The House of Shades (London)
Closed 2h 45m
The House of Shades (London)

The House of Shades (London) London Reviews and Tickets

(3 Ratings)
Members say
Absorbing, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Entertaining, Disappointing

About the Show

Anne-Marie Duff leads in a new play that follows the lives and deaths of one family across three generations.

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Show-Score Member Reviews (3)

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118 Reviews | 12 Followers
Thought-provoking, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you want to see an engaging play with brilliant acting and don't mind a lot of political and social issues making up its backbone.

Don't see it if you are squeamish and/or don't think you will enjoy the play that depicts assorted sexual undertones. Read more

12 Reviews | 0 Followers

See it if An intense and well played family dynamic.

Don't see it if You want to remember the show after leaving the theatre...

1 Review | 0 Followers
Absorbing, Disappointing, Entertaining, Cliched

See it if You want an absorbing and ambitious play. It follows the journey of a working class family through several decades in the North.

Don't see it if You want realistic developed characterisation or a political understanding of the issues raised, especially in relation to trade unions.

Critic Reviews (8)

The London Evening Standard
May 18th, 2022

Beth Steel’s much-anticipated, much-delayed play is a confused mix of family saga, melodrama and political screed. Blanche McIntyre’s baggy production features lots of people explaining ... politics, ... to each other, but can’t unscramble the script.
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The Guardian (UK)
May 18th, 2022

While the script is strong, its realisation is bumpy, with uneven pacing and some scenes that are a little too short to hold potency. Despite its inconsistencies, The House of Shades contains nuggets of greatness. An enormous endeavour, it shows Steel is one of our most audacious playwrights.
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May 18th, 2022

At the heart of it all is Duff, incandescently powerful. It is a truly great performance in an unruly yet riveting play that reveals Steel as an outstanding talent.
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London Theatre
May 18th, 2022

Steel should be commended for the reach and scope of [this] play ... And yet one can’t help feel as if ... dramatically vital ingredients have yet to be given the best possible placement and shape: we’re in the shadow, perhaps, of something major that may with time come to the boil.
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The Times (UK)
May 18th, 2022

Steel is a writer of huge ability... [but] The House of Shades is a bad play ... it tries to get so much done that it can only lapse into cliché or bombast to cram it all in. There’s no time to put flesh on those bones, though, even with an actress as exceptional as Duff at work. It takes itself so seriously that it’s hard to take seriously.
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The Telegraph (UK)
May 18th, 2022

This is a highly satisfying, old-fashioned play that serves the audience with a rich mix of the personal and political on which to chew. Director Blanche McIntyre keeps a three hour running time nicely ticking over. Alongside Duff’s force-of-nature presence, at once toxic and tragic, Kelly Gough is particularly good as Agnes.
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The Stage (UK)
May 18th, 2022

Duff is fierce as Constance, singing beautifully, dreamily quoting Bette Davis at every turn, and embodying a real, yearning ache for a life unlived. Although too lengthy, The House of Shades is a riveting watch from an incredibly exciting playwright – an explosive family portrait of secrets, grief, despair and division.
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Theatre Bee (UK)
May 28th, 2022

The play has a lot going on - parent-son issues, brother-sister drama, Tory-Labour conflict, morbidity and death, ghosts from the past, walking dead, what have you. But real life is just as messy. Things don't need to come to a logical, neatly tied-up conclusion, and the play stays true to that spirit.
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