REVIEW ROUND-UP: Translations at the National Theatre

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Brian Friel’s account of nationhood as seen through the eyes of those living in a small village is now playing at the National Theatre, starring Colin Morgan and Ciarán Hinds. Here’s what critics have been saying about it… 

The Guardian★★★★★ “A play that defies categorisation and is richly realised in a production that (along with Follies, also staged by a former director of the Royal Court) is one of the best things to have emerged from the National Theatre under Rufus Norris.”

The Telegraph: ★★★★ “Translations is an important play – humorous and sad – which opens up the beautiful possibilities of language and, ultimately and tragically, its terrible limitations.”

Culture Whisper: ★★★★ “From the extravagant, silly charade of communicating in the absence of a shared language, to the troubling erasure of a nation’s history, this fine revival of Friel’s poignant play feels all too relevant for 2018.”

The Independent: “With our anxieties over Brexit and borders, this is very pertinent time to revive the play and it’s wonderful to see and hear it stretch to its true magnitude in this venue.”

Time Out: ★★★★ “Rickson and designer Rae Smith know that this is a play in which the text takes centre stage. What they have brought to the table, with their detailed, sepia-toned production, is a feeling of intimacy.”

Exeunt Magazine: “Rickson resists the urge to stuff the production with nods and winks to the play’s contemporary significance and lets the words in the actors’ mouths do the talking. His production is an act of trust in the play, the cast and the audience.”

Radio Times: ★★★★ “This thoughtful revival is a reminder of the complicated legacy of colonialism, and suggests that taking the time to better understand one another could be the key to progress.”

British Theatre.com: ★★★★ “Translations is a superb night out and a piece of theatrical brilliance from one of the greatest playwrights of his generation.”

Evening Standard: ★★★★ “Colin Morgan makes an absorbing National Theatre debut in this careful revival of Brian Friel’s eighties play.”

Broadway World: ★★★★ “The triumph of Rickson’s production is its tender, funny and heart-wrenching intimacy.”

London Theatre.co.uk: ★★★ “Ian Rickson’s pedestrian production takes some time to warm up to, yet ends with a “do you see what I’m saying?” nod to how timely the piece is, akin to Ivo van Hove’s Trump scene at the end of Network.”

The Upcoming: **** “It’s a beautifully judged peeling back of Britain’s ugly – and under-told – past, one that underscores our resulting unstable present with a final military flourish.”

The Reviews Hub: ★★★★ “Translations is Shakespearean in its ability to flit from humour to romance to tragedy with a word or gesture, of mixing ancient mythology with current concerns until one cannot discern where one ends and the other starts.”

Metro: ★★★★ “Ciarán Hinds is compelling and sympathetic as the drunken schoolmaster Hugh, while Colin Morgan (Humans, Merlin) is superb as his son Owen.”

London Theatre1: ★★★★ “Excellently staged and acted, it may be a long production but it is worth every minute.”

London Box Office: ★★★ “The very air exudes worthy, quality theatre with cast and creatives straining every muscle to deliver an evening that’s wholesome and good for you.”

Jonathan Baz Reviews: ★★★★ “It is rare to find a show so good-natured and yet ominous and academic, all at the same time.”

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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.