The play starts promisingly with a very funny scene as Anthony Sher's Voight is discharged from prison without any identity papers but then takes an interminable amount of time to finally reach the point where Voight assumes the uniform and identity of a cavalry captain. That scene is also extremely funny in a more absurdist manner but it's not really enough to sustain 2 1/2 hours. German humour may be an oxymoron but it's not helped by some surprisingly coarse jokes presumably thanks to Ron Hutchinson's unsubtle adaptation. Adrian Noble seems to be in thrall to the technical possibilities of the Olivier and heavily belabours the point about Germany's weakness for strong military leaders - the Kaiser may have had many faults and may have sown the seeds for the rise of the Nazis but he was no Hitler. I came late to Anthony Sher's stage appearances but the choices he has been making make me wonder what he did to deserve a knighthood. Just as in Travelling Light he comes perilously close to overdoing the ham; perhaps a return to the RSC is called for. - David Baxter
14 Mar 13
Clunky set changes slow things down at times but the second half is a triumph with Sher at his brilliant best. The audience response was enthusiastic. - George Stacy
06 Mar 13
I am amazed by the good reviews for this. The play was dull, dull, dull. Did not find it remotely funny and left before the interval. The circle was half empty and many people looked bored rigid. I'm glad I only paid £12.
13 Feb 13
Worth seeing overall, but first half needs cutting to enable serious themes to emerge. There's no point in having long comic sequences unless they're funny. With a tighter first half, the brilliance of Sher's performance, and the Dickensian blend of grotesque humour and pathos would come across more vividly. - Mike R
07 Feb 13
As usual I agree with Michael - I loved the mix of Expressionistic sets and panto style villains and thought too of Davies the tramp in Pinter's play. Anthony Sher gives a Masterclass in acting and the play was visionary and still is thought provoking. If orders are given and we follow blindly then who is to pay for the results -chilling precursor to Hitler's power and at the same time with its early setting showed how and why so many died in WW1.
Voigt saw it coming but could do nothing to stop it - Dave J
06 Feb 13
I would probably not have gone to see this without the Travelex ticket offer-so glad I did and all credit to the NT for continuing to run this excellent scheme. - DCH
06 Feb 13
Sher was astonishing and the staging was spectacular. Brass bands, spine-tingling choral singing, a dab of farce. It's a superb night at the theatre. - Julia Morris
06 Feb 13
I agree with this review totally. I do hope lots of people see this thrilling production, the NT at its very best. - Kevin Darnell
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