The National Theatre production has transferred to Broadway – here’s what critics have had to say about it…

(C)Julieta Cervantes

Deadline: “The cast is assisted – though assisted is too weak a word, so better to say equaled – by a team of master stage workers at the tops of their games, from Mendes, for whom Lehman marks an artistic peak, to sound designer and composer Nick Powell, who has written the gorgeous piano score (played, expertly, by pianist Candida Caldicot seated silent film-style between the audience and the stage). Jon Clark’s lighting design, Katrina Lindsay’s costumes (keep an eye on those long black coats as they prove wittily versatile over decades and genders) and Es Devlin’s instantly iconic spinning cube set.” “Director Sam Mendes builds a gleaming production around them, as though he’s setting jewels. The rare chance to see just one of these men perform is worth the price of admission. All three together — heartbreaking Beale and wall-shaking Lester and the living lightning bolt Godley — is a chance that will not come again.”

Broadway “But for all its surface stylishness, “The Lehman Trilogy” is a stolid and rather monolithic slab of a show: a three hour and twenty minute talking Wikipedia page, so dense with description and narration, and devoid of drama — or even dialogue — that watching it is like watching very expensive paint dry, or maybe, to use a more apt metaphor, listening to cotton growing.”

New York Stage Review: ***** “The imaginative, fast-paced staging by Sam Mendes, demonstrating the art of story theater at its finest, is equally stunning. The actors perform in a large transparent cube, featuring stacks of cartons and modern office furniture, which frequently revolves to showcase different perspectives.”

Time **** “one of the most compelling stage actors in the world, Beale also transforms himself effortlessly into (among others) Henry’s nephew, the precocious and calculator-brained Philip Lehman, and Philip’s daughter-in-law, a demanding divorcée. Godley charms sweetly as the youngest Lehman, Mayer, and shines as the Yale-educated, white-suited Bobbie Lehman and as a coy New York debutante. Lester, in the least showy track, brings authority to his roles as the practical Emanuel Lehman and, later, the progressive New York governor Herbert Lehman.”

The Stage: **** “Adrian Lester makes his Broadway debut in Sam Mendes’ sleek production of Stefano Massini’s play about Lehman Brothers’ legacy in America.” “Visually, the show is a knockout. In Es Devlin’s futuristic scenic design, the revolving stage presents itself as a boxed frame without walls, the better to reveal the family’s dirty secrets without compromising the stark beauty of their world. All it takes is a bit of chalk to advance the date and transform the contours of history. The lighting by Jon Clark is a study in shades of black and grey, with flashes of red whenever the world goes up in flames, as it does so violently when the family’s banking empire collapses, bringing down the world’s financial markets with it.”

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