I was born in Bethnal Green and lived there during its 'Jewish' period. It was good to hear English spoken as it once was there - none of this prissy hiding of one's feelings. The audience was a total pain when I saw the play - most hated it - all too middle class for my taste. The theatre building is, as ever, dreadful - what a 'fucking' mess the National Theatre building is - what makes it worse is what it could have been had they used better materials. - Excelsior
23 Jul 09
The first thing you notice is the vast number of empty seats in the Olivier, the controversy surrounding EPVN seems to have scared off even the National's loyal audience. Richard Bean seems to believe that if he is offensive about everyone then that makes it acceptable. In the first half he just about gets away with it mainly because his script is genuinely funny in a 1066 And All That kind of way, even if much of the laughter is tinged with guilt. Most of the second half loses all humour and gets bogged down with an incomprehensible sub-plot about donating a boy to a mosque. The casually expressed racism is far too raw to be anything to laugh at. Till Death Us Do Part was meant to be a satire on the East End but Alf Garnett became a role model to some and I fear EPVN falls into the same trap. - David Baxter
30 Jun 09
Well, I'm with the 'love it' contingent. It could do with a bit of editing and amplification would help (I dread to think how much was lost by the time it got to the back of the Circle) but it's an historically accurate rumbustious satire that makes you think, makes you guilty, makes you talk about something real to your chums and it's exactly what the RNT is for. - Gareth James
21 Jun 09
The worst show in London - no the Country... ever ever ever. So bad we didn't even make it to the end. The intention, I believe, was to highlight - via comedy - how the English react any time we've had waves of immigration over the years, so it was always going to be contentious. But for me, I didn't have a problem with that. Indeed, it wasn't really racist - it was just mind-numbingly boring and puerile.
And nearly 3 hours of drivel as well! Is Nicholas Hytner capable of Directing shorter shows? The best things I've seen in the West End over the last month or so have have all come down at about 90 minutes. Take note National Theatre - please.
As if things weren't frustrating enough - none of the cast were radio-miked-up, which in a huge theatre with a thousand or so people is a disgrace.
- James - Kent
24 Mar 09
Well! I suppose our beloved NT has to try out new "plays", doesn't it? YES! of course it does, but once again dear ol Nick is off on one! OK, it had its moments I guess. I particularly liked Sophie Stanton, the fowl mouthed barmaid Ida, with her...Fucking Frogs, Fucking Irish, Fucking Jews and, with images of WWII, the oh so tantalising "Fucking (long pause) - all expecting Germans, but got instead ....Yanks! All terribly unPC, but it seemed to work, some of the time anyway. A grotesque version of Cavalcade then? Noël would be turning in his grave! It was a packed house with the audience seeingly to be enjoying it, although I did catch a quite a few mumours of discontent on the way out and noted a many empty seats after the interval. But it certainly got bums on seats in the first place. Whether it is justified for the NT to spend valuable resources, time and energy on this is debatable, but to corset the artistic director would not be advisable either and so we must be prepared to take the bad with the good. England People Very Nice? - rds
21 Mar 09
Dear Joe Smith, Do we really need to know that "Avid loser" is an anagram of Ivor Slade? I was foolish enough to try and find an anagram of Joe Smith and you know what there isn't one anywhere remotely interesting enough to repeat here - now is that significant or what? PS: Just in case you were wondering I am not Ivor Slade. - ???
16 Mar 09
This IS PC at its very worst, you idiot. - Coral
16 Feb 09
BEST PLAY I HAVE SEEN FOR AGES.Sharp writing plenty of bite.As an emigrant I do not need to read the bleeding heart disapproval of the po faced PC brigade for this play. - stefan gibson
16 Feb 09
The easiest reaction to
this piece of theatre is to accuse it of trivialising multiculturalism, Islamism, Judaism - in fact any religious belief at all. What, in fact, the play does do is to hold a mirror to every religious and ethnic belief and say "calm down dear, it's a belief system, which is respected, tolerated and understood and welcomed".
Now, let's put it in a mixer and celebrate the mongrel race we are and, for goodness sake, laugh at ourselves- everyone one of us. The play doesn't have an exclusive 'go' at blacks, whites, browns, yellows, reds or greens. It gawps at the established mongrel Britishness of our society and says 'it's ggod, it's bad, it's complicated but fundamentally it's ok. As a Celt I was sent up, as an Irish immigrant I was laughed at as a British citizen I was poked. Belt up naysayers, get your chip off your shoulders and LAUGH. - Chunka Munka
13 Feb 09
Saw this last night and it is nowhere near as bad as people are suggesting. It is coarse, bawdy and naive, as many people are when it comes to immigration, but it nails the infantile nature of prejudice and its lack of perspective brilliantly. - JJE
13 Feb 09
P.S. Ivor Slade (see foot of the column) is an anagram of Avid Loser. - joesmith
13 Feb 09
This is a children's play with swearing. It is the dumbest of dumbing down yet at the NT and as such a disgrace and all involved should be ashamed at being cowed by political correctness and the arrant nonsense of "Inclusion". Richard Bean (formerly an excellent writer) especially has a lot to answer to for letting himself be conned into penning such rubbish. If they are going to put on a glorified TIE piece they should advertise it as such. Sorry Halil, this WAS a real mess, you should get out more. - joesmith
13 Feb 09
As the son of a Turkish immigrant and English mother, I was perhaps always bound to enjoy this play. I found it very funny and engaging. I thought the cast were all excellent. (I see already the bleeding heart liberals are giving it a one star rating - didn't you guys learn anything from the play??? ) The basic premise of the play is obvious for all to see. What I enjoyed more was the clever way in which contemporary prejudices were shown to be so complex and multi layered now that we are to some extent all intermixed. Nicholas Hytner does a superb job of keeping this play together. At 2 hours 20 mins, and with seemingly hundreds of scene and costume changes, this could have been a real mess. It isn't. It is warm, funny, enlightening and above all else entertaining. - Halil
13 Feb 09
Our expectations were low after reading bad reviews - but instead we really liked the play. Yes - it is full of crude stereotypes, yes it has inappropriate one-liners. But we found it clever, provocative, funny and ultimately moving. This never claimed to be a serious "issues play" - go to verbatim theatre or David Hare for that. But go to this one to be confronted with the issues with humour but without the polemic - which can have a powerful impact. - Start
13 Feb 09
I went on Friday. I hated every minute of it. I switched off after hearing 'the rivers of blood' line by the black character (unfunny twist on Enoch Powell speech) for the umpteenth time.
A dreary night! - Robert Ward
12 Feb 09
You can tell who'll win the next election now that they've got access even to the cultural institutions.
Wish there was anything clever or groundbreaking about this play. Causing contraversy all for the wrong reasons. - Baaderfunk
12 Feb 09
It was not really a play with plot or characters but a series of one-liners with nothing interesting or original to say - Racism is bad because we're all immigrants??? WOW HOLD THE FRONT PAGE! - PM
12 Feb 09
I can see what it was trying to achieve but I don't think it managed it. It's overlong yet underwritten - you could have a much shorter piece without the lumpen humour and twee graphics, that would pack a greater punch. There will be (and have been) accusations of racism, but the play isn't rascist it's just not very good. Plays within plays can work extremely well but here it's not needed and feels roughly bolted on. I liked some of Bean's earlier work but he seems to have gone specatcularly off the boil with this and the last couple of plays. - Sycamore Flint
12 Feb 09
Oh dear, a great title full of promise but the play within a play conceit filled me with dread, and my fears were proved right. Welcome a parade of racial stereotypes with glances to the gaza israel problem and we have an excruciating evening. The interval didn't come to soon, we fled from the theatre. A talented cast play a clumping script that should not have got anywhere near a public performance, and none of the actors appeared embarrassed... which makes one wonder if this was a devised piece, performers too close to the product so objectivity flies out of the window. GCSE paper could do better. - Hampton
10 Feb 09
Funny and full of vitality. Worth seeing. - MS
08 Feb 09
Wonderful. Great writing, pace and cast. Biting satire with guffaws of humour. A play with a real affection for the idiosyncratic English - whover they are! - Bob Gilchrist
07 Feb 09
Yet again another excellent play at the National and very funny too. - IvorSlade
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