Review Round Up: The Son, Kiln Theatre

Michael Longhurst directs the UK premiere of Florian Zeller’s play. Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews…

WhatsOnStage: *** “As an exploration of parental impotence in the face of a child seemingly set on doing himself harm, The Son is an absorbing, and uncomfortable, experience. By keeping the reasons for Nicolas’s depression ambiguous, however, Zeller misses an opportunity to introduce a sense of urgency and relevance that might have benefited the play.”

The Stage: **** “The Son captivates in its enveloping feeling of inevitability, something that’s aided by Isobel Waller-Bridge’s disconcertingly ominous sound design. While it’s clear exactly what’s going to happen, as with all classic tragedies, everyone is powerless to prevent it. Zeller makes a virtue out of this predictability and the terrifying realisation that screaming louder won’t stop the runaway train.”

The Telegraph: ***** “To my mind, The Son is every bit the equal of The Father and, eschewing the riddling quality found in earlier works, in some ways it even eclipses it; the surgical precision of the writing achieves a devastating visceral impact.”

Londonist: **** “The Son is a moving drama that asks searching questions about children’s demands and parental responsibility.”

Time Out: *** “Zeller is always going to seem pretty good while he attracts casts and creative teams of this calibre, but ‘The Son’ really would be in trouble without them.”

The Times: ***** “Superbly acted, with a rhythm that keeps you on the edge of your seat, this final part of Florian Zeller’s trilogy is the most powerful of all.”

Broadway World: **** “The Son strays from Zeller’s previous ambiguity but enters a bigger conversation, bringing its harrowing views to it. He introduces characters who are flawed human beings, too focused on their own lives to be able to see the full picture even when their own teenage child is flirting with death.”

The Arts Desk: **** “Michael Longhurst’s powerful production, helped by Lizzie Clachan’s broad beige set, with its broken stag’s head, and accompanied by great blasts of tempestuous music by Isobel Waller-Bridge, runs like clockwork.”

Evening Standard:**** “The Son wrong-foots the audience much less than Zeller’s plays tend to, lacking some of his usual teasing ambiguity. But it has a harrowing directness.”

The Guardian: **** “One of the play’s many virtues is that it provides no easy explanation for Nicolas’s condition. It may spring from the divided loyalty he feels towards his divorced parents or it may have its origins in Pierre’s own difficult relationship with his father. But Zeller doesn’t analyse depression: he simply presents it as it frighteningly is.”

British Theatre Guide: “This is a high-quality piece of theatre that will leave visitors pondering moral issues long after they depart the theatre.”

The Son continues to play at the Kiln Theatre until the 6th April.

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