REVIEW ROUND-UP: Hadestown at the National Theatre

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

Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews for singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell and director Rachel Chavkin’s interpretation of Mitchell’s acclaimed concept album… 

Rewrite This Story★★★★★ Hadestown is painfully relevant and beautifully moving. It’s a production which will surely be remembered by all who see it, and should be seen by all.”

Culture Whisper: ★★★★ “The plot doesn’t quite emerge fully formed from the music, but with songs this good it hardly matters.”

There Ought to be Clowns: “There’s just so much on offer here, in the beautifully detailed set (Rachel Hauck) that both contains and opens out the action, that it would take a stubborn soul to resist the spell of Hadestown.”

Time Out: ★★★★ “If it does feel like a concert there are plenty more enjoyable bells and whistles piled on: Rachel Hauck’s New Orleans saloon-style set is a hoot; the tight crew of dancers putting David Neumann’s discreetly pneumatic choreography through its paces give everything a surging sense of perpetual motion.”

The Stage: ★★★★ “This is a rich and often stunning production, a contemporary and ageless reincarnation of an ancient myth.”

The Guardian: ★★★★ “Chavkin’s production, even in a large space, preserves the rough theatre elements that are part of the show’s charm. Rachel Hauck’s design suggests some decrepit New Orleans dive, and the band, with Nathaniel Cross prominent on trombone, is vividly present. The performers, headed by Reeve Carney and Eva Noblezada as the young lovers, are all good, even if Orpheus’ song that wins him an underworld reprieve can’t stand comparison with Gluck or Offenbach.”

Variety: “In fact, it’s almost more concert than theatre — a big, bluesy blow-out that takes over the auditorium.”

Evening Standard: ★★★★ “With its emphasis on mood rather than action, this is the sort of show that risks being labelled portentous. But it’s tightly choreographed and genuinely inventive. Sometimes operatic and sometimes bluesy, it manages to sound seductively hushed one moment and rollicking the next.”

The Telegraph: ★★★ “The show finally delivers the heart-stopping goods, but is it fully achieved yet? A case, as with Orpheus himself, of so near, yet so far.”

The Times: ★★★ “This Trump-tinged reworking of Orpheus has its moments — but burn some of the songs.”

Onstage Blog: “Truly is an inspiration and a reminder of what’s possible under the banner of artistic and creative integrity. ”

British Theatre.com: ★★★★ “That which is good about the musical is so staggeringly triumphant that you would be hard pressed to leave without feeling lighter. Hadestown has the potential to be something truly special.”

iNews: ★★★★ “Though not the masterpiece it could be, Hadestown is a dazzling party for Americana fans.”

Exeunt Magazine: “Hadestown is best if you know and love all the tunes already – if you’ve worn out the album and are ready to see it brought to life.”

City AM: “The ingredients for a barnstorming musical are all present and correct and yet… Somehow it doesn’t quite click, falling short of the dizzy heights of a Hamilton or a Little Shop of Horrors.”

Daily Mail: ★★★★ “If it falls a little short in this jazz musical, that is because the whole enterprise is a touch too hip for characterisation or humour to flourish. But this is a show with plenty of spectacle.”

A Younger Theatre: “For anyone wanting a brand new type of musical or for the more musically discerning amongst you, come on down to Hadestown, a musical as flammable as it is heartfelt.”

Stage Review: ★★★★★ “It’s refreshing to see the National Theatre stage a production like Hadestown but I couldn’t help thinking that a West End venue – and a West End audience – would have better suited the production.”

London Theatre1: ★★★★★ “Performed with love and passion by a company that is far more than the sum of its formidable parts, this is a refreshing, enjoyable and unpretentious work, and packs a hefty cathartic punch.”

The Upcoming: ★★★ “The sound of the show is great, a riotous blast of bluesy, folky Americana. On a song-by-song basis, however, it is slightly less memorable, a problem exacerbated by Chavkin’s repetitive direction.”

Hadestown continues to play at the National Theatre.

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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 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.