Review Round Up: Saint Joan, Donmar Warehouse

Gemma Arterton stars in Josie Rourke’s modern take on the spiritual soldier’s rise to fame and tragedy. But what do critics think of the Donmar Warehouse’s production? 


The Guardian: *** “Although this production is worth seeing for Arterton, Shaw’s play works best when it is presented as a historical drama from which we are allowed to draw contemporary parallels.”

The Telegraph: ** “If only the production around her was made more to her clear-cut, unfussy measure.”

The Financial Times: *** “Of course there is something terribly modern — contemporary, even — in Joan herself: staunch nationalist, religious fanatic, rabble rouser. But here she feels distant from the conversation, pushed to one side by her anachronistic medieval garb, already a saint.”

Time Out: *** “Rourke’s belief in her lead is entirely rewarded: ‘Saint Joan’ puts to the sword any lingering impression that Arterton might be a lightweight.”

WhatsOnStage: *** “It’s quite a play. If only the production had trusted it a little more.”

The Stage: *** “Rourke’s production feels at time like it’s hitting its audience over the head with a rolled up newspaper.”

Culture Whisper: *** “the production is rather relentless and laboured in its attempts to chime with contemporary issues.”

The Times: *** “Playwright’s pen is mightier than sword for Arterton’s Joan.”

Evening Standard: *** “Josie Rourke’s production shows that Shaw’s observations about class, religion and gender are still resonant. Yet its topical emphasis on fundamentalism and nationalism feels a little on-the-nose.”

Broadway World: **** “With a strong feminist message at its core, Saint Joan will remain relevant for a while to come – and Rourke’s production is a perfect representation for our time.”

Variety: “Rourke’s historical merger makes it all rather confusing.”

Theatre Cat: **** “There are roles to relish, aside from Arterton’s triumphant, touching and finally dramatic Joan.”

There Ought to be Clowns: “It may take its time to get there, but this is a powerful Saint Joan.” 

British Theatre Guide: “While few would denigrate a nicely balanced and nuanced performance from Gemma Arterton, and some good support particularly from Fisayo Akinade, it is difficult to reconcile Shaw’s plotting and writing with the updated setting.”

City AM: *** “This production isn’t bad by any means, but it falls far short of essential viewing.”

The Upcoming: ** “Saint Joan is leaden, its attempts at timeliness more groan- than gasp-worthy. It’s a shame.”

Gay Times: **** “Saint Joan is an amalgamation of past and present smashed together resulting in a beautiful piece of theatrical magic.”

Saint Joan plays at the Donmar Warehouse until the 18th February 2017. To book tickets visit: ATG Tickets




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