REVIEW ROUND-UP: A Monster Calls at the Old Vic Theatre

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

Sally Cookson directs this production based on Patrick Ness’ story, which is now playing at the Old Vic Theatre. Here, Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews… 

The Guardian★★★★ “It is Cookson’s gift for creating a world out of simple props and actors’ bodies that gives the show its drive.”

LondonTheatreReviews.co.uk: ★★★ “The result is a child-oriented play that has all the emotional weight of an attractive video-clip. It’s nice enough to watch, but not really going places.”

The Times: ★★★★★ “This strange, soaring yet miraculously unsentimental adaptation of Patrick Ness’ book needs seeing. It is heartbreaking, spectacular, harsh, happy.”

Variety: “It’s a story about complexity that’s staged, in Sally Cookson’s Old Vic production, with the utmost simplicity.”

The Independent: ★★★★ “From the lithe fluency of the acrobatics to the truth and detail of the performances, this venture – an Old Vic production in association with Bristol Old Vic – does rich justice to the book and its deeply humane understanding that: “your mind will believe comforting lies while also knowing the painful truths that make those lies necessary. And your mind will punish you for believing both.” Magnificently phrased; magnificently dramatised.”

The Stage: ★★★★ “The power of the story being told is considerable – it’s a wondrous thing.”

The Telegraph: ★★★★ “Cookson can’t disguise the book’s tricky mix of hefty themes and slender-ish storyline, yet she draws you into the wonder and pathos of the boy’s bewilderment and grief across two fleet, fluid, spellbinding hours.”

Time Out: ★★★★ “Never doubt Cookson, who absolutely gets this story to where it needs to go. Bring hankies, and plenty of them.”

The FT: ★★★★ “This beautiful, heartbreaking show is a cathartic story not just for children but for anyone who has experienced the raw pain of loss.”

Evening Standard: ★★★★ “Sally Cookson is a playful and inventive director known for her all-encompassing use of an ensemble of performers, but here her favoured methods sometimes look shaky. There’s a lot of effort and detail, but for much of the time it’s too much: too much movement and certainly too much music from the onstage band, as barely a line is spoken without emphatic underscoring.”

Broadway World: ★★★★★ “From start to finish, A Monster Calls is a refined and beautifully told tale of horror, pain and recovery, full of exquisitely rendered tearjerking moments.”

The Upcoming: ★★★ “The lack of cohesive vision for what this adaption should feel like creating a disjointed, frustrating journey to an unavoidable, and unavoidably heart-breaking, ending.”

Theatre Cat: “It may do service to children in tragic circumstances and their friends, so good luck to it. It means very well. But it’s a heavy evening.”

Mature Times: “A Monster Calls, which moves to a heartbreaking finish, is perfect theatre for thoughtful, intelligent family audiences aged 10 plus.”

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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 LoveLDNLoveCul.
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Emma Clarendon on FacebookEmma Clarendon on InstagramEmma Clarendon on RssEmma 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 LoveLDNLoveCul.

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