Review Round Up: Peter Gynt, National Theatre

Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews for Jonathan Kent’s production now playing at the National Theatre.

(C)Manuel Harlan.

Time Out: ** ” increasingly feels like a chore, and a smattering of good humour can’t conceal the play’s fundamental sour slogginess.”

The Independent: **** “this production offers the most laugh-out-loud, feel-bad version I’ve seen of this astonishing, ahead-of-its-time phantasmagoria.”

The Telegraph: ** “The playwright has indicated that Gynt’s myth-making chimes with our brave new digital world of carefully curated individualism, yet the script has an analogue quality. Crowbarring in references to Netflix and Nando’s, he still misses social media allusions (Ibsen conjured a kingdom of trolls after all).”

The Guardian: **** “Hare has fashioned from this unruly epic an intriguing new work that exposes the madness of a modern world where truth is subjective and everything is viewed through the narrow prism of self.”

The Times: ** “What can you do with a play that is so unwieldy that it has been described as unstageable?”

WhatsOnStage: *** “McArdle finds his way to the truth of the play. It is an astonishingly good performance, full of detail as he captures Peter’s shifting moods. He’s not afraid to make the ultimate anti-hero unattractive and unkind, but he never loses sight of the tragic longing at his heart, the desire to matter. He’s the main reason to see the play.”

Evening Standard: ** “Both the Festival and the National Theatre surely hoped that Hare, Kent and McArdle would work the same alchemy on Ibsen’s work that they did on the trilogy of early Chekhov plays in 2015/16.  Unfortunately, the magic is lacking here, though the trolls remain.”

London **** “Partly urban myth, partly a psychological fantasia, it’s exactly the sort of challenging building block of world drama that the National is there to provide us with access to, and probably alone can offer the resources to populate as thrillingly as it does here.”

London Box Office: ** “It’s famously a long, tough evening in the theatre and so it proves again in this current version clocking in at nearly three and a half hours. On this occasion it feels particularly interminable because playwright David Hare, whose adaptation this is, tries to keep things peppy with topical jokey references to contemporary world politics that make blunt satirical points about obvious targets.”

Londonist: *** “Peter Gynt is a fitfully entertaining, three-and-a-half-hour show using the full resources of the huge Olivier stage, with a 25-strong cast marshalled by Jonathan Kent.”

London Theatre1: **** ” A play this long ebbs and flows, as it perhaps should, but it is an engaging and raucous experience.”

The Upcoming: ** “If there is a reason to see this production, it is James McArdle. Though he never attempts to make Gynt likeable, it remains an immensely charismatic performance, regardless of whether Peter is strutting like a childish peacock, indulging in the violent fortunes of the arms trade, or raging at his fate as just another person, an unremarkable soul to be recycled.”

Peter Gynt continues to play at the National Theatre until the 8th October.

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