Discover what critics have had to say about this new musical starring Beverley Knight.

© Manuel Harlan

Broadway World: *** “Sharon Rose is an earnest and likeable Sylvia; strongly conveying Pankhurst’s passionate socialist beliefs and striding the stage with great purpose. She also has a sparkling clarity to her voice.”

WhatsOnStage: **** “As a 21st century musical, it may lack the intellect of Hamilton or the brevity of Six, but it is still tremendous fun. It celebrates the empowerment of women and the breaking down of barriers and is not afraid to question our preconceptions of the accepted history. It’s a brave and vibrant hit at the Old Vic.”

The Guardian: **** “Diverse casting effectively reclaims the movement from the shadow of “white woman” feminism. One niggle is that well-known activists of colour such as Sophia Duleep Singh do not feature, and working-class characters might have been portrayed in a meatier way. But these are niggles. This is a storm of a show which can easily be re-envisaged for the West End.”

Evening Standard: *** “The score is through-written so almost everything is sung. The bass-driven funk of the early numbers is effective, the sibling chat-song Hey Sis clever and funny and the final anthems Stand Up/Rise Up irresistibly rousing. Kelly Agbowu delivers some slightly harder-edged rap as a suffragette ‘General’.”

Time Out: *** “But despite a dynamite cast, ZooNation director Kate Prince’s ‘Sylvia’ probably won’t get audiences rioting in the streets. Retooled after an Old Vic run in 2018 that was hastily restyled as a work-in-progress, it’s now polished but painfully polite, steering clear of political rabble-rousing in favour of a historically faithful trundle through early twentieth-century politics.”

London Unattached: “You come away from Sylvia feeling you’ve seen something lively, stirring and heartfelt, packed full of brilliant performances and overall very enjoyable. But you’re also left with a sense that it could have gone a little further, made a more modern point, and engaged with more difficult ideas, but alas it is just not meant to be. There’s lots to love about this production, but one feels that Kate Prince has more she can deliver, she certainly has more punches to throw. Sylvia deserves a West End reboot, but hopefully with a little more fire.”

All That Dazzles: **** “An exceptional cast led by a possibly career best by Beverley Knight and a powerhouse performance from Sharon Rose mix with strong production elements in a show that is always truly captivating to see and hear. Taking such an important aspect of history and retelling it in such a new way elicits a powerful response. While it might not be completely perfect as yet, its imperfections are what adds to its charms in a show you can’t help but fall in love with.”

The Reviews Hub: **** “The storytelling becomes a little wayward in places, Sylvia’s adoration of Hardy is given too much attention, the love story weighing down the plot, as is her time in the East End in 1914 while the years 1918-28 receive only a montage treatment that doesn’t tell the audience nearly enough about how Sylvia was able to translate votes for some women into an eventual extension of the franchise to all, a period of Suffragette activity that receives next to no attention. There is also a huge energy lag when men are left alone on stage to politic and preside as the audience wait for the women to return. But its faults are not enough to deter an audience embracing the exciting style and storytelling.”

London Theatre Reviews: **** “‘Sylvia’ completely deserves its second chance at a fully-realised production, and while it still needs some work to fix issues around pacing and narrative balance, it’s an important story told in a vibrant and powerful way with star performances and stunning visuals.  We should never forget what’s gone before us in the search for equality, and ‘Sylvia’ celebrates the strength of the revolutionary women who changed the world forever.”

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