We round up the reviews for Rory Mullarkey’s play, playing at the Royal Court Theatre until the 16th December.

(c)Manuel Harlan

Time Out: “But as the story progresses, it never actually seems to come across a point. There’s some fun oligarch dissing – including a delightful joke about the Evening Standard Theatre Awards – but Mullarkey doesn’t actually have anything cogent to say about either the British upper classes or the influence of Russian money on our society. Instead his play just vaguely apes the vibe of a Restoration comedy and apparently takes that as it’s whole raison d’etre.”

The Guardian: ** “The cast put in good performances, particularly George Fouracres as Tug’s awful best friend Charlton “Charlie” Thrupp who sees a “cultural adviser” whenever he travels somewhere new, and Amy Booth-Steel garners laughs as Mrs Hanratty, Tug’s Marxist maid. There’s a cracking use of pyrotechnics too.”

The Stage: * “Rory Mullarkey’s clumsy, chaotic satire follows a moronic gentleman-of-leisure who has frittered away his inherited fortune.”

The Telegraph: **** “After a run of disappointments at the Royal Court, Rory Mullarkey’s gloriously funny play proves to be a surprisingly near-unalloyed delight.”

WhatsOnStage: ** “It’s a decidedly mild time, though it passes pleasantly enough in the assured company of this cast. There are cracks against the class system, entrenched British inequality and abuses of power by the rich and aristocratic, but Mates in Chelsea is too disparate in focus to be a straight parody, nor does it have real bite as a comedy of manners. It does demonstrate well how disposed we are to laugh at large Russian accents.”

The Arts Desk: ** “Pritchard’s production, colourfully designed by Milla Clarke with a couple of visual jokes such as the castle cake, is overwrought and overdone, despite some good work by the actors.”

Broadway World: * “The able cast do what they can with the increasingly bizarre material. Laurie Kynaston, bedecked in peach satin tracksuit bottoms, a garish purple linen shirt and sliders, is credible as the vacuous playboy who is both childlike and petulant when he realises he cannot continue his life of empty pleasure. Fenella Woolgar brings character to the role of Agrippina, but has little to really get her teeth into.”

London Theatre Reviews: **** “The play offers plenty of comedy and a selection of impressive stage effects. However, the second act does lack the same slickened performances that you see in the first act. Don’t be put off: it’s an entertaining night at the theatre.”

West End Best Friend: *** “Mates in Chelsea loses its way towards the end and becomes as clumsy as its characters, but ultimately this silly satire is still worth a watch.”

The Reviews Hub: **** “The star of the show is Fouracres as pining bestie Charlie. He is agile, always switched on and gives a side-splitting nuanced performance.”

Theatre Cat.com: ”  The British love-hate fascination with the upper crust works best when – as in Wodehouse or Coward or Wilde or indeed Jilly Cooper –  you are able, despite your amused jeering,  to share some of their human feelings.   Here, you just don’t.  And they’re not that funny either.    It’s depressing, nd I respect  the Royal Court  – the writers’ theatre – too much not to say so.”

Theatre Weekly: “Sam Pritchard’s production feels pacey and energetic, and although it sometimes struggles to pull together all of it’s narrative threads there’s more than enough here to make it an enjoyable evening. Mates In Chelsea is braver than it first appears, taking satire to a level where some might not even realise that’s what it’s intended to be. It’s sure to upset the establishment in more ways than one, goodness knows what one particular free daily newspaper in London will make of it!”

To book tickets visit: https://royalcourttheatre.com/whats-on/mates-in-chelsea/


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