The classic horror film is brought to life on stage for the first time in this new production directed by Sean Mathias. But does it thrill and scare audiences as it should? Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews…

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Clare Louise Connolly and Peter Bowles (c)Pamela Raith Photography. 

Carn’s Theatre Passion: **** “an hour and forty minutes of psychologically thrilling entertainment.”

The Guardian: * “It grinds out the tale with jerky efficiency, like a storyboard on stage that moves not from one scene to the next but one set piece to the next.”

The Independent: **** “less scary than the film but that it’s perhaps more profoundly disturbing. It offers the pleasure of experiencing a story that you love-to-dread told in another medium that traps the audience in the same space as the characters and demands that the famous “moments” (the projectile vomiting, the swivelling head, the violently shaking bed et al) be conjured up live.”

WhatsOnStage: ** “It is true that this show will absolutely make you jump and squirm and it does deliver on some of the titillating goriness of the original. Perhaps exorcising our desire for cheap thrills is all we’re looking for at this time of the year.”

The Stage: ** “While the production delivers a couple of serviceable jump-scares, it fails to capture what made the original so visceral and, well, compelling.”

The Times: ** “It has its head-turning moments, but this feels like a Hallowe’en whodunnit with a bit of Catholic hocus pocus thrown in.”

Time Out: *** “Accepting that it’s basically a story about Satanic child abuse, it’s all quite enjoyable, and Sean Mathias’s production is an undoubted technical triumph.”

The Metro: **** “This is a thrill to watch, but the great vastness of the theatre only makes The Exorcist a prettier, not a meatier, experience.”

London Theatre.co.uk: **** “The result is a genuine crowd-pleaser that has the audience not just cheering but also shrieking.”

Exeunt Magazine: “there’s no particular point to seeing this play: it’s not as deft or deep as the movie.”

Broadway World: ** “It’s not quite the best job that could be done with the material, but the fault lies primarily with the concept as a whole – The Exorcist, like most films, just doesn’t work on a stage, and no amount of big-name casting is going to change that.”

London Theatre1: **** “Accessible for those who haven’t seen the movie or read the novel whilst entertaining for those who’ve done both, this is an absorbing and admirable production.”

British Theatre.com: *** “It certainly does not get anywhere near to the high quality of some plays currently on in the West End, yet it also misses the category of “so bad it’s good”, it fails to be a Fabulous Flop that people will whisper about in years to come.”

The FT: *** “It all does a perfectly good job of telling the story, though not of giving you the screaming heebie-jeebies. There’s no overwhelming need to spider-walk to the box office.”

West End Wilma: ** “It was more like a comedy spoof of The Exorcist at times rather than a serious production.”

The Upcoming: *** “It doesn’t offer anything new to the classic, but The Exorcist live is packed with enough frightening scenes and clever technical tricks to prove a thoroughly engrossing 100 minutes.”

British Theatre Guide: “I may just be difficult to frighten, this might be horror enough for some, perhaps those not such regular theatregoers who may bring different expectations. Certainly some seem to love it but my marrow was not chilled.”

The Exorcist will  continue to play at the Phoenix Theatre and is booking until the 10th March 2018. To book tickets visit:  ATG TicketsTicketmaster.co.ukLove Theatre.comDiscount Theatre.com,Theatre Tickets Direct.co.ukLast Minute.comLove London Love CultureTheatre People.com and See Tickets.com

 

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