On LoveLondonLoveCulture, Emma Clarendon rounds up the reviews for Hampstead Theatre’s revival of Marsha Norman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play ‘Night, Mother, now running until 4 December 2021.
Ham & High: ** “Staged in real-time, this evening of truths and confessions should be unbearably tense, as an increasingly desperate guilt-wracked Thelma begs her grimly-determined daughter not to do it. But here both feel frozen and locked in their entrenched positions – and Ti Green’s kitchen-diner set doesn’t actually feel lived in.”
Time Out: ** “It’s admirable that Channing traversed the Atlantic to star in a play that’s hardly awards-bait. I imagine the subject was much more of a taboo-buster in the pre-Sarah Kane era. I can see how this might amount to something pretty powerful, given a totally different production. It’s an almighty subject. But the treatment here is numbing, verging on dull.”
The Guardian: ** “Stockard Channing’s increasingly desperate mother is still compelling to watch and while she gives a charismatic performance her emotional range is hemmed in by the sedate, discursive tone of the production.”
Evening Standard: *** “Still, if you accept it as a period piece, Norman’s play is more purely enjoyable than most of the historic duds Hampstead has exhumed to celebrate its 60 years. Rebecca Night is impressive. And Stockard Channing is here in London, aged 77, delayed by the pandemic but chucking pans around a kitchen and then cocking an eyebrow. For some of us, that’s almost worth the price of admission alone.”
Culture Whisper: *** “The brilliance of ’night, Mother is in Norman’s writing, and for this it’s worth catching the revival. The script interweaves the domestic practicalities of running a household with the critical topic of Jessie’s suicide, and the two parallel strands of conversation criss-cross throughout. Talk of taking out the bins and making hot chocolate with marshmallows spills into Jessie’s insistence on shooting herself in deliciously unnerving fashion.”
The Reviews Hub: ***** “One holds one’s breath near the end of this compelling piece, hoping for a happy ending despite the chance ever receding. And when the exhale comes, a lump in the throat remains.”
The Independent: *** “Night occasionally breaks this to shout when unable to hold in her anger anymore, but Channing’s moments of rage, pushing pots and pans off the side, feel slightly lacklustre and elicit unfortunate titters, rather than gasps, from the audience. Her performance is never quite whacked up high enough to show a woman truly desperate for her daughter to stay, who can’t imagine her life without her. “
London Unattached: “‘night, Mother is not a bundle of joy by any means, and it is clunky at times, but the performances were fantastic and Stockard Channing, in particular, was an utter joy to watch.”
Lou Reviews: “Despite my slight disappointment in this version, ‘Night, Mother is still an intriguing piece of work, and tackles a difficult subject from an angle which must have been challenging forty years ago.”
Pocket Size Theatre: *** “It is overall quite dreary, and the themes of suicide and relationships are never fully explored. Night’s performance as Jessie is more convincing and she makes great use of the stage despite delivering some awkward lines, however, the Director could have injected much more energy into them both to tease out more emotion and provoke a greater response from the audience.”
iNews: *** “Marsha Norman’s 1983 two-hander feels rather dated, but it does capture something of the crushing enormity of depression, and the complexity of family.”
London Theatre1: *** “It’s wonderful to see a bona fide film, television and Broadway star on a London stage – it’s just a shame that the always excellent Stockard Channing doesn’t have something more powerful and gripping to show off her considerable talents.”
The Upcoming: *** “With thoughtful and sensitive direction from Roxana Silbert and homely stage design from Ti Green, Night, Mother brings a certain solemnity to a night at the theatre – but this is not necessarily a bad thing. Stories about mental health are more important than ever, and the severity echoed in the production is reminiscent of real struggles. Therefore, as the audience aches for a reprieve from the tension, the small moments of the comedy in the script only offer a few seconds of release before we are drawn back into the dark once again.”
The Daily Mail: *** “Her acceptance of her child’s shocking decision comes too easily and left me wondering: What is the point of this play? Or, more precisely, how are we meant to enjoy it?
Well, flawless as Roxana Silbert’s production is, it doesn’t supply any real answer to that. ‘Night, Mother left me feeling flat and unmoved.”
The Stage: *** “Capably performed if oddly distanced production of Marsha Norman’s Pulitzer-winning two-hander.”
Broadway World: ** “There’s no real, meaty drama nor any surge of feeling you might expect from the subject matter. ‘night, Mother is a rather pointless revival that showcases stiff acting, a propensity for repetition, and is interesting only intermittently.”
‘Night, Mother continues to play at the Hampstead Theatre until the 4th December.
REVIEW ROUND-UP: What are critics saying about #NightMother? @LoveLDNLoveCul gathers the verdicts on @Hamps_Theatre’s revival of Marsha Norman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play starring #StockardChanning & Rebecca Night. #theatrereviews #Londontheatre