Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews for Polly Findlay’s production starring Roger Allam.
The Times: **** “The National Theatre’s oppressive but inspiring revival is far more than a one-man show. Yet it is Roger Allam’s northern powerhouse of a central performance that sets its weather. It is Allam’s huge presence but sure touch that makes something so galvanising of a harsh, self-made man with a bone-deep sense he is in the right.”
Londonist: **** “Every good drama has its gear change moment, the point at which you move from passively watching to completely hooked. It’s no coincidence that in Rutherford And Son, things start to steam along from the moment titular star Roger Allam comes on stage, half way into the first act.”
WhatsOnStage: **** “It’s a long, wordy piece, with the heavy three-act structure of its time, but Findlay and the cast make it compelling, wringing every ounce of meaning and sense out of each line.”
The Guardian: **** “Allam, who is magnificent as Rutherford. He presents us with a man who rarely shouts or blusters because he exercises power as if by divine right.”
London Theatre.co.uk: **** “If Polly Findlay’s production is altogether more epic than either of those more intimate studio productions, it reveals yet again the enduring slow-burning, and eventually churning, power of this play, and now places it firmly in the reclaimed, rather than lost, corner of world drama.”
Evening Standard: **** “Before the interval the production’s pace is dauntingly slow, and there are eerie musical interludes that don’t actually conjure much atmosphere. But the long second half is absorbing and its closing moments are startlingly staged.”
Time Out: **** “Sometimes Findlay’s production feels a bit plodding, straitjacketed by period detail. But her exemplary cast vault most of the hurdles. And a big shout-out to dialect coach Daniele Lydon: to these Midlands ears the old-fashioned north-east accents are pretty much note-perfect; in a world in which actors still tend to default to something like RP (especially in period dramas), the accents here give everything a surprising freshness.”
The Telegraph: **** “it took a burst of interest in the Eighties and Nineties to fix the play – drawing on Sowerby’s own upbringing in a Gateshead glass-making family – firmly in the repertoire after years of neglect.”
Culture Whisper: *** “Findlay’s production may not be perfect, but it certainly succeeds at highlighting the astonishing insight Sowerby’s play demonstrates of the era. It’s good to see that Rutherford and Son is now firmly established as canon, and let’s hope it remains so.”
London Box Office: **** “This is one of those productions where the writing, acting, design and direction is as good as you’d expect from a National Theatre.”
Broadway World: **** “A sometimes cumbersome drama, but such details are worth the effort to mine from it in this thoughtful and affecting revival.”
Plays to See: **** “So in many ways, it is in reviving this play of our semi-recent past that helps us question how much has really changed. That makes this a timely and fascinating revival and well worth seeing.”
Rutherford & Son continues to play at the National Theatre until the 3rd August.