Review Round Up: The Sunset Limited, Boulevard Theatre

We find out what critics have had to say about Cormac McCarthy’s two handed play starring Gary Beadle and Jasper Britton.

(c)Mark Brenner.

WhatsOnStage: *** “Thought-provoking and technically impressive, but frustratingly elliptical as a piece of drama, this feels like an evening that is more to admire than truly engage with.” 

The Guardian: ** “Gary Beadle and Jasper Britton put in masterful performances all the same, and there is chemistry between them as they eke out the humour in their lines. Britton exudes moroseness and dry wit while Beadle is charismatic, with a machine-gun rhythm to his words. Terry Johnson’s direction also works hard to lift the play out of stasis, and for a while it feels animated by sound effects and the men’s movement.”

The Stage: *** “In his sparse and static direction, Johnson does little to remedy the fact that the play is almost entirely without drama. After the boldness and strangeness of the Boulevard’s inaugural production, Ghost Quartet, this sophomore production is a weird choice, and it’s hard to understand the case for a revival now.”

London **** “This is beautifully communicated in Terry Johnson’s tight, taut production on this intimate stage in performances of wrenching feeling.”

Evening Standard: *** “McCarthy doesn’t care about our boring expectations of character or action. For him its all about the elegance and rigour of the debate, and of course, about who wins. His play is not without rewards, but you need to be match fit for an intellectually strenuous evening. Seriously.”

The Telegraph: **** “as bleak and midwintery as anything by Samuel Beckett.”

The Reviews Hub: *** 1/2 “At 90 minutes McCarthy’s play is too long especially as the theological conversation goes nowhere, only in circles. But it’s a brilliant showcase for these two talented actors.”

Time Out: *** “At times, McCarthy’s script feels overly enthralled to the dense, words-filled pages of his usual form, the novel, where the author is fully in charge. Here, the drama is in the ideas, not the theatrical experience.”

Culture Whisper: *** “Terry Johnson’s direction puts the emphasis on the text over theatricality, with full space and weight given to the intensity of the language and imagery.”

London Theatre **** “The Sunset Limited is an example of how two monologues can form a perfectly directed and executed play. Britton and Beadle are wonderful and their performance is spotless as well as intense.”

Theatre Weekly: *** “The Sunset Limited is more darkness than light, but the themes it explores are timely and increasingly relevant in the modern world.  It often asks questions, but rarely provides answers, choosing to stay on the platform rather than take a definitive leap towards either faith or reason.”

British Theatre Guide: “Although it would undoubtedly come across well on the page, allowing readers time for thought and contemplation along the way, The Sunset Limited has enough drama and well-balanced, varied debate to offer much to those sitting in a theatre as well.”

The Sunset Limited continues to play at the Boulevard Theatre until the 29th February.

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