Review Round Up: Lettice & Lovage, Menier Chocolate Factory

Felicity Kendal and Maureen Lipman star in Trevor Nunn’s production. But what are critics making of it? 


WhatsOnStage: *** “Trevor Nunn’s enjoyable but utterly unchallenging production.”

The Stage: ***  “these two actors are such a pleasure to watch in that they save the day. The eternally kittenish Kendal and the poised, principled Lipman both expose a disarming vulnerability beneath their bluff exteriors.”

Broadway World: **** “His skilful direction elevates Kendal and Schoen’s performances and shines a brighter light on the pair’s unlikely, mutual admiration and affection.”

Time Out: ** “Bereft of the sort of titanic lead performance it was built for, ‘Lettice and Lovage’ feels like a harmless entertainment, a limp footnote to the career of a playwright whose greatest works reached boldly for the stars.”

The Guardian: *** “Nunn’s production and Robert Jones’s design have some nice details – such as the poster of Olivier’s Othello that adorns Lettice’s flat – but, although Shaffer always writes generously for actors, this is a play where the parts are infinitely bigger than the whole.”

The Times: **** “It is the performances that lift this up, saving it from the dreaded mere ‘mereness’ — Felicity Kendal is a wonder and Maureen Lipman not far behind.”

The Telegraph: “it’s the air of struggle itself that’s the problem with this passingly entertaining yet effortful-feeling revival by Trevor Nunn.”

A Younger Theatre: “Lettice and Lovage may be a bit of a let-down after the brimming first act, but Kendal and Lipman ensure that this particular guided tour is well worth the visit.”

Evening Standard: ** “where Trevor Nunn’s tonally all-over-the-place production promptly loses us is when Lotte’s sudden change of heart leads to an enduring odd-couple friendship.”

London *** “not much more to the play except to sit back and relish the two actors in the prime of their careers playing women wrestling with the redundancy of theirs.”

British Theatre Guide: “Lettice and Lovage is one of those comedies that viewers will either love or hate.”

The Financial Times: **** “The pair’s determination to battle against what they damn as the “mere” in all aspects of life is not as enlivened by Shaffer as it could be, and railing against modern architecture has also become something of a cliché . . . but it imparts a warm glow to hear such vituperation being delivered in the very shadow of the Shard.”

Johnny Fox: *** “It’s over-long, and Trevor Nunn should have been brave enough to cut it and hire a script doctor to refresh the lines if not also the plot.”

Theatre Guide London: “Director Trevor Nunn’s contribution is to guide each of his stars to twinkle in the ways they each best can, and if he can’t make the play as a whole make much sense, we simply have to not ask that of him. ”

The Daily Mail: *** “Director Sir Trevor Nunn could do with a kick up the buttresses. As so often with him, the pace is glacial. The evening lasts more than two-and-a-half hours, but it feels like three-plus.”

Theatre Cat: “It is a curiosity, not just as an unfashionably rhetorical piece of writing, but because though nearly thirty years old it is startlingly in tune with modern defiances.”

Gay Times:*** “While enjoyable, this production does feel like something of a missed opportunity. With a witty script, a talented cast and an elaborate set, we were expecting a rather special production, but the end result is an amusing-but-inconsistent play that slightly overstays its welcome.”

Lettice & Lovage will continue to play at the Menier Chocolate Factory until the 8th July.

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