REVIEW ROUND-UP: Admissions at the West End’s Trafalgar Studios

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Find out what the critics made of Daniel Aukin’s production at the Trafalgar Studios.

London Theatre Direct: “I am impressed by the power of the storytelling, but it is an extraordinary play – probably the best I have seen both for acting and for the lingering messaging that prompted conversation after the play, and for the following couple of days.”

Londonist★★★★ “Couldn’t be funnier, really, and nor could Josh Harmon’s crackling script. Yes, it’s peppered with lengthy monologue diatribes and has the deliberate irony that all this racial discussion is conducted only by white characters — but it has all the richness and contrarian excellence of his previous work Bad Jews. Just needs a snip.”

British Theatre.com: ★★★★ “I enjoyed this play. I genuinely laughed at the writing and I feel it confronts some topical taboos. Focusing on liberal white identity it boldly puts characters on stage who are neither wicked nor heroic.”

London Theatre.co.uk: ★★★★ “There are entirely gripping and persuasive performances from Alex Kingston – returning to the London stage after a lot of TV, including most famously ER – as the mother and Ben Edelman in a lacerating study in teenage disenfranchisement as her son, with terrific support from Andrew Woodall as the husband and father respectively to each, Margot Leicester as the confused development associate and Sarah Hadland as the other mother.”

The Reviews Hub: ★★★1/2 “Admissions looks good and is often very funny, but even though it wants the audience to question the motives of each of the five characters on stage, it can’t quite escape its own smugness.”

The Telegraph: ★★★ “It’s a bold, engaging evening, replete with uncomfortable laughs, one that lands home some awkward questions about who decides who gets to “sit at the table” and who constitutes “a person of colour”.”

West End Wilma: ★★★ “While a perfectly engaging piece of theatre with a stellar cast, something about the play feels wrong. A story about faux ‘woke-ness’, (people of colour, though often mentioned, are noticeably absent), told by an all-white cast to a sea of white faces in the audience, makes this show feel almost a part of the problem it professes to be shining a light on.”

Broadway World: ★★★★ “Provocative, bracingly funny and persistently challenging, this is a drama with claws.”

British Theatre Guide: “While some viewers might have reservations of the kind identified in this review, those who can buy into Joshua Harmon’s satirical vision and accept a series of extreme opinions will love his sharp humour and appreciate the cynical light that he shines on many of his characters.”

The Spy in the Stalls: ★★★ “Daniel Aukin ensures a slick pace with deft direction and scene changes that blend into each other, while Paul Wills’ set perfectly depicts the home of a white middle class family. Every element of Admissions is running very smoothly, but it’s difficult not to feel like the whole thing is skirting around some realer issue; it feels like the play at its heart is begging to critique the exclusive and privilege-ridden club that Ivy League universities (or the likes of Oxford and Cambridge here in the UK) have bred, and the opportunities that are only afforded to their graduates as a result.”

Sardines Magazine: ★★ “A disappointing play then, and made watchable only by the considerable skills of those on stage.”

The Guardian: ★★★★ “Covering race, class and educational bias, this is a play guaranteed to make white liberals shift uneasily in their seats.”

Admissions continue to play at the Trafalgar Studios until 25 May 2019.

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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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