The revival of Yasmina Reza’s play has officially opened at the Lyric Hammersmith. We round up what is being said….

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The Guardian: *** “There is a certain deliciousness in seeing these characters unravel as they hit the gin and shoot their pseudo-polite salvoes. The play’s punches do not land as hard as they might, although there is a clear sense that these self-centred characters have all but lost sight of little Ferdinand and Bruno.”

Evening Standard: *** “By taking life and turning it up a notch, by having them all act so much like they’re acting, La Barrie doesn’t quite trust the play to work on its own terms. As translated by Christopher Hampton, Reza’s dialogue has a machine-tooled rhythm. La Barrie’s production never quite finds that precision. It’s like someone playing the drums and never quite hitting the metronome beat.”

The Telegraph: ** “Reza’s tale of two sets of parents trying and failing to resolve an incident involving their offspring falls flat in this new staging.”

London ** “Despite these accolades, Nicholai La Barrie’s production, while well done with what he has to work with and capably performed (Agyeman is the strongest), doesn’t make a convincing case for why this play, which is far from a great piece of writing, should be revived. So much can change in 15 years, even if Succession has shown that rich people being miserable while wearing expensive neutrals does have huge appeal.”

British Theatre Guide: “A timely production, Reza packs a mighty fist in a soft glove until the gloves come off. I wonder is vomit the salient metaphor… Ninety minutes with no interval keeps us glued to our seats on a very hot night in every sense.”

London Theatre Reviews: **** “God of Carnage is a satirical comedy about warring middle-class parents desperate to uphold the veneer of civility, but incapable of masking the anger, recklessness and ultimately the decline and degradation. The book is 15 years old, but the context still speaks strongly to this day.”

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Time Out: *** “But it’s still worth a revival, and it’s hard to imagine that Reza’s nihilistic but – let’s be honest – bang-on observations on human selfishness will ever lose their relevance.”

West End Best Friend: *** “With skilled direction from Nicholai La Barrie, the actors are able to make use of this motion, moving around the set with ease to showcase every single side of it and in doing so, every single side of the story. And, just like the set is going in circles, so too is the conversation – there is no resolution. But unlike the set, there’s not much revolution either.”

WhatsOnStage: ** “As a result, the comedy is both flattened and over-signalled.  The desire to shock – including one word used savagely and out of the blue – has no justification in anything that has been built before. The most interesting thing on stage is the way that Richard Howell’s string of lights fall gently to the floor, surrounding Lily Arnold’s revolving stage, turning it into an arena.  But within that circle of human conflict, both play and production fail to reveal anything much.”

The Upcoming: *** “Reza has in the past rejected the idea of her works being described as comedies, insisting they are in fact tragedies, albeit funny ones. La Barrie undoubtedly captures the undercurrent of humour rippling throughout the 90 minutes, however, the four characters are rendered somewhat robotic and perfunctory in the process. “

Theatre Weekly: “However, this God of Carnage is somewhat saved by strong direction, and whether it’s supposed to be a comedy or not, it certainly does have some very funny scenes. Yasmina Reza’s themes shine through and despite the issues with the characters we can probably all recognise them, this is ultimately an enjoyable revival with a talented cast.”

©The Other Richard

All That Dazzles: **** “It’s a funny word, ‘Carnage’. After seeing this production of God of Carnage at the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith, maybe I’m persuaded that this truly is the most chaotic ‘Carnage’ of them all – proving that the pen is mightier than the sword, the most bite comes from the venom of Reza’s characters. Despite coming in at 90 minutes without an interval, it moves so fast that you barely realise the time as it reaches its climax as God of Carnage lets rip in the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith, a true delight for those of us who revel in the depths of a pitch-black dark comedy.”

The Stage: **** “Exuberant performances animate this revival of Yazmina Reza’s award-winning dark comedy”

Broadway World: *** “It’s good fun, but the last half hour of the 90 interval-less minutes drags. The dissection of their personalities and attitudes towards society doesn’t really go anywhere either; it’s an amusing, hyperbolic, melodramatic cut-out of a pretentious dispute between well-off fantoccini made to detonate in a controlled environment.”

London Theatre 1: *** “God Of Carnage at its core shows how civilised people can soon turn on each other and how a veneer of normal social conventions can be so easily stripped away and turn into psychodrama. As an attack on the bourgeoisie (most of the audience?), it seems we’re supposed to see either ourselves or people we know in these characters – fortunately, I didn’t recognise anyone I know and hopefully never will.”

Lost in Theatreland: **** “God of Carnage is a heavily concept-driven play, with a wonderful set design and talented cast. While at times the plot can feel as though it is moving slowly, overall, this is an interesting watch that reflects the state of our world, leaving the audience with much to reflect on.”

There Ought to be Clowns: “Freema Agyeman is perfection as passive-aggressive virtuoso Veronica, her priorities so in the wrong place yet still the one most devoted to resolving the situation with their sons and Martin Hutson is hilarious as her husband Michael, teetering on canyons of despair – their interplay is a masterclass in tiny details speaking volumes. Ariyon Bakare and Dinita Gohil explore the different, but no less tense dynamics in the marriage between Alan and Annette, him being glued to his phone somewhat prescient to this day and age. Short and sharp, and deceptive in the way it suggests deep philosophical discussion are imminent, it insteads just laughs at what fools we be when pushed to extremes.”

God of Carnage continues to play until the 30th September.


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