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Review Round-Ups

Simon Stephens's 'compelling' Carmen Disruption premieres at Almeida

Stephens's reimaging of Bizet's opera ''Carmen'' opened this week

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Company of Carmen Disruption
© Marc Brenner

Simon Stephens's new play, Carmen Disruption, is a reimagining of Bizet's Carmen. Starring Sharon Small, Noma Dumezweni and John Light, it runs at the Almeida Theatre until 23 May.

Matt Trueman, WhatsOnStage


"Carmen Disruption is more like a hundred lashes: lacerating and persistent, but both punishing and pleasurable. It is a self-flagellating play that looks at the modern world as much with lust as with loathing."

"a dense, intense piece that feels, both as writing and production, like a staged poem."

"This is theatre you feel, first and foremost, and Michael Longhurst's bravura staging takes a long while to shake off."

Michael Billington, Guardian


"It is a crowded work, but a totally compelling one."

"The play's vision of urban solitude is beautifully realised through the fluidity of Michael Longhurst's production, Lizzie Clachan's design and Imogen Knight's movement direction.''

Henry Hitchings, Evening Standard


"Even if the symbolism is laid on a little thick here, Stephens's writing has rarely felt sharper and Michael Longhurst's poetic production achieves moments of startling intimacy."

Dominic Cavendish, Daily Telegraph


"The result is something that feels less than the sum of its garrulous parts."

"Stephens evinces a timely sense of a modern malaise. Yet the blizzard of revelation – compounded by scrolling verbiage on a dot-matrix display – induces its own form of information overload. A certain monotony starts to creep in."

"The acting is commendably detailed and committed"

Ian Shuttleworth, Financial Times


"There is a vast amount going on in Stephens' script and Michael Longhurst's production. But what do these 100 minutes add up to?"

"In the end, Carmen Disruption does find coherence as a collective portrait of modern European urban life"

"But it is a close judgment call between weighty theatre and unorthodox spectacle as an end in itself."

Dominic Maxwell, The Times


"What a gorgeous, absorbing, overambitious mess of ideas about contemporary alienation is this new play by Simon Stephens."

"Michael Longhurst's anguished, atmospheric, physically expressive production walks a fine line between the poetic and the portentous."

"Does it hang together? Not entirely."

Carmen Disruption runs at the Almeida Theatre until 23 May