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Review Round-Ups

Norris's National revives classic The Beaux' Stratagem

Critics enjoyed Simon Godwin's 'quintessentially English' revival, which opened this week

Jane Booker, Samuel Barnett, Geoffrey Streatfeild and Pippa Bennett-Warner in The Beaux' Strategem
© Manuel Harlan

Michael Coveney, WhatsOnStage

★★★★

"It's heartening, and something of a relief, to see director Simon Godwin addressing George Farquhar's peculiar and radical 1707 masterpiece"

"Lizzie Clachan's timbered, three-story design favours the inn and the farcical shenanigans of the last two acts, but not always the airiness of the arguments"

"One of the genuine classics of English comedy (written by an Irishman, of course) has been restored."

Paul Taylor, Independent

★★★

"George Farquhar's 1707 play is both a late Restoration romp and a proto-feminist piece "

"Mrs Sullen - fourteen months shackled to a sottish, incommunicative spouse, who's interested only in her fortune - is played by the excellent Susannah Fielding."

"Godwin's production could, at the moment, do with quite a bit more oomph"

Ian Shuttleworth, Financial Times

★★★★

"It is like watching English comedy move from Restoration mode into a new age, and Godwin and his cast work it beautifully."

"discreetly reshaped, the play feels more quintessentially English"

"Susannah Fielding as Mrs Sullen skilfully juggles her assorted marital dolours and extramarital delights."

Michael Billington, Guardian

★★★★

"Godwin's production maintains a perfect balance between serious comment and exuberant fun."

"Michael Bruce's music, with its strong echoes of Irish folk, allows endless opportunities for impromptu dancing."

"Samuel Barnett and Pippa Bennett-Warner have less material to work on as the other romantic duo, Aimwell and Dorinda, but they give them a captivating youthfulness."

Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard

★★★★

"Farquhar's enduring success lies in the fact that he doesn't simply present a Queen Anne-era romcom"

"Streatfeild offers a wonderfully buoyant performance, bounding around the stage and sending the whole overblown enterprise up just enough to make us feel complicit."

"As is almost inevitable with such projects, the pace flags a little at points, but these beaux are well worth hearing out."

Dominic Cavendish, Daily Telegraph

★★★

"I can't say it's a particularly thought-provoking (or side-splitting) affair."

"Still, I suspect the whole thing will 'bed in' and grow in zest, confidence and even theatrical camp."

"there's buoyant ensemble support, especially from Pippa Bennett-Warner's sassy Dorinda, Pearce Quigley's flat-voiced servant Scrub and Chook Sibtain's hulking highwayman Gibbet"