Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews for Nicholas Hytner’s production based on Harriet Lane’s novel.

Time Out: *** “Hytner’s brisk production, with a live cello score and dynamic set and projections from Bob Crowley and Luke Halls, is effortlessly watchable, and often very funny in its digs at class, privilege and arts hacks.”

The Times: **** “An unsettling thriller from the subculture”

The Guardian: *** “As Frances, Joanne Froggatt, released from incarceration in Downton Abbey, captures with great precision that mixture of charming plausibility and ratlike cunning that Nicholas Tomalin saw as the hallmark of the professional journalist.”

WhatsOnStage: *** “It is all quite enjoyable, but it feels incredibly lightweight. The play and the production reminded me of the whole idea of the boulevard entertainment, those light soufflés of theatre that helped to pass a night out without making anyone think any differently about anything. The tone is darker here, the psychology more twisted, but there is nothing really to disturb or disrupt.”

Broadway World: *** “Joanne Froggatt effectively illustrates Frances’s transformation, although it’s more of an external one: better clothes and hair, more confident speech and manner. While Lane’s Frances is fascinatingly slippery – in part due to her unreliable narration, and the gulf between her thoughts and her interactions with others – the stage incarnation is much simpler, especially with her increasingly dubious tactics signposted in rather soapy ways.”

Evening Standard: **** “Nicholas Hytner’s sleekly efficient production glides over a bare stage dominated by a large cuboid structure and some video projections of rather doubtful quality.”

Exeunt Magazine: “Alys, Always, rather than being a spirited study in stealth, is a machine with no ghost.”

There Ought to be Clowns: “Froggatt is excellent as the near ever-present Frances but even as she takes the audience into her confidence, she remains ephemeral with no sense who she is (does she have no friends?) or what her sociopathic tendencies are pushing for. With no obvious resting place for our sympathies, it’s all a bit alienating.”

The Telegraph: *** “Even if its provenance as a page-turner is tangible, it holds good as a theatrical experience in its own right.”

London Theatre1: *** “The adaption from novel to stage does give the play a clunky feel; some parts seem a bit wooden and the first act especially has a lot of the book’s dialogue crammed in and this leads to the ending becoming hurried.”

Hollywood Reporter: “Coxon fails to offer anything new or insightful, or even particularly funny, about today’s societal and cultural malaise.”

British Theatre Guide: “The likelihood is that this play, which lacks the cut and thrust of the highest quality theatrical drama, will primarily appeal to fans of the novel, although Joanne Froggatt, Robert Glenister and highly promising stage debutante Leah Gayer all have their moments.”

The Metro: ** “Nicholas Hytner’s production lacks the interior richness of the novel and mildly entertains rather than chilling the marrow.”

Alys, Always continues to play at the Bridge Theatre until the 30th March.

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