The Bristol Old Vic’s production based on Victor Hugo’s story transfers to London. But what have critics made of its West End transfer? 

The Grinning Man .jpg

A strange new act has arrived at the fairground. Who is Grinpayne and how did he get his hideous smile? Paraded as a freak, then celebrated as a star, only the love of a sightless girl can reveal his terrible secret.

WhatsOnStage: **** “It is a remarkable, entrancing achievement and a treat for anyone who likes their storytelling with plenty of dark magic thrown in.”

The Independent: **** “In Morris’s production, it all unfolds like a fevered, slightly bonkers but luridly compelling fairy story.”

London **** “The show’s rather triumphant finale is underpinned by chants of “hallelujah, praise to the Grinning Man”, and I’d be inclined to agree.”

The Times: **** “A stunning new musical with puppetry from the director of War Horse, this is a deliciously convoluted tale of the search for truth.”

Time Out: ** ” a brave stab at a new musical that’s no worse and far more interesting than most bog-standard West End fodder.”

Broadway World: *** “Go for the puppets, the singing and the beautiful sets and costumes, but check your comedy and tragedy masks in at the cloakroom because they spend the evening arguing so loudly that they undermine the whole shebang.”

The Telegraph: **** “A dark-hearted Christmas treat.”

The Upcoming: *** “If it’s odd that there’s been no real mention of the music, that’s for good reason. Compared with a recently opened hip-hopera, or even the top-tappers of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, it’s hard not to notice the dearth of memorable tunes or ear-catching lyrics.”

The Reviews Hub: *** ” it would be good to see those teeth bite harder and pierce this occasionally schmaltzy affair.”

Everything Theatre: ***** “a really excellent, enjoyable production.”

London Box Office: **** “It’s daring, provoking, beguiling, probably too long and deeply, darkly weird. You won’t have seen anything like it before, you won’t again and it’ll lodge itself in your psyche for ages afterwards.”

British ***** “The score, book by Carl Grose and music by Tim Phillips and Marc Teitler, is narrative driven, haunting and effective. It’s unlikely to produce a hit single, but that matters little as it condenses Hugo’s huge novel into a cohesive narrative.”

British Theatre Guide: ” most visitors are likely to remember this production for a series of lovely, old-fashioned visual effects”

Theatre Bubble: *** “Visually stunning, yes, with a glorious storytelling concept and an incredibly talented cast – but lacking in any sort of lasting bite.”

Theatre Weekly: **** ” On paper, everything about this musical feels wrong, yet in the production it’s absolutely right; it looks and sounds fantastic with a plot that genuinely keeps you gripped throughout.”

Carn’s Theatre Passion: ***** “The Grinning Man is an astonishing piece of theatre which will appeal to anyone with an appetite for an entertainment which is piquant, curious, original and just a little bit macabre. ”

The Grinning Man continues to play at the Trafalgar Studios until the 17th February. To book tickets click here or visit: ATG Tickets, Encore Tickets, Theatre Tickets, Love,, Last and See






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