REVIEW ROUND–UP: The Captive Queen at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

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

Filled with passion and politics, Barrie Rutter directs this new re-imagination of John Dryden’s Restoration drama at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse until 4 March. Here’s what critics have had to say about it…

The Guardian★★★ “But glad as I am to have caught this rare old piece, I longed to see the actors returning to their shop-floor jobs having escaped into the luxuriant role of Mughal potentates.”

WhatsOnStage:★★★ “The production’s Indian tang is a plus, not just in the casting but in the contributions of three musicians who render Niraj Chag’s insidiously beautiful incidental music as dramatic underscoring.”

The Independent:★★★ “There’s a puzzling lack of interaction here between the lives of the millworkers and characters they assume in the drama. This feels like a missed trick.”

The FT: ★★ “Sadly, despite much hard work and the evocative input of three onstage musicians, this remains a fairly unyielding piece.”

The Stage: ★★★ “The production feels bolder in conception than in execution but in its ambition, and diversity of cast and voice, it makes a potent swansong for Rutter.”

The Times: ★★ “In this overblown and verbose Restoration tragedy the acting ranges from flat to gleefully excessive and the tone is muddled.”

Exeunt Magazine: “Never quite capitalising on its strong ideas and compelling material, the production feels unfinished for all its strengths, a fitting but low-key swansong.”

Broadway World: ★★ “It’s an inauspicious end to Rutter’s 26-year tenure, and a disappointing dip in what has so far been a top quality winter season at Shakespeare’s Globe.”

The Telegraph: ★★★ “Boldly conceived production.”

The Upcoming:★★★ “The Captive Queen’s tale of pride, lust, despair and betrayal told in rhyming couplets might not be for everyone. But if high drama, excellent music, a diverse cast and an exotic twist sounds like your cup of tea, then this is a theatrical event that ought to be experienced.”

Time Out: ★★★ “This is a valuable opportunity to see an intriguing text, full of unexpected, undampened humour.”

British Theatre Guide: “I longed for them to speak to the meaning and not the metre of the poetry, but this production marches its voices to the sound of the rhyme.”

Theatre Bubble: ★★★★ “Overall, the production is nothing less than triumphant. Expertly balancing the meta-theatricality of the setting and the play, Rutter and his company have succeeded in a creation that is nothing but heart.”

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.