REVIEW ROUND-UP: The Grinning Man at Trafalgar Studios

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

The Bristol Old Vic’s new British musical, based on Victor Hugo’s story, has transferred to London. What have critics made of The Grinning Man‘s West End transfer, now running at Trafalgar Studios? 

A strange new act has arrived at the fairground. Who is Grinpayne and how did he get his hideous smile? Paraded as a freak, then celebrated as a star, only the love of a sightless girl can reveal his terrible secret.

The Independent★★★★ “In Tom Morris’s production, it all unfolds like a fevered, slightly bonkers but luridly compelling fairy story.”

London Theatre.co.uk★★★★ “The show’s rather triumphant finale is underpinned by chants of “hallelujah, praise to the Grinning Man”, and I’d be inclined to agree.”

The Times★★★★ “A stunning new musical with puppetry from the director of War Horse, this is a deliciously convoluted tale of the search for truth.”

Time Out★★ ”A brave stab at a new musical that’s no worse and far more interesting than most bog-standard West End fodder.”

Broadway World★★★ “Go for the puppets, the singing and the beautiful sets and costumes, but check your comedy and tragedy masks in at the cloakroom because they spend the evening arguing so loudly that they undermine the whole shebang.”

The Telegraph★★★★ “A dark-hearted Christmas treat.”

The Upcoming★★★ “If it’s odd that there’s been no real mention of the music, that’s for good reason. Compared with a recently opened hip-hopera, or even the top-tappers of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, it’s hard not to notice the dearth of memorable tunes or ear-catching lyrics.”

The Reviews Hub★★★ ” it would be good to see those teeth bite harder and pierce this occasionally schmaltzy affair.”

Everything Theatre★★★★★ “a really excellent, enjoyable production.”

London Box Office★★★★ “It’s daring, provoking, beguiling, probably too long and deeply, darkly weird. You won’t have seen anything like it before, you won’t again and it’ll lodge itself in your psyche for ages afterwards.”

British Theatre.com★★★★★ “The score, book by Carl Grose and music by Tim Phillips and Marc Teitler, is narrative driven, haunting and effective. It’s unlikely to produce a hit single, but that matters little as it condenses Hugo’s huge novel into a cohesive narrative.”

British Theatre Guide: ”Most visitors are likely to remember this production for a series of lovely, old-fashioned visual effects”

Theatre Bubble★★★ “Visually stunning, yes, with a glorious storytelling concept and an incredibly talented cast – but lacking in any sort of lasting bite.”

Theatre Weekly★★★★ ”On paper, everything about this musical feels wrong, yet in the production it’s absolutely right; it looks and sounds fantastic with a plot that genuinely keeps you gripped throughout.”

Carn’s Theatre Passion★★★★★ “The Grinning Man is an astonishing piece of theatre which will appeal to anyone with an appetite for an entertainment which is piquant, curious, original and just a little bit macabre.”

 

 

 

 

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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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