We take a look at what is being said about this revival of Jonathan Harvey’s play.
The Guardian: **** “Harvey’s play goes to challenging places – violence offstage and on, the fear that lives might already be written off at 16. Anthony Simpson-Pike’s direction knows when to hold a silence, to feel the doubt beneath the banter. Yet even in the bleakest moments, Elliot Griggs’ lighting insists on a little magic, glowing with peach and raspberry.”
The Stage: *** “Anthony Simpson-Pike’s enjoyable revival, starring Rilwan Abiola Owokoniran and Raphael Akuwudike, reinforces Jonathan Harvey’s play as a cultural landmark.”
City Am: **** “It is held together by a brilliant cast, not least Rilwan Abiola Owokoniran, who stepped into the role of Jamie at the last minute and has somehow cooked up delicious chemistry with Raphael Akuwudike who plays Ste. And it was a brilliant move to bring a black cast to this formerly white story.”
Evening Standard: **** “We’ve got Heartstopper now. We’ve got gender discourse. You’d think the radicalism of Beautiful Thing has dimmed. Far from it. Even if it clunks occasionally, Simpson-Pike’s production, without much fuss, renews the play’s claim to gay greatness.”
Broadway World: *** “The show is generally delightful, but one can’t shake the feeling that there’s so much more to explore. Simpson-Pike crafts a beautiful revival that ends with an adorable moment that ties the community together, but the script seems to forget the main reason the two boys connected in the first place. There could be a deeper exploration of class, homophobia, and the horrors of domestic violence that’s unfortunately discarded for the benefit of a laugh. Designer Rosie Elnile’s set with its stark grey run-down walls is almost the only reminder of their background. We perhaps look for more these days.”
Theatre Weekly: “Beautiful Thing continues to be relevant because is a well-written, heart-warming and timeless love story. Part of Beautiful Thing’s on-going success is due to its optimism. It is refreshing to see a queer narrative that has a happy ending.”
The Reviews Hub: *** 1/2 “Harvey’s no holds barred writing and sharp humour are on show from the start as the audience, who innately understand the irreverent comedy and queer references, shriek with laughter as Leah asks ‘Oright Sandra?’ as Jamie’s mum, Shvorne Marks, comes out the door and simply responds ‘Slag’. This is a play rightly revered and has been a right of passage for many an actor, as it is superbly written with many chances for actors to shine in these well-rounded characters and hilarity of the dialogue.”
Beautiful Thing continues to play at the Theatre Royal Stratford East until the 7th October.