Review Round Up: Caroline, Or Change, Hampstead Theatre

With the news that Michael Longhurst’s production is set to transfer to the Playhouse Theatre , here’s what critics have made of the show at the Hampstead Theatre…


1963. In quiet Lake Charles, Louisiana, the destruction of a Confederate statue might just signal that change is in the air… But, whatever the progress of the civil rights movement, in the Gellman household things seem just the same – for now at least.

Eight year old Noah, heartbroken by the death of his mother and his father’s remarriage, sneaks down to the basement to spend time with the black maid he idolises, Caroline Thibodeaux: Caroline who runs everything. Whilst the basement may seem a fantastical place – even the appliances have a voice of their own – Caroline’s work there is repetitive and badly paid. But when Mrs Gellman comes up with a way for her to take a little more money home, the consequences for Caroline and Noah’s relationship are not what anybody might have expected…

London Theatre1: ***** “This is a remarkably compelling production, gritty and sorrowful, brilliantly performed.”

WhatsOnStage: ***** “All in all, a thought-provoking and satisfying joy.”

Time Out: **** “Kushner’s writing achieves something rare: it points to hope, while issuing a reminder that what looks like change can be just going round in so many circles.”

A Younger Theatre: “Do you want to see Caroline, Or Change? If you like strong vocal performances; if you live for catchy music; if you are prepared to go on that emotional journey, then the answer is a resounding yes.”

Exeunt Magazine: “Michael Longhurst directs with exceptional style and control, yet there’s raw and untamed emotion too. ”

The Times: ***** “With Donald Trump in the White House and protest in the air, this extraordinary 2003 musical by Tony Kushner and the composer Jeanine Tesori feels right on the money.”

Broadway World: **** “This is a must see for theatregoers – you don’t want to miss Sharon D Clarke giving the masterclass of all masterclasses in this stellar revival.”

The Upcoming: ***** “Michael Longhurst’s production is exceptional, allowing the production to stand still and let moments of great emotional power shine through, but not neglecting the exuberance and humour of much of the score.”

Diary of a Londoness: “I could wax lyrical about Sharon D. Clarke during this whole review, and leave room for nothing else. She’s fierce, terrifyingly muted at moments, then like a caterpillar to a butterfly, transforms into an operatic queen. She’s a total, bewitching joy to watch.”

Evening Standard: ***** “Director Michael Longhurst’s work is sinuous and stylish – just look at the fun he has with the personified, singing Washing Machine (Me’sha Bryan), dressed in an exuberant costume of plastic soap bubbles – and amounts to a production of real grace.”

Musical Theatre Review: **** “For anyone interested in the musical theatre a visit to this sublime show is a must.”

Ham High: **** “Michael Longhurst’s slow burning, heartfelt production also features Abiona Omonua’s memorable Emmie, who embodies a spirited protest against injustice.”

Camden New Journal: “As well as packing an emotional punch, the show – which is almost entirely singing throughout – makes an impact because the music is both witty and wonderfully written by Tony Kushner. Plus the innovative storyline, with its unpredictable elements of brashness and subtlety, combine to create a triumph.”

British Theatre Guide: “While Sharon D Clarke is undoubtedly the star of the show, both as an actress and singer, she gets good support from the whole cast, with Teddy Kempner making a particular strong impression as Rose’s father, the communist-leaning Jewish patriarch Mr Stopnick.”

The Jewish Chronicle: ***** “It’s an impeccably acted and beautifully sung show, and both of these qualities are no better embodied than by the superb Sharon D Clarke’s Caroline.” ***** “The supporting cast all shine, the staging is ingenious, the musical itself is an intimate masterpiece that works brilliantly in the relatively small Hampstead Theatre.”

Express: **** “Michael Longhurst’s production is elegant, sharp and excellently cast.”

There Ought to be Clowns:  “With the magnificent Sharon D Clarke at the helm, Caroline, or Change transfers to the Hampstead Theatre London with all its power intact.”

Caroline, Or Change continues to play at the Hampstead Theatre until the 21st April. For more information visit:



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