We round up the latest reviews for this new production directed by Simon Evans.
The Upcoming: ★★★★ “Much of the production’s force stems from the strong acting. Both Stephens and Skinner are funny, miserable and believable; they are particularly human, and one can hardly help sympathising with both of them given the circumstances, even when some of their choices later in the play seem questionable.”
The Guardian: ★★★★ “While Nichols’ play may have lost its initial shock value, this revival shows it still possesses a rare truth and humanity.”
The Telegraph: ★★★★ “Peter Nichols died two weeks before this latest revival of his 1967 loosely autobiographical, taboo-busting classic, about a married couple struggling to cope with their severely disabled daughter, started previewing. We’ll never know if he harboured doubts over how the play might fare in today’s climate.”
The Stage: ★★★ “Though things pick up in the second half, the production never comes close to replicating the rawness and daring – the shit and the spit – of the play itself.”
London Box Office.co.uk: ★★★★ “Aside from a few dialogue blips and overlaps, the actors had largely found a fluid rhythm and cadence by opening night and the play’s biting wit and twanging of heartstrings – particularly in the second half – ensured it jogged along at a decent lick, never once becoming maudlin or unwatchable.”
British Theatre.com: ★★★ “As a technical exercise in demonstrating Nichols’ perfect mastery of the form, there is nothing much to say against this; but as a drama that speaks from the heart to the heart it is, in my view, in need of a bit more openness and frankness.”
Evening Standard: ★★★★ “Stephens shows us the fear beneath Bri’s showy bravado and is lacerating in the final scenes. Skinner shines, making a saintly character magnetic and witty; her description of a minor improvement in Joe is like watching dawn break. Peter McKintosh’s designs are full of Sixties detail, including a wheelchair-unfriendly hallway. Nichols died last month aged 92. I can’t think of a more fitting tribute than Evans’s production.”
The Times: ★★★ “Although Simon Evans stages this revival with characteristic verve, it can’t entirely escape the sense of being a period piece. It’s a victim, in part, of the very stretching of the boundaries of what theatre can do and say that it contributed to.”
The Spy in the Stalls: ★★ “This production of Joe Egg is one that refuses to truly grapple with the depths of the text, failing to deliver or connect as a result, and misses the opportunity to do justice to some of the first steps Nichols took over fifty years ago in the representation of disability in the arts, and the doors his work has since opened.”
The Metro: ★★★★ “Bravest of all is Nichols’ creation of a play that is brimful of humanity, but without an ounce of sentimentality.”
British Theatre Guide: “Simon Evans’ revival is not for the fainthearted but presents a welcome reminder that even in the mid-1960s when the British stage was still constrained by the censor’s whim, playwrights could write timeless dramas that still speak volumes all these years later.”
Mature Times: “Nichols’s treatment may shock initially. But what makes it work is his uncompromising honesty and his light touch. The characters regularly step out of the play to address the audience directly.”
A Day in the Death of Joe Egg continues to play at the Trafalgar Studios.