Review Round Up: Girl From the North Country, Old Vic Theatre

Find out what critics have been saying about Conor McPherson’s new show featuring the music of Bob Dylan here: 

Girl from the noth country

Duluth, Minnesota. 1934.

A community living on a knife-edge huddle together in the local guesthouse.

The owner, Nick, owes more money than he can ever repay, his wife Elizabeth is losing her mind and their daughter Marianne is carrying a child no-one will account for.

And, when a preacher selling bibles and a boxer looking for a comeback show up in the middle of the night, things start to spiral beyond the point of no return…

The Independent: ***** “Two formidable artists have shown respect for the integrity of each other’s work here and the result is magnificent.”

WhatsOnStage: ** “looking at the wonderful cast assembled, which includes fine moments from Bronagh Gallagher, Stanley Townsend, Debbie Kurup and Arinze Kene (who gets to sing “The Hurricane”), it’s hard not to feel that their great talent is mostly wasted in such a half-baked affair.”

The Stage: **** “Simon Hale’s musical arrangements are glorious and the mixture of story (such as it is) and song works incredibly well.”

The Guardian: ***** “As director, McPherson has created an astonishingly free-flowing production and the 19-strong cast, which includes three musicians, is so uniformly strong it is tough to pick out individuals.”

The Times: ***** “You don’t need to know his songs to fall for this play by Conor McPherson, which includes 20 of them. But if you do know them well, as I do, then there are moments when you can just close your eyes and melt into the night. ”

Culture Whisper: ***** “McPherson takes tracks spanning 1963-2012 and inserts them into one winter in 1934. He describes it as ‘a conversation between the songs and the story’; they illuminate each other and embody the storytelling heart of folk music.”

Time Out: **** “‘Girl from the North Country’ would feel imperfect and undersketched as either musical or play, but smush them together and you’ve got something.”

The FT: *** “The result is an intelligent, inventive production with no significant fault, but in the end no compelling connection either.”

Exeunt Magazine: “Conor McPherson has created a new type of musical and, simply put, it is a stunner.”

The Telegraph: *** “much intermittent brilliance, but it’s no full-on Bobby dazzler.”

British ***** “These are breath-taking performances, sending shivers down the spine, and wringing tears from the eyes, in expressions of such pathos, and such surprising, unexpected beauty, you could almost be forgiven for not realising that Bob Dylan really is one of the greatest songwriters of all time.”

Evening Standard: ***** “This is Dylan like we’ve never heard him before, 20 songs sculpted into plaintive but beautiful new arrangements by Simon Hale.”

Variety: “It walks a fine line between a beloved literary tradition and something more resonant – a reflection of our own recession. The blend slips down easy: enjoyable and soulful.”

London *** “I feel like this would have made a very good play-without-songs, and an even better Bob Dylan cover album. But the two don’t seem to gel quite as well as they perhaps could have.”

The Upcoming: **** “Girl from the North Country is far greater than the sum of its narrative parts, even if this does mean leaning on Dylan’s poetry for emotional impact, casting a spell that lingers long after the curtain comes down.”

Broadway World: **** “Following Lazarus, it’s indicative of a new musical theatre trend, capturing not just greatest hits but the artist. Dreamlike and bleakly beautiful.”

British Theatre Guide: “There is no doubt that The Girl from the North Country would have been an instant hit thanks to the credentials of its creative team. In fact, the quality of this haunting and intoxicating 2½-hour play with music is so high that someone must already be setting up a lucrative grey market for tickets on the Internet.”

Girl from the North Country will play at the Old Vic Theatre until the 7th October. To book tickets visit: Theatre.comLast Minute.comTheatre Tickets Theatre.comTheatre and UK



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