Review round-up: What the critics said about God of Carnage

God of Carnage

God of Carnage opened last night at the Gielgud Theare. I had a ticket to see the show during previews, but I found myself in Brussels for the day and unfortunately had to give up my seat. I plan to rebook soon to form my own judgement, but in the meantime, I couldn’t help looking at today’s reviews.

The cast and creative team is incredibly strong, so expectations were understandably high. The play is written by Yasmin Reza, who is most famous for Art, which was a huge success in London. As with Art, God of Carnage is translated by the phenomenal Christopher Hampton, a translater and adaptor whose previous work has included Les Liaisons Dangereuses and Embers.

Directed by Matthew Warchus, fresh from his success with Boeing Boeing, it has a star-studded cast of Ralph Fiennes, Tamsin Greig, Janet McTeer and Ken Stott (who, incidentally, was also in the original cast of Art). 

But as we all know, having big names does not guarantee positive reviews… thankfully for the producers of God of Carnage, the reviews appear to have been very positive. In fact, of the ‘quality’ newspapers, only the Independent are critical. Michael Billington, Charles Spencer and Benedict Nightingale are all impressed as you’ll see if you read on:

Guardian review – Michael Billington (click here)
4 stars

  • “All four actors are excellent and, in Matthew Warchus’s deft production, show the thin veneer of bourgeois pretence.”
  • “she [Reza] has the courage to tackle big themes; and this performance is full of delights.” 
  • “Reza’s commercial success is often held against her; but here, as so often, she holds the mirror up to bourgeois hypocrisy with the savage indignation of a born satirist.”

Telegraph review – Charles Spencer (click here)
“a cracking night of electrifying comic acting”

  • “The director Matthew Warchus choreographs the escalating violence with superb precision while drawing superlative comic performances from the cast.”
  • “I never previously suspected Ralph Fiennes of being funny, but his boorish lawyer, constantly taking calls on his mobile and secretly proud of his psychotic son, is sheer joy.”
  • “I am not sure God of Carnage is as profound as Yasmina Reza doubtless thinks it is, but it certainly offers a crackling night of electrifying comic acting…”

Times review – Benedict Nightingale (click here)
4 stars

  • “With Matthew Warchus directing these superb performers and Christopher Hampton translating, the effect is tense, edgy and funny.”
  • “But again and again I found myself delighted by her [Yasmin Reza’s] incisive observation, her acerbic wit, her shrewd humour – and her stunning cast.” 

Independent review – Alice Jones (click here)
“left me feeling distinctly queasy”

  • “There are still gasp-worthy moments of rudeness as the characters switch allegiances, denigrating first their partners, then each other, and vie for attention like spoilt brats. But all too often in Warchus’s confusing and stilted production these precious moments are lost.”
  • “This is Reza’s nastiest play yet.”
  • “In the end, this curious hybrid of Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? and Ayckbourn-esque farce left me feeling distinctly queasy.”

Roundup – a reminder of where you can find the full reviews…
Guardian review (Michael Billington) – click here
Telegraph review (Charles Spencer) – click here
Times review (Benedict Nightingale) – click here
Independent review (Alice Jones) – click here

For more information about the show, and to book tickets, visit the official website
God of Carnage is booking until June 14th


1 Response to “Review round-up: What the critics said about God of Carnage”

  1. 1 Adam March 26, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    I’m not sure if you heard but there was a power-cut during the performance and they actually did the remainder of the show in half light with the house lights on.

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