A bravura performance: Rupert Everett as Salieri
A bravura performance: Rupert Everett as Salieri

Maxwell Cooter
WhatsOnStage

★★★★

Salieri... is touchingly conveyed by Rupert Everett in a bravura performance that beautifully captures the jealousies of the composer... his transformation into the elderly Salieri jars a little... too much vigour there for a man in his 70s, haunted by his actions of the past... Joshua McGuire... leaves us with little sympathy for Mozart until a touching final scene with Salieri in which McGuire imbues the ailing composer with a humility lacking up to that point... good supporting performances too from Jessie Buckley as the loving Costanz... and from Simon Jones as the bovinely dull emperor... Simon Higlett's designs use the space of the transformed theatre superbly... this is a wonderful production to open the new theatre...

Fiona Mountford
Evening Standard

★★★★

... Simon Higlett's ornate set offers an ideal suggestion of dark court corridors whispering with rumour and intrigue... there's more than something of the night about Everett's scheming Salieri... This is a production blessed with fine performances. Fizzing opposite Everett is the impeccable McGuire, an actor who always bursts with the possibility of danger. Jessie Buckley makes a spirited Constanze, Mozart's wife. The revamped Festival Theatre deserved nothing less.

Paul Taylor
Independent

★★★★

... With its sweeping operatic theatricality, Amadeus is ideal material for showing off the boosted technical prowess of the venue... Simon Higlett conjures up the Viennese court... with a beautiful design... In Church's flamboyant, thriller-ish production, Everett cuts an imposing, darkly saturnine figure as Salieri... The potential mismatch of qualities proves... to be an asset... The fastidious hauteur of Everett's sleekly urbane Salieri widens the blackly comic gap... Everett puts his intelligent stamp on a role... Joshua McGuire gives a superb performance – with shades of Tom Hollander and... Rik Mayall in the whinnying maniacal pleasure this hyperactive overgrown baby takes in his supreme gift and in his fart jokes. Recommended.

Charles Spencer
Telegraph

★★★★

... a superb new staging of Peter Shaffer's Amadeus... as an often darkly amusing melodrama with operatic trimmings, Amadeus proves gripping in Church's immaculately directed staging, which makes even the more overblown scenes genuinely compelling... Rupert Everett... proves absolutely their equal in this role. His transformations from bitter old man to the urbane court composer... are presented with thrilling bravura and his descriptions of the beauty of Mozart's music are spellbinding... Mozart, superbly played by Joshua McGuire... the double act between this mismatched pair... is highly compelling... McGuire's performance becomes powerfully affecting. Jessie Buckley is also touching as Mozart's long-suffering wife... Simon Higlett's design... works superbly, while the sound score features some of Mozart's most sublime music with its heart-piercing mixture of joy, beauty and pain.

Michael Billington
Guardian

★★★★

... it offers the dual appeal of an operatic spectacle and a bravura display of saturnine jealousy from Rupert Everett as Salieri... Everett emphasises the gulf between Salieri's stately exterior and dark rage ... Everett cuts a tall, commanding figure... Jonathan Church's immensely stylish production, elegantly designed by Simon Higlett... achieves the right balance between Salieri and Mozart... Joshua McGuire gives an astonishing display of whinnying arrogance... Jessie Buckley lends Mozart's wife, Constanze, a touching, practical earthiness and Simon Jones, John Standing and Richard Clifford invest the Austrian Emperor and his court officials with a detail the writing sometimes lacks. Amadeus is not unflawed; but, in its musical structure and outsize passions, it provides playgoers with the sensual delights of grand opera.