Review Round Up: Committee, Donmar Warehouse

Adam Penford directs this new musical about the collapse of Kids  Company. But did critics enjoy the production? 


What happens when something goes wrong? Who holds us accountable?  On 15 October 2015, as part of an inquiry into ‘The collapse of Kids Company’, Camila Batmanghelidjh and Alan Yentob gave evidence to The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee.  Hadley Fraser, Josie Rourke and composer Tom Deering have transformed that evidence session into a new musical.

This production has not been authorised by any participant or Parliament. 

The Guardian: ** ” A musical can do many things but not, I would suggest, capture the humdrum detail of a committee at work.”

The Telegraph: *** “Tom Deering’s score adds dramatic flourish but never persuades you the show needs to be a musical. Yet this is still a fascinating piece of theatre.”

The Independent: **** “So what does Tom Deering’s score add to our perception of the proceedings? Powerfully played by a piano and string quartet under Torquil Munro’s musical direction, it certainly heightens our awareness of the irreconcilable differences in world-view between the committee (who sit in a semi-circle facing us and them) and the two witnesses (whose faces are projected on large screens).”

WhatsOnStage: *** “In the end, for all its topicality, Committee… reveals the limitations of verbatim theatre as well as its strengths. It is smart but essentially undramatic.”

The Stage: *** “Adam Penford’s production does raise timely questions about how we view charity in our society – who is deserving of it and to the tune of how much – and it’s a reminder, if one were needed, that our leaders have a dismayingly poor grasp of the psychological impact of inescapable poverty.”

Exeunt Magazine: ” the explanation-heavy intro isn’t just the consequence of the audience’s presumed lack of knowledge, but because Committee’s form means it can’t show us its characters in any depth.”

The Times: ** “The performance is immaculately acted and sung, but none of this makes it riveting.”

Evening Standard: *** “Although director Adam Penford infuses the production with energy, the material doesn’t feel bracingly dramatic.”

Theatre Weekly: ** “As the audience left the theatre, no one was talking about the score, the staging or the performances. They were however, talking about Kids Company and Camila Batmanghelidjh, if this was the intention then Committee is a success, if not; then, like the charity, this musical is reaching dangerously beyond its means.”

There Ought to be Clowns: “a mark of the strength of Adam Penford’s production that it doesn’t feel unsatisfactory.”

The Daily Mail: * “Making a musical out of a parliamentary select committee meeting – even one as startling as the 2015 investigation into bust charity Kids Company – was never going to be easy. But writers Hadley Fraser and Josie Rourke (who runs the Donmar) completely miss the target. The music’s dreadful, too.”

British Theatre Guide: “Given the limited material, the creators, actors and director Adam Penford have concocted an enjoyable confection that might conceivably achieve the goal of the committee, to enable viewers to learn from others’ mistakes.”

Committee continues to play at the Donmar Warehouse until the 12th August. For more information visit:

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