Review Round Up: Marvellous, @Sohoplace

We take a look at what critics have had to say about the first production to open the new theatre….

(c) Craig Sugden

WhatsOnStage: **** “Another striking point – Marvellous is one of the first times a West End show seemed to authentically present elements of neurodiversity in both casting and script (Baldwin is said to have the ill-fitting brand of “learning difficulties”), while never overly laden with sign-posting or preaching.”

The Telegraph: **** “It is, superficially, highly incongruous in hip, fashionista Soho, but having seen it up in Stoke, I can avouch that the acoustic, and vibe, is better here. The come-one, come-all spirit of the new venue suits the daffy alchemy of an evening which starts like a potentially alienating in-joke and builds, by degrees and via an ingredient-spattering cooking session, to a shared delirium of life-affirming silliness.”

Evening Standard: **** “Still, my reservations were steadily and sweetly dismantled. Much of this is down to Hugo, whose impeccable timing is matched by his rubbery physicality, and Suzanne Ahmet, heartwarming and heartbreaking as Neil’s mum, Mary. Around them, Heskins constructs a larky narrative that shifts back and forth in time and works on several ‘meta’ levels.”

Time Out: **** “It’s rare to get a show (outside of panto season) that has so many moments of absolute child-like wonder and delight.”

All That Dazzles: **** “Marvellous truly is a remarkable show. The way it can elicit a smile on your face immediately and keep it glued there for the next two and a bit hours is second to none. It somehow manages to be hilarious as well as touching, heartfelt and incredibly thoughtful – this is a show that isn’t afraid to poke fun at itself and its themes but is deeply intelligent in the way this is carried out.”

The Stage: *** “Touching tribute to Neil Baldwin’s remarkable life lifts the curtain of Nica Burns’ new @sohoplace theatre.”

Broadway World: *** “There was always a danger of this happening with Marvellous and, churlish as I am in saying so, the twee and tricksy overpowers the charm and chummy in this stage version of the story of Neil Baldwin: clown, kit man and compadre of the great and good.”

The Times: **** “I can feel the adjectives queueing up in my head, ready to describe how this unique show depicts a unique man. “Beautiful . . . hilarious . . . heartbreaking . . . heartwarming . . . playful . . . defiant . . . life-affirming . . .” They all do a job without quite nailing the appeal of this tale of Neil Baldwin, the 76-year-old from Newcastle-under-Lyme who has found his own way to have fun and spread happiness.”

British Theatre Guide: “Teresa Heskins’s direction moves things rapidly on a largely clear stage, though Lis Evans’s design includes huge, colourful letters hanging overhead that spell out Marvellous (a word that is one of Neil’s favourites) and there are colourful costumes. It’s a cast that has good control of its pratfalls and mimes football as though there’s a real ball there and it rushes along with a light touch matching Neil’s idea that you should always try to be happy and make others happy.”

Marvellous continues to play @Sohoplace until the 26th November. Book your tickets here.

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