Review round-up: What the critics said about ‘Gone with the Wind’

There have been no shortage of articles about Trevor Nunn‘s latest project, a new musical adapatation of Gone with the Wind. The signs haven’t been great in recent weeks though, with one preview being cancelled to give more time to rework the show. Cuts have continued to be made over the last week, but the show still clocks in at a weighty 3 hours 40 minutes.

This production has almost certainly required a large budget, so the producers will have been hoping for a positive reaction from the critics. Unfortunately, judging by the reviews in the major newspapers this morning, things haven’t quite gone according to plan.

The reviews are not uniformly terrible, but they’re not exactly effusive in their praise, with the best of them (in The Independent) only offering a lukeward 3-star verdict. The leading actors (Darius Danesh and Jill Paice get a mix of good and average comments, without being savaged by the critics, but I doubt that will be good enough for audiences with high expectations.

I’m sure some more positive reviews will follow in due course, but in the meantime, here’s what the major national newspaper critics have said:

Guardian review – Michael Billington (click here)
2 stars

  • “feels like a hectic, strip-cartoon account of a dated pop classic.”
  • “The rest of the vast cast spend much of the evening hurtling round the balconies of John Napier’s circumambient, Nickleby-style set, substituting energy for detailed exploration of character.”
  • “There is something extravagantly pointless about the whole enterprise.”

Telegraph review – Charles Spencer (click here)
“The biggest disappointment is how dreary and unspectacular it all proves.”

  • “It feels interminable, but moment by moment it also seems ridiculously rushed, so that incidents that really make a mark in the film go for almost nothing on stage.”
  • “By the time we had reached the second half I felt like screaming every time a new song started – one knew by then it would be lacklustre and slow the flagging action down still further.”
  • “The only people likely to give a damn about this Gone with the Wind are the investors, who risk losing their shirts.”

Times review – Benedict Nightingale (click here)
2 stars

  • “Sadly, I often found myself wishing the musical just wasn’t a musical.”
  • “But then the rest of the music is rather so-so and the rhymed lyrics pretty flat.”
  • “It just doesn’t have the variety, the quirkiness or the moral power. And it doesn’t need the tunes.”

Independent review – Paul Taylor (click here)
3 stars

  • “The show is neither as bad as one feared nor as good as one has a right to expect”
  • “The rest of the score ranges from soppy, forgettable love songs to would-be witty, forgettable patter numbers to forgettable Irish airs about the Importance of the Land to… I forget.”
  • “The diabolically dashing Darius Danesh (of Pop Idol fame) brings a seductively insolent charm, a dark velvet voice and a genuine, fugitive pathos to the cynical blockade runner.”

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 (Paul Taylor) – click here

For more information about the show, and to book tickets, visit the official website

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5 Responses to “Review round-up: What the critics said about ‘Gone with the Wind’”


  1. 1 fineeyes April 23, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    The lacklustre comments don’t surprise me at all. However, Michael Billington NEVER usually gives under three stars. Since I think it’s fairly unlikely that Margaret Martin will mount another show on this scale again, I guess he doesn’t have to worry about getting on her bad side.

  2. 2 Andy Roberts April 24, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    This is shaping up to be a “love it or hate it” show according to comments from people who’ve seen the previews.

    http://usefulwiki.com/londontheatre/category/gone-with-the-wind

  3. 3 thedramagirl April 26, 2008 at 4:43 am

    I really wish I could see this show. I read the book a couple of years back and loved it.


  1. 1 The Friday musical round-up: 25th April « Coloured Lights Trackback on April 25, 2008 at 2:50 pm
  2. 2 The Friday musical round-up: 30th May « Coloured Lights Trackback on May 31, 2008 at 4:56 pm

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