We take a look at what is being said about Alexander Zeldin’s production, which is playing in London until the 4th November before continuing its European tour.

Photograph: Christophe Raynaud de Lage

WhatsOnStage: **** “The entire endeavour serves as a reminder of just how extraordinary an ordinary life can be but also of the magical story-telling nature of theatre itself, the way it can take one person’s experience and forge it into a tale for the ages, a collective fable of self-realisation and hope.”

The Guardian: ***** “Ultimately, it is hard to pin this profoundly moving play down to its depths. It is a piece of alchemy and an expression of love.”

Evening Standard: **** “The people Alice escapes are more crudely realised than the equally horrible people she meets in the world of art and academia. It irked me that creativity is seen as her only route to ennoblement, given Zeldin has dignified all sorts of lives in the past. But maybe this is a truly biographical nugget in a play that blends life and art into something captivating.”

The Stage: **** “Eryn Jean Norvill gives a gripping central performance in this intimate and absorbing portrait of one woman’s life.”

The Telegraph: **** “Alexander Zeldin’s latest, riveting, deeply stirring play shows the last half of the 1900s via one woman’s often harsh experiences of it.”

Time Out: **** “Every choice in Zeldin’s twirling episodic history is deliberate. A sexual assault occurs unseen and offstage, yet we wait and sit in throbbing silence while it happens. Time is always ticking, slowly, forwards – and the whole time the inevitability of mortality is there. This is a play that reflects life’s great tragedies, everyday aches and excruciating losses. But, though Alice’s journey is difficult and netted with hurt, Zeldin’s script never demands sympathy.”

The Independent: *** “Alexander Zeldin’s new production is based on the life of his own mother, but his most personal work yet doesn’t have the naturalistic power of his acclaimed earlier trilogy of plays.”

The Arts Desk: **** “How to describe Alexander Zeldin’s latest, The Confessions? It is almost a kitchen-sink drama, but also a picaresque trawl through the life of an Australian woman that’s verging on epic, spanning most of her 80 years. And it’s stirring stuff, alternately enraging, sad and very funny.”

The Reviews Hub: ** “There is much of interest in The Confessions, but this production feels cold and distant, leaving many of the play’s complexities still tangled.”

London Theatre.co.uk: **** “It’s an intense piece of work but there is humour (especially in the evening class student archetypes). It ends abruptly but at just under two hours long and performed without an interval and spanning decades, it is compelling throughout in its telling of the story of an “ordinary” woman whose life and achievements have been anything but.”

Broadway World: **** “Almost two hours with no interval, inevitably there are flat spots (Pamela Rabe’s lesbian photographer is written and played too broad, like a edgy 80s sitcom character), but the two Alices are never less than wholly engaging. They may not have found themselves in wonderland, but they make the best of things and that’s about as much as anyone can ask of themselves.”

London Unattached.com: “The Confessions is a play that left me pondering on my relationship with my mother, and my own life experiences and choices. Zeldin wants us each to feel this play is about our lives and it has certainly had this effect on me.”

To book tickets visit: https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/productions/the-confessions/


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