadway, check out its official homepage.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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