Review Round Up: Under the Black Rock, Arcola Theatre

We round up the reviews for Tim Edge’s play, starring Evanna Lynch at the Arcola Theatre.

Photograph: Gregory Haney

The Guardian: **** “Ben Kavanagh’s production has slick, startling scene changes. A street bombing features the aural backdrop of children playing and then silence as the bomb is detonated. The atmosphere of Ceci Calf’s stage set is that of an interrogation room, while Kavanagh’s sound design resembles a terrible rumble of water.”

Broadway World: *** “Tim Edge’s new play is technically stunning and infused with striking visuals, but a narrative let-down. Directed by Ben Kavanagh, it features a cinematic vibe that suffers under strident dialogue and characters that lean towards stock figurines: the stubborn daughter, the Catholic priest who harbours rebels, hardened women and even rougher men, and an eccentric, sardonic older lady.”

Time Out: *** “Edge’s endlessly surprising script covers a huge amount of ground but keeps up the propulsive momentum. From hushed scenes of extremist planning, we hurtle onto verbal family spats and head-on confrontations with the other side. Supported by Joseph Ed Thomas’s eerie lighting design, it has all the intensity of a good thriller.”

The Reviews Hub: **** “It is a serious play, well-acted by a strong ensemble cast, supported by a striking set design from Ceci Calf, an excellent sound design by the director Ben Kavanagh, and some magnificently deployed lighting designed by Joseph Ed Thomas, emphasising dramatic moments with subtle colour choices and superb use of intensity and shadow.”

The Upcoming: *** “Actress Flora Montgomery deserves a special mention. Even though it is Evanna Lynch’s face on the poster, Montgomery’s performance is the most memorable. She effortlessly goes from being the leader of an extremist group to a mother mourning her child, ruthless one moment and entirely vulnerable the next.”

The Spy in Stalls: *** “This is ultimately an excellent play still in the works. With a lot of fine-tuning and a few cuts, it could be devastating and magnificent.”

Page to Stage Reviews: *** “Under the Black Rock is a creatively staged production about the Troubles in Northern Ireland, filled with powerhouse actors. And while the set and props are minimal, they are used creatively – serving to magnify the individual performances and making for smooth transitions between events.”

Under the Black Rock continues to play at the Arcola Theatre until the 25th March.

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