Review Round Up: Nine Night, National Theatre

The National Theatre presents Natasha Gordon’s debut play, directed by Roy Alexander Weise and stars Franc Ashman, Oliver Alvin-Wilson and Michelle Greenidge among the cast. Here’s what critics have been saying about it…

Nine Night

Gloria is gravely sick. When her time comes, the celebration begins; the traditional Jamaican Nine Night Wake. But for Gloria’s children and grandchildren, marking her death with a party that lasts over a week is a test. Nine nights of music, food, sharing stories – and an endless parade of mourners.

The Guardian: **** “Roy Alexander Weise’s production has real momentum and underscores Gordon’s gift for raising big issues through laughter.”

The Stage: ***** ” what we have here is a pure tale about a regular family, dealing with a regular fact of life. This play is a gift, and you’d do well to go and receive it.”

The Independent: **** “Natasha Gordon’s debut play buzzes with comic energy and boasts moments of affecting intensity as it portrays a Jamaican family coping with grief.”

The Telegraph: *** “Assisted by director Roy Alexander Weise’s accomplished, authentic-feeling production, Gordon catches well that aching time around the death of a loved one when those affected can’t give way to grief: distraction is everything, sadness bubbles away and tempers fray under the stress of additional hosting duties.”

WhatsOnStage: *** “If Natasha Gordon’s boisterous first play follows the form too closely – you see the cogs whirring beneath – it raises a wealth of issues around identity, inheritance and immigration in the British Jamaican community; a sector of society at the forefront of the news cycle as the Windrush scandal rumbles on.”

London **** “The play may feel slightly formulaic, but it is acted with such warmth that it emerges as both a bracing and embracing family story that we can all relate to.”

Time Out: **** ” Gordon’s intense, moving play pulls the focus tightly on a grieving family, and the mingled strains and comforts that tradition offers.”

Broadway World: **** “Whether or not this play speaks to you personally, it’s an undeniably important piece that both celebrates and gives a voice to the Windrush generation and its descendants living in Britain today.”

Evening Standard: ***** “At first the play seems straightforward and soapy, but it transforms into an eloquent vision of what it means to be haunted by the past, all the more potent given the current political clamour around Windrush.”

The Daily Mail: **** “Here is a refreshingly rooted, timely salute to the British West Indian tradition. It is written and acted with zest and it reverberates with an authenticity too often lacking from the modern stage.”

The Upcoming: **** “So yes, well done National Theatre for putting on something like Nine Night (or The Great Wave, or Barber Shop Chronicles, or John). But shame on you for not putting them in a bigger space.”

The Reviews Hub: **** “Roy Alexander Weise keeps the action flowing well with only the occasional sag in energy, making Nine Night an engaging family drama and a wonderful celebration of Jamaican culture in the UK.”

British Theatre Guide: “While this may not be the most polished play that the National will present this year, Nine Night does shine a light on an important aspect of contemporary British culture, conveniently for the theatre highlighted by the departure of the Home Secretary over the Windrush scandal in the run-up to opening night. It also offers great fun and an outstanding performance from Cecilia Noble.”

Nine Night continues to play at the National Theatre until the 26th May. For more information visit:


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