REVIEW ROUND-UP: Pity at the Royal Court Theatre

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

Sam Pritchard directs Rory Mullarkey’s latest play for the Royal Court Theatre. Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews here:

The Guardian★★ “The play is not helped by Sam Pritchard’s production, which opts for aural and visual overkill. Given that the play is about chaos, a starker, simpler approach would have been better.”

The Stage: ★★ “Pity feels like a case of a writer scratching an itch. But it’s hard to tell exactly what Mullarkey is trying to say with it. Yes, we live in distressingly unstable times and our Englishness will not save us if the world burns, but that’s hardly revelatory.”

The Independent: ★★ “It’s not best served by Sam Pritchard’s production which trades in relentless jokey excess and, by that token, never — at least in my view – adequately pierces the cling-film of our British insulation.”

The Telegraph: ★★★★ “A play fit, then, for the summer silly season and yet one that resonates in a more lasting, chilling way with the madnesses of our strife-riven age.”

Broadway World: ★★ “This is a roller coaster ride, pushing the boundaries of theatre. It’s a bit like marmite – some will love it, while others will hate it.”

City AM: ★ “Some in the audience were howling throughout; others refused to offer so much as a clap when it was finally over. Pity is about as polarising as a mainstream play can be, and I’m afraid I’m on the end of the pole that says “avoid at all costs”.”

Time Out: ★★ “Sam Pritchard’s production doesn’t always land Mullarkey’s laughs. It feels slow, often uncomfortably so, thanks to the cast’s ponderous monotone delivery.”

The Upcoming: ★★★★ “Obnoxious and abrasive, and gleefully willing to annoy the Royal Court’s stuffier attendees, it’s the kind of show that should convert any stage-sceptic.”

A Younger Theatre: “Pity doesn’t take itself too seriously, and neither should you, but there’s also something meditative and therapeutic about being shocked into laughter by issues that some might consider to be a little too close to home.”

The Reviews Hub: ★★★★ “Goon-like comedy can inevitably flag if it is not supported by a sturdier structure than Mullarkey builds here and, although the production’s pyrotechnics paper over many weaknesses, the loss of a few of the play’s 100 minutes could perhaps have made it all a little sharper.”

British Theatre.com: ★★★ “Some judicious editing would take the play away from the self indulgent edge a bit more. In saying that, it’s an enjoyable ride when you’re at the top of the roller coaster.”

The Times: ★ “This arthouse end-of-term frolic is imaginative, yet to what end? How are we supposed to feel? After almost two hours I was none the wiser.”

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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.