REVIEW ROUND-UP: Labour of Love at the Noel Coward Theatre

In Features, London theatre, Native, Opinion, Plays, Reviews, Sticky, Ticket recommendations by Emma ClarendonLeave a Comment

Martin Freeman and Tamsin Greig star in James Graham’s latest political drama, Labour of Love. Directed by Headlong artistic director Jeremy Herrin, the play had its world premiere last week at the West End’s Noel Coward Theatre, where it’s booking until 2 December 2017. Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews…

Labour MP David Lyons (Martin Freeman) cares about modernisation and “electability”… His constituency agent Jean Whittaker (Tamsin Greig) cares about principles and her community. Set away from the Westminster bubble in the party’s traditional Northern heartlands, this is a clash of philosophy, culture and class against the backdrop of the Labour Party over 25 years as it moves from Kinnock through Blair into Corbyn… and beyond?

Time Out: ★★★★ “Terrific performances from Freeman and Greig.”

The Guardian: ★★★★ “Jeremy Herrin’s ebullient production, for the Michael Grandage Company and Headlong, makes rich use of film footage to record Labour’s fluctuating fortunes and is sparklingly acted.”

The Independent: ★★★★ “This is a confident, well-crafted evening. The acting is great, the structure is satisfying, both the rom and the com are a bit cheesy – but they work.”

Culture Whisper: ★★★★ “Among the most illuminating appraisals of contemporary politics you’ll see on stage.”

London Theatre.co.uk: ★★★★ “Playwright of the moment James Graham has pulled off a rare double coup.”

British Theatre.com: ★★★★★ “Beautifully researched, the play never preaches as the characters are so real and enjoyable.”

Broadway World.com: ★★★★ “The play tends to function best as a warmly comic two-hander, particularly when focussing in on the details of life in a constituency office.”

Evening Standard: ★★★★ “Like all Graham’s work, this is diligently researched and informative.”

West End Wilma: ★★★★★ “Love’s Labour is not lost in this play, and it’s worth seeing for this miracle alone: it’s managing to make politicians seem sympathetic.”

The Telegraph: ★★★★ “Not a landmark theatrical victory, at the final count, but valid and valiant all the same.”

British Theatre Guide: “For the second time in less than a month, James Graham, who is fast establishing himself as our most prolific and highest-rated playwright, has conquered the West End with highly intelligent but very entertaining play, graced by excellent performances from both Martin Freeman and Tamsin Greig.”

Pocketsize Theatre: ★★★★ “Whatever your politics, this is an accessible, enjoyable and educational evening of theatre with plenty of laughs and send you out into the real world with smile of pleasure and recognition but pondering what next for the Labour Party after their latest swing back to the left.”

Radio Times: ★★★★ “The performances, it has to be said, are excellent. Freeman is understated in an affable rumpled sort of way, but raises his passions with skill and judiciousness. Grieg is also an extremely engaging onstage presence and she delivers her many quips with the kind of aplomb and comic timing we have come to expect from this brilliant actress.”

The Stage: ★★★ “Labour of Love is ideal West End fodder: light, political and nostalgic. It’s not great comedy, but it’s a good play and perfectly performed.”

Emma Clarendon on Twitter
Emma Clarendon
Emma Clarendon studied drama through A-Level before deciding she was much better suited to writing about theatre than appearing onstage. She’s written for a number of online publications ever since, including The News Hub and Art Info. Emma set up her own blog, Love London Love Culture, in April 2015 and tweets at theatre_emma.
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Emma Clarendon on Twitter
Emma Clarendon
Emma Clarendon studied drama through A-Level before deciding she was much better suited to writing about theatre than appearing onstage. She’s written for a number of online publications ever since, including The News Hub and Art Info. Emma set up her own blog, Love London Love Culture, in April 2015 and tweets at theatre_emma.