Olivia Coleman stars in Lucy Kirkwood’s new drama directed by Rufus Norris – but have critics warmed to it?
Alice is a scientist. She lives in Geneva. As the Large Hadron Collider starts up in 2008, she is on the brink of the most exciting work of her life, searching for the Higgs Boson.
Jenny is her sister. She lives in Luton. She spends a lot of time Googling.
When tragedy throws them together, the collision threatens them all with chaos.
Culture Whisper: *** “Mosquitoes is a sweeping, smart, and often funny drama about the force of two seemingly insignificant objects flying into each other.”
WhatsOnStage: ***** ” Lucy Kirkwood’s real triumph here is to combine the thoughtful enquiry and large themes that marked her previous hit, the award-winning Chimerica, with a portrait of a dysfunctional family that exerts its own gravitational pull. The result is emotionally involving as well as intellectually satisfying.”
Variety: “It is a vast play of ideas – too vast, perhaps, but too clever too care – that makes a strong case that the information age is also the age of anxiety.”
The Stage: **** “It’s a joy though to see a play devote this much space and time to examining what it is to be a sister, a mother and a daughter, while also contemplating the workings of the universe and our place within it.”
West End Whingers: “Director Rufus Norris allows little room for stagnation despite the hefty 2 hour 45 minute running time.”
Time Out: **** “Kirkwood lobs so much in that it’s often hard to stay on top of it all. It’s not so much that the plot is overegged – though it kind of is – but that the tone rarely settles down.”
Radio Times: **** “Mosquitoes is a treat: an ambitious play that deals in big ideas and knotty themes, but is also a heart-wrenching portrait of a family in crisis.”
The Guardian: **** “Colman has the capacity to make apparent ordinariness interesting and she brings out beautifully the contradictions in Jenny.”
Exeunt Magazine: “For those with families that systematically remove any cheer from Christmas, Mosquitoes is not the story to make you anticipate December with a renewed sense of positivity.”
The Upcoming: ***** “It’s a savage, and savagely funny, play brought to life with genuine intimacy by the two Olivias. Colman balances comedic warmth and ugly, gut-wrenching rawness in the same sentence. Jenny is defensive and dismissive and cruel, until she isn’t and the weight of her pain and feelings of inadequacy cause her face to crumple. Williams is equally brilliant in a part that is perhaps even more difficult than Coleman’s.”
The Independent: **** ” The actresses make you feel how vulnerable the sisters are to each other and how raw and unbalanced their rapport. To invoke the wrong science, their chemistry is amazing.”
London Theatre.co.uk: **** “You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to be drawn in to Kirkwood’s powerful family drama.”
Broadway World: **** “the play’s success depends on the bond between the sisters, and the two Olivias are utterly convincing in their fraught intimacy.”
The FT: **** “Kirkwood weaves a fascinatingly intricate net, casts it audaciously wide, and Norris and company haul in a wealth of dramatic beauties.”
City AM: ***** “Come for the acting, stay for debate on scientific communication, and try to forgive the convoluted plot.”
Evening Standard: ** “Colman, unstoppable star of screens large and small, is a perpetual triumph in this misfiring look at two very different sisters, generating what little warmth, light and humour the evening has to offer.”
The Telegraph: **** “Kirkwood stuffs much into two and three quarter hours, arguably too much, but Mosquitoes has a lot to recommend it – not least that, for a play about science, it is very funny and very sad – often at the same time.”
Theatre Fullstop: **** “Colman delivers the dark humour of this drama so effortlessly.”
British Theatre.com: **** “Slickly directed by Rufus Norris, Mosquitoes entertains and enlightens although, if I may use one of its metaphors, it lacks bite.”
The Reviews Hub: ***** “Colman and Williams bounce off each other with such energy that, if their collisions were to create a black hole and consume everything in sight, one would at least be happy to have been there to be part of it.”
Theatre Bubble: *** “having superb dialogue delivered by the very best acting talent, more than ably directed by Rufus Norris, cannot overcome the difficulties of an overly intricate plot and tough to understand subject matter.”
The Times: **** “intelligent, impassioned and at times exasperating new play.”
Mosquitoes continues to play at the National Theatre until the 28th September. For more information visit: https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/mosquitoes