Review Round Up: Girls and Boys, Royal Court Theatre

Carey Mulligan stars in Dennis Kelly’s play about one ordinary family falling apart. But what have critics been saying about it? 

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An unexpected meeting at an airport leads to an intense, passionate, head-over-heels relationship. Before long they begin to settle down, buy a house, juggle careers, have kids – theirs is an ordinary family. But then their world starts to unravel and things take a disturbing turn.

WhatsOnStage: **** “Carey Mulligan stands centre stage, in a sky-blue box, and begins to tell us her story. She’s warm and engaging, confident and charming, and the tale she tells is full of humour.”

Time Out: **** “If Carey Mulligan fancied a second career as a stand-up comedian she’d totally nail it. Dennis Kelly’s new play is a perfect vehicle for her compelling mix of composure, nervy energy and deadpan wit.”

Radio Times: **** “90 minutes is a long time for a one-person play with no interval, but Mulligan is more than equal to the challenge. She’s utterly devastating.”

The Guardian: *** “Mulligan is brilliant at engaging with the audience and charting the gradations of the relationship with the husband. ”

The Stage: *** “Mulligan’s performance is calculatedly one-note. Her flat voice gallops through the lines, her arms stay closely by her side. The stillness and quiet are at odds with the recurring theme of violence in Mulligan’s words.”

The Independent: **** “A remarkable return for Mulligan.”

Evening Standard: **** “Carey Mulligan has a luminous and unusual stage presence, an ability to seem both quiet and purposeful, both elfin and steely. In this tragicomic monologue by Dennis Kelly, her vivid and often conspiratorial performance makes her nameless character transfixing.”

Variety: “It doesn’t always feel like Kelly’s story to tell — something about Mulligan’s character betrays a male author — but he tells it brilliantly, writing with such specificity to demand our credibility and peppering it with gasps that director Lyndsey Turner’s fine-tuned production delivers. ”

The Metro:**** “The play is strongest when it depicts that fact as tragic and biological, rather than speculate about men and gender as a whole.”

The Times: ** “First-rate acting from Carey Mulligan can’t distract from the fact that the script is unconvincing.”

London ***** “It’s not a comfortable play to watch – yet it’s impossible to look away. It is one of the acting achievements of the year so far.”

A Younger Theatre: “Mulligan, as our unnamed narrator, is incredible. Beginning at joy and ending at pain, she drags us through it all with her. She has excellent comic timing, something I hadn’t necessarily paired her with in my mind.”

Exeunt Magazine: “Girls & Boys uses the Royal Court much like a lecture theatre, aiming to educate the audience on an extremely important issue. It’s hard not to commend it for that, but this format of communication risks feeling patronising.”

Broadway World: ***** “This is impeccably constructed theatre that feels almost unbearably real, and so very human. It sets a high bar for new writing in 2018.”

The Upcoming: ***** “Girls and Boys achieves what the best plays do: the ability to send its audience away with fathoms, acres to ponder on.”

The Telegraph: ***** ” the Royal Court is usually at its best when it addresses the subject of violence and here, thanks above all to Mulligan’s tour de force, its main-house offering strikes annihilatingly home.”

Girls and Boys continues to play at the Royal Court Theatre until the 17th March. For more information and to book tickets visit:




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