REVIEW ROUND-UP: Shipwreck at Almeida Theatre

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Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews for Rupert Goold’s production, playing at the Almeida Theatre until 30 March 2019.

The Times★★★★ “The lasting impression of this absolute thriller of a production will be of that loyalty dinner, as we finally see what went down between Donald Trump and James Comey.”

The Guardian: ★★★★ “This is a talky play staged with admirable clarity by Rupert Goold.”

The Telegraph: ★★★ “American playwright Anne Washburn persuasively imagines the Trump phenomenon in her new play as a crisis of empathy.”

Broadway World: ★★★ “If Shipwreck doesn’t quite find a focus for its passions, there is at least a freshness and gravity to its response.”

Evening Standard: ★★★ “Washburn may not tell us much that’s new about Trump and his supporters, and the characters’ existential wrangling can feel like a talky retread of 1980s movie The Big Chill, but her writing is sometimes startlingly poetic.”

Time Out: ★★★★ “There will be those who hate it, because they hate its wordiness or simply find it too weird. It is a play on the subject of Donald Trump that ducks the crushing responsibility of being a play about Donald Trump.”

The New York Times: “Wrapped in so many layers — of narrative, of interpretation, of mutating thoughts — that it should be stifling. Instead, it finds a paradoxical exhilarating brightness — and most important, a boundless empathy — within its endless night.”

Culture Whisper: ★★★ “However, Shipwreck doesn’t provide that quintessential Washburn madness that one would hope for. The show doesn’t employ enough abstraction to make it a poignant allegory, nor does it utilise enough realism to create a searing indictment of the new dawn of Trump. If the script was more distilled, this play could pack a gut punch. Instead, it playfully slaps you on the hand and bids you goodnight.”

The Upcoming: ★★★★ “Regardless of what you think of the drama itself – and plenty of people are going to dislike it – you can’t argue with the cast. Fisayo Akinade is the standout: his monologues give the drama a considered, emotional anchor, while he has a great cartoon display as one of America’s other controversial presidents. And special mention should go to Elliot Cowan, who presents Trump as both a lone ranger hero and delirious super-villain in the production’s most outlandish moments.”

British Theatre.com: ★★★ “Rupert Goold’s wacky yet amusing direction and fantastic performances by a uniformly strong cast do their best to make the play zing but it is at best overwritten and at worst annoyingly verbose and preachy.”

Exeunt Magazine: “As perplexing, paralysing and exciting as the American Dream myth-making that gave birth to Trump, Shipwreck is a mind-boggling study in how a civilisation sunk itself.”

The Panoptic: ★★★★★ “Washburn’s new play is more of an essay for stage, which makes full use of its wide-ranging form to properly challenge its audience in a time of echo-chambers. She shows us the fragile, temporary nature of the world we live in and challenges us to reflect on our part in it.”

Camden New Journal: “From the ineffectiveness of political theatre (Euripides’ plays didn’t stop the Peloponnesian war) to why people voted for Trump and how lies become facts, it’s three hours of discussion, which the actors make lively, offering some surprises.”

British Theatre Guide: “The real test for this play will come when it eventually moves across the Atlantic to its natural home, where the arguments are likely to be far better understood and appreciated, especially if some of the extraneous scenes are removed or remodelled.”

Shipwreck will continue to play at the Almeida Theatre until 30 March 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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