Review Round Up: The Guards at the Taj, Bush Theatre

Directed by Jamie Lloyd, this European premiere of Rajiv Joseph is now playing at the recently reopened Bush Theatre. But what have critics been saying about it? 

Darren Kuppan and Danny Ashok in Guards at the Taj at the Bush Theatre. Credit Marc Brenner.jpg
Darren Kuppan and Danny Ashok. (c) Marc Brenner. 

The Stage: *** “Jamie Lloyd takes what is a fairly static two-hander and gives a degree of dramatic texture.”

WhatsOnStage: **** “For all its gore, though, Jamie Lloyd‘s staging tunes into its beauty too.”

Evening Standard: **** “The result is an engaging, intimate and briefly gruesome 80-minute piece.”

The Times: *** “an impassioned, if not wholly satisfying, debate about the politics of power and art. What is beauty? Who is entitled to own, or to see it? What does it cost to create?”

A Younger Theatre: “Lloyd glues this production together, teasing out every subtle twist in Joseph’s words. The tension in his direction is ultimately proof that he is one of the best in the business, exciting and shocking yet never to the point of disbelief.”

The Arts Desk: “Amid the horrors of tyranny, there is bleak humour and even some gory slapstick. But somehow I felt very little for these two characters, and their quirky imaginations felt a bit contrived to me.”

The Guardian: *** ” The play is given expressive life in Jamie Lloyd’s production.”

The Telegraph: *** “Jamie Lloyd directs with judicious restraint as if to say: it’s a tough job getting a building back on its feet, but someone’s got to do it.”

The Upcoming: *** “Lloyd’s direction which, bar the odd misstep like indulging the playwright’s blood-slick slapstick, is remarkably restrained.”

Culture Whisper: **** ” Joseph’s Guards at the Taj still manages to resonate, showing that monuments of great beauty can often overshadow the tortures of those who helped build them, and that beauty bound in tyranny will inevitably crumble.”

British Theatre Guide: ” However, at its best, the writing can be both very funny and thought-provoking. It may also have some deep allegorical meaning, while it also sheds some light on the human condition and contemporary attitudes, particularly with regard to achieving unlikely goals, whatever the cost.”

Time Out: **** “a striking show to reopen the recently refurbished Bush Theatre, not least because of an impressive production from Jamie Lloyd.”

Live Theatre UK: “stunning and meticulous production of Rajiv Joseph’s award-winning Guards At The Taj, a truly vibrant and vital piece of writing.”

Mature Times: “Danny Ashok and Darran Kuppan are a good double act.”

The Play’s the Thing: “a powerful social commentary on personal values within a riveting story.”

Broadway Baby: ***** “As full of heart as it is needless cruelty, the Bush has produced a piece of vital, vital theatre.”

Guards at the Taj will continue to play at the Bush Theatre until the 20th May. For more information and to book tickets visit:

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