Review Round Up: Slaves of Solitude, Hampstead Theatre

Jonathan Kent directs this production of Nicholas Wright’s play adapted from  Patrick Hamilton’s story. Find out what critics have been saying with Love London Love Culture’s round up of the reviews… 


1943, Henley-on-Thames. Miss Roach is forced by the war to flee London for the Rosamund Tea Rooms boarding house. From the safety of these new quarters, her war now consists of a thousand petty humiliations, of which the most burdensome is sharing her daily life with the unbearable Mr. Thwaites. 

But a breath of fresh air arrives in the form of a handsome American Lieutenant and things start to look distinctly brighter…  Until, that is, a seeming friend moves into the room adjacent to Miss Roach’s, upsetting the precariously balanced ecosystem of the house…

The Guardian: *** “Jonathan Kent’s uncharacteristically uncertain production sometimes piles on the melodrama and also frequently mistakes dullness for meaningful emotional restraint.”

The Independent: *** “Empathetic to lives that have come adrift, this is a good show, but one that itself could do with mustering more of a sense of purpose.”

The Times: **** “You can have fun with the allegorical resonances, but you will be too busy getting caught up in the gnarly human drama of it all to bother.”

WhatsOnStage: *** “As a play, the story never finds the theatrical power or inspiration to take flight.”

The Stage: *** “Tim Hatley’s handsome set is atmospheric and richly detailed but the lengthy scene changes only serve to slow down Jonathan Kent’s already frustratingly fitful production.”

Time Out: *** “Nonetheless, in spite of the issues, Jonathan Kent’s production – while sometimes veering a little too broadly between comedy and tragedy – is never boring.”

The Telegraph: *** “a polished, unpretentious staging”

The FT: **** ” There is much here to quietly engage for a couple of hours, as long as it isn’t any kind of optimism you’re looking for.”

Broadway World: *** “If not quite making the case for the story in this new medium, it’s still an evocative piece, anchored by an affecting central performance from Woolgar, who finds desolation and ultimately strength in Miss Roach’s distinctly British isolation.”

Evening Standard: *** “That fine actress Woolgar, a standout in so many period pieces on both stage and screen, gives a nuanced and delicate turn”

Theatre Cat: “brilliantly transformed for the stage by Nicholas Wright.”

The Upcoming: *** “Opening in the middle of the action, the play doesn’t maintain the initial verve, becoming slower, occasionally lifted by some good jokes and light amusing moments.”

London *** “Jonathan Kent’s production is so layered in atmosphere that it feels driven by mood, not action”

British Theatre Guide: “While The Slaves of Solitude is not the best plotted work that you will see this year, its ability to put the microscope onto a sad but very realistic central character, played with great feeling and intensity by Fenella Woolgar under the direction of Jonathan Kent, justifies this new adaptation and might well send those that see it back to try out the original and other works by this neglected author.”

There Ought to be Clowns: “The vibrancy of Cohu’s flirtatious Vicki Kugelmann and the vituperative nature of Clive Francis’ Mr Thwaites cut through the reserve though, and the detail of Tim Hatley’s design with its screen-wipe device offers visual splendour to match Woolgar’s nuanced performance.”

Theatre Guide London: “Director Jonathan Kent and the cast led by Fenella Woolgar treat the text with absolute respect and commitment.”

The Slaves of Solitude continues to play at the Hampstead Theatre until the 25th November. For more information and to book tickets visit:

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