Review Round Up: Summer and Smoke, Almeida Theatre

Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews for Rebecca Frecknall’s production now playing at the Almeida Theatre…

summer and smoke

The Guardian: **** “Frecknall’s production, which at the start looked fashionably tricksy, by the end had me totally in its grip. It restores Williams’s wrongly neglected play to a central place in the canon.”

The Times: ***** “This is a delicate and moving portrait of repression and attraction, all the more powerful for the way that the stage has been stripped bare.”

The Telegraph: ***** “it’s a case of rush to see this now, or live to regret it.”

The Stage: ***** “Watching the production is like watching a bruise form on a piece of flesh. Sometimes it may take 70 years for a play to find the right director, the right production, and so find itself. It’s worth the wait.”

WhatsOnStage: **** ” A spellbinding, brilliantly acted revival.”

Culture Whisper: ***** “Lee Curran’s gentle lighting design basks the stage in a warm and earthy glow, subtly undermining the rising tension which inevitably erupts into a devastating violent act. ”

Time Out: ***** “The staging concept Frecknall and designer Tom Scutt have hit upon is both brilliant and simple.”

The Independent: ***** “Frecknall’s production has a ballsy confidence in its non-naturalistic approach, rescuing Williams’ play from polite fussiness, but there’s also delicacy and precision.”

The FT: ***** “It’s superb stuff: sensual, shimmering and sad.”

Evening Standard:  *** “Rebecca Frecknall’s try-hard production leaves both the surrounds and surrounding characters looking diminished in the first half.”

Broadway World: ***** “Summer and Smoke soars like the thermometer on a dog day afternoon in Mississippi.”

British **** “The fluidity of the play is taken to the next level, with each scene merging seamlessly into the next, signalled by the sophisticated lighting design by Lee Curran. It adds to the dream-like, poetic feel of the production, at times verging on nightmare, which has such power and resonance that you wonder why this play is not staged more often.”

The Upcoming: ***** “Though it wobbles when away from the leads – more a problem with the narrative than anything else, as the play lacks a particularly well-developed set of ancillary characters – the director has produced something sensual while avoiding the sickly Southern sentiment that’s a danger with Williams.”

London **** “The text requires fluid direction, with scenes flowing into one another and only subtle changes in the lighting signifying they we’ve moved on. It’s used to great effect here, and Lee Curran’s lighting is delicate and dramatic. It fills Tom Scutt’s dust-filled, stripped back designs with texture. ”

Theatre Bubble: **** “Not signifying any of this passage of time is a brave move, absolutely – never doubt the intelligence of your audience – but one that ultimately obstruct Frecknall’s otherwise godly storytelling power.”

British Theatre Guide: “Rather than creating a coherent stage play from the material, this production comprises a series of brief scenes in empty spaces that never come together to present the community of the ironically named Glorious Hill. ”

City AM: ***** “At the centre of it all is Patsy Ferran as Alma. She’s incredible throughout, nailing the tricky balance between awkward humour and heart-rending sadness.”

Summer and Smoke continues to play at the Almeida Theatre until the 7th April. For more information and to book tickets visit:


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