Previews start Feb 04

Returning to Reims

10 reviews
0 reviews

St. Ann's Warehouse presents Schaubühne Berlin's new production based on the memoir by Didier Eribon, which asks: as populism marches around the globe, does political activism still have a role to play?

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A sound studio. An actress records a voiceover for a documentary.  Philosopher Didier Eribon, returning to his childhood home, discovers that the left-wing and liberal middle class have abandoned the working class, and workers are running into the arms of the right-wing National Front. How is this possible? How have things come to this? Featuring 'Homeland’s' Nina Hoss.

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Cast & Creatives (5)

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Reviews (10)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

The Guardian (UK)

for a previous production "Adventurously staged and compellingly acted...Vibrant as the show’s arguments are, I feel they have been overshadowed by recent events...But, even if the times are rapidly changing, the show combines a poignant human story with a fascinating discussion about how change can best be achieved. Hoss is also a magnetic figure...Ostermeier extends the boundaries of political theatre by showing that, in adapting a book, you can turn the stage into a source of living debate." Full Review

The Telegraph (UK)

for a previous production "In this wittily deadpan production, Ostermeier’s real target is liberal hypocrisies, the politicians who proclaim solidarity with progressive ideologies but resist any meaningful engagement with the reality of working class lives...It’s all very self consciously un-theatrical: the first third consists simply of Hoss narrating–although thanks to the hypnotic clarity of Eribon’s prose and the cool susurrations of Hoss’s voice, that brings its own pleasures. It is at its best when it disrupts i... Full Review

What's On Stage (UK)

for a previous production "It's rare to find a piece of theatre as acutely topical, deeply intelligent, and emotionally charged as 'Returning to Reims'...A naturalistic style so real, so embracing, that it feels like a conversation over the breakfast table not from a stage...Because it directly tackles the most pressing issues of our day, with a sense of rich discovery and revelation, it feels like essential viewing, a vindication of experiment and thoughtfulness, a celebration of the skills of performers." Full Review

The Stage (UK)

for a previous production "Astonishingly prescient...The resulting show has both sharpness of political thought and the rawness of an evolving argument. Ostermeier does not so much adapt Eribon’s book as grapple with it on stage...The discussion sharpens our reception as watchers and listeners. This is a knotty and confronting piece...What could be a detached, cerebral affair has moments of playful theatricality that reconnect audience and stage." Full Review

The Times (UK)

for a previous production "This stage adaptation...delivers chunks of Eribon’s questing discourse, while tethering its ideas to the particulars of personal history...It’s a demanding watch; knowingly undramatic, meta-theatrical and allusive...Ostermeier’s multimedia staging is slick and clever...It’s a narrative full of guilt and ghosts...There’s plenty of meat to chew on, yet the piece feels bloodless. It’s rather too detached, too didactic. Still, it’s probing and intelligent, and you’ll rarely be lectured more eleg... Full Review

The Reviews Hub

for a previous production "It is hard to work out the audience that 'Returning to Reims' might have been intended to satisfy...It may be considered radical to offer a theatrical production that seems better suited for a radio monologue or a TV documentary but it is hardly satisfying...There is a lack of passion in the reading almost as if the company are completing an obligation to feature the extracts rather than trying to convey the author’s bewilderment at the political direction taken by the working class." Full Review

British Theatre Guide

for a previous production "Hoss begins to debate some of the cuts made by her director and the impact these have. This breaks away from the words on the page and the time it was set and puts it into a modern context without spelling it out. These discussions are largely light-hearted but do elaborate on and enhance the ideas in the book very effectively...This is a shamelessly political piece of theatre that argues its case thoroughly...I was gripped by the ideas, but it certainly isn't for everyone." Full Review

Voice Mag

for a previous production "'Returning to Reims' combined film and live performance to create a simple narrative full of current, topical themes around tolerance and togetherness in our interconnected world...Ostermeier did not overload the audience with information about politics; using comedy and poetic language to really allow the audience to understand the class divide as well as the theories behind capitalism...It was, altogether, a deeply emotive story." Full Review

Upstaged Manchester

for a previous production "The production itself is not weighed down with heavy political jargon and knowledge. 'Returning to Reims' successfully tackles the resurgence of populist nationalism in Europe and class struggle through live action performance, video, sound, and narration...A highly watchable, lucid, and intriguing play which pitched the past and present day against each other and in turn, highlighted that the stage can still be a venue for political and living debate." Full Review

Manchester Evening News

for a previous production "The production is slick and more pertinent than ever...Ostermeier has found the perfect leading lady in Hoss...Accompanied by two other actors, a film maker and recording studio hand, her mellifluous voiceover had the audience transfixed...An intelligent piece of theatre that manages to explore complex themes whilst still having the self-awareness to keep the audience on board...A great piece of theatre and plenty of fodder for thought." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews