Sean O’Casey’s play focuses on a pivotal moment in Irish history between November 1915 and Easter 1916. But is this revival worth a watch? 

thee-plough-and-the-stars

The Guardian: **** “O’Casey’s play may be, as this production suggests, a tenement tragedy, but it is one that movingly affirms the importance of life over bloodstained ideals.”

The Telegraph: **** “from a slowish start the drama gathers in intensity to a final act of harrowing brilliance.”

Londonist: **** “this superbly crafted tragicomedy depicts the big historical events of the fight for Irish independence from British colonial rule from the viewpoint of those ordinary people on the fringes who are struggling to make a living.”

Evening Standard: *** “Howard Davies and Jeremy Herrin have shared directing duties, accentuating the contrast between lofty idealism and everyday desires.”

Radio Times:**** “O’Casey’s potent blend of comedy and tragedy really packs a punch.”

WhatsOnStage: ***** “a magnificent, heart-felt revival of a major play.”

The Independent: ** “The Plough and the Stars feels like a solid, dutiful bit of really theatreytheatre. But the coincidence of a centenary is not enough, in itself, to justify this revival.”

The Times:** “Seán O’Casey’s drama about the Easter Rising is one of those plays that you think will be instructive, but it’s a melodrama that’s lacking in power.”

London Theatre.co.uk: “amongst a superb ensemble, Josie Walker, Stephen Kennedy Lloyd Hutchinson and Justine Mitchell have a haunting sense of truth and honesty.”

West End Wilma: *** “But this production is uneven. It’s long at 2 and a half hours in 2 acts condensed from the original 4 but still some themes felt under-developed.”

The Reviews Hub: **** (half) “It’s very nearly an ideal version of the play. Strong, memorable performances, strident presentation of difficult material and shock.”

The Upcoming: **** “The Plough and the Stars is a bleak, if brutally funny, reminder that behind each revolution lies those merely trying to preserve whatever meagre life they had managed to construct from their poverty in the face of sweeping change.”

Musical Theatre Musings: *** “As a lover of theatre it felt like I ought to love The Plough and The Stars: a period drama told from an alternative perspective with impressive sets and quality acting however it didn’t quite hit home for me.”

Broadway Baby: ** “The result is little more than clichés and possible stereotype in a piece that feels dated and unloved.”

Art Info: “But despite the strong acting and occasional funny and dramatically effective moments, one can only wish there had been a few more bangs than just the sound effects.”

Theatre Bubble:*** “The Plough and the Stars is a play that has to resonate on a character level for its full message to be heard, and somewhere between the gunshots and the artillery shells, some part of this seemed to be lost.”

Culture Whisper: “For a play with such an impassioned history and rich context, Howard Davies’ naturalistic interpretation is at times disappointingly lacklustre. However, some moments of great acting, a spectacular set and the explosive action between scenes mean it is still well worth watching.”

The Plough and the Stars is at the National Theatre until October 22nd. For more information and to book tickets visit: https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/the-plough-and-the-stars

 

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