Neil Norman

Neil Norman is a critic with Express UK. This account has been auto-generated, and does not indicate that this person is an active member of Show-Score.com. That said, if you "follow" this member, you will automatically be updated whenever s/he writes a new review.

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Reviews (14)
85
Express UK

for a previous production "At three-and-a-half hours, it is a daunting prospect but Richard Eyre’s production ensures maximum engagement...Manville is magnificent, wandering around like a ghost or the Woman In White as she shuttles between unnatural sprightliness and despair at the downward spiral of her life...The family bonds of suffering, contempt and love are stretched, and strained almost to breaking point. Almost but not quite. If nothing else their codependency is unbreakable. A long night but a great one." Full Review

80
Express UK

for a previous production "With a set of metal ramps and stairs resembling a railway station rather than a Hollywood mansion, the spotlight is on the performers. Close is terrific, veering from the perfumed petulance of a hyperventilating child to the uncomfortable vulnerability of an ageing seductress. If her upper register is abrasively sharp and some of her notes a tad errant, she makes up for it by diving deep into the character. Xavier is a little too smooth at the start but adds color and shade as he progresses." Full Review

80
Express UK

for a previous production "Squeezing the well-known hits into one show proves hard especially when there is a story to tell and the first half suffers from medley-itis at times. But then the changes in the social and political climate are sketched in including Martin Luther King, the Ku Klux Klan and the protests against the Vietnam War so the songs take on a greater weight and are given more room to breathe." Full Review

35
The Stage (UK)

for a previous production "Gregory Doran’s production falls between two joint-stools. It is one of the most sluggish productions of the play I have seen in years. The oddly disconnected design offers little in the way of atmosphere or location...As Henry, Alex Hassell is vocally weak...Gregory Doran’s flat-footed direction does little to illuminate the play’s themes...A handful of amusing moments do not add up to the right stuff...A pedestrian production stumbles its way to a Pyrrhic victory at Agincourt." Full Review

85
Express UK

for a previous production "While I am not necessarily an enthusiast for this kind of theatre, it works brilliantly in this production...By shearing MIller's awkwardly stylised play of all theatrical paraphernalia Van Hove returns it to its roots in Greek classical tragedy...We lose something in the process, the sweaty aroma of working men and sexually charged woman. But we gain a clarity in the telling and the play's architecture is exposed as through the lens of a microscope. A lean, mean drama machine." Full Review

95
Express UK

for a previous production "A pitch perfect revival of Hare’s 1995 play...Complex, thrilling and provocative, its human heartbeat is just as loud as it ever was." Full Review

85
Express UK

for a previous production "Children's theatre specialist Tall Stories has managed to add some songs and dialogue and dance action to extend the piece without wrecking its essence. Donaldson's language is intact and this undemanding but zesty show is just the ticket for children who think that a soft plush toy is a really cool present." Full Review

95
Express UK

“A family saga, gangster epic, ghost story and a tale of love undeclared all rolled into one...Butterworth conjures a credible set of characters of every age and condition...Butterworth’s control of his characters – never mind the plot – is remarkable...The howl of the banshees becomes a totem for the climax, which is as unexpected as it is horrific. Pop songs, dancing, drinking and stories are all incorporated into the rich tapestry...A richly rewarding night.” Full Review

80
Express UK

for a previous production "Gough gives a career-defining performance...It is the kind of performance that makes the play appear far better than it actually is. Herrin’s production is full of theatrical chicanery and effects...Beneath the loud bangs, the sputtering lights, the strobes, and Gough’s incendiary performance, there lies a surprisingly conventional play...While there are some moments of clarity and powerful writing, Macmillan’s determination to mine every cliché about actors beggars belief." Full Review

60
The Stage (UK)

for a previous production "The overall impression is of childlike clowning combined with ageing innocence, and light-fingered slapstick which is mildly entertaining...While there is some discernible progression, the production suffers from a lack of structure, though the evident chemistry between the two performers prevents it from slipping into random banality...Occasionally poignant but not very penetrating...The kind of piece which ends up penciled rather than inked on the memory." Full Review

45
Express UK

for a previous production "An enormous disc slides away like an eclipse revealing and, ultimately, blotting out the sun. Vague and non-specific, it is a device that fudges issues all over the place – we could be anywhere from North Africa to Damascus...Van Hove clearly dislikes histrionics and damps down the actors almost to a monotone...The actors often sound like they are on the verge of flatlining; it may be achingly fashionable but it is rather dull to listen to." Full Review

100
Express UK

for a previous production "Mike Bartlett's extraordinary play may be speculative drama but it is closer to reality than fantasy. And in director Rupert Goold's immaculate production it resonates with a scrupulous topicality. The plot is simple, the extrapolation sophisticated...Bartlett's even-handedness turns what might have been republican agitprop into a revolutionary epic that throbs with humanity. Just wonderful." Full Review

90
Express UK

for a previous production "This is event theatre of the highest brow...On a set of utter simplicity with minimal props the huge cast evoke the court of Henry VIII with some brilliance. Properly attired in period costume there isn't a weak link...If the first play suffers from lack of action the second gives us more drama...Historical drama of the highest calibre." Full Review

95
Express UK

for a previous production "Often represented as effete and capricious, even gay, Richard needs a very special actor to seek out all the crevices of his personality. David Tennant is that actor. From the moment he arrives on stage, he shows us with sly precision a man in thrall to his own vanity, seduced by his anointed position and intelligent enough to be aware of both...Gregory Doran's production is superbly orchestrated...This is a lucid, moving production packed with tremendous performances." Full Review