Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews for Ola Ince’s production of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ play.
British Theatre: ★★★★ “This is a great piece of theatre, intelligently demonstrating the measures that people will take to redesign their own legacies into something, well… appropriate.”
Londonist: ★★★★ “Monica Dolan gives an outstanding, moving performance as the oldest sibling on the verge of a breakdown, at once vindictive and pathetic. Steven Mackintosh is also excellent as the detached elder brother who has substituted monetary payments for emotional support.”
Metro: ★★★★ “But there is something brilliant here about revealing black history through white characters who have to live with that legacy — whether they like it or not.”
Culture Whisper: ★★★★ “Between its compelling narrative and subtextual commentary on wider, socio-political matters, Appropriate is a family drama fit to join the ranks of those by Chekov, Miller and Williams.”
Time Out: ★★★★ “Ola Ince’s production needles and builds in a succession of agonising emotional confrontations. But the supernatural tensions built into Jacobs-Jenkins’ script never quite come to a climax; the screeching sound effects and blackouts between scenes feel like a tacked-on extension to this well-constructed house of ills. Ultimately, the ghosts that linger are the things left unsaid, the truths that every member of this family tries to bury with words and cobbled-together rites.”
The Guardian: ★★★★ “Ola Ince’s production faithfully captures the play’s mix of sibling rivalry and ghost story, and Fly Davis’ design suggests, in a manner reminiscent of Blithe Spirit, that even the furniture is spooked.”
The Stage: ★★★★ “Executed with a light touch and formidable intelligence, it’s a stunning act of theatrical subversion.”
The Telegraph: ★★★★ “Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, still only in his early thirties, gives his theatrical forebears a run for their money with this lacerating portrait of the Lafayette clan who have gathered at their deceased father’s mansion on an Arkansas former plantation to, it turns out, rip bleeding shreds out of one another the night before it is due to be sold.”
Evening Standard: ★★★★ “Appropriate is a bitterly funny Arkansas family drama with ghostly overtones that raise genuine goosebumps.”
Secret London: “At times the characters’ constant flaws can feel relentless. Each has a neat backstory that appears at just the right moment to cause another crisis in the play. But at the Lafayette Plantation, there’s a story fizzing to come out, and the pace is fast and witty enough to stay gripped for the entire show.”
The Spy in the Stalls: ★★★★ “Despite that Appropriate is framed primarily as a family drama, there are also undercurrents of horror – characters feel presences, lightbulbs flicker, and objects move of their own volition when no-one’s in the room.”
London Theatre1: ★★★★ “Not the traditional Great American Family story, Appropriate takes that genre, plays with it and makes it something new and very exciting.”
Appropriate continues to play at the Donmar Warehouse until 5 October 2019.