Does Merchant impress in The Mentalists?
Abbey Wright's production opened at Wyndham's Theatre last night
Michael Coveney, WhatsOnStage
"Bean is making merry here with his experience as both a stand-up comedian and a sit-down psychologist. What's particularly impressive is his ability to suspend a joke or tall tale's pay-off, or end it in an unexpected way"
"Merchant doesn't "come on" to the audience too much, all the more disturbing for being placid behind that looming moon face and those circular specs. And Rhoddri's normalcy and affability make him a more than plausible pornographer."
"A lovely show."
Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
"His latest comedy has a few moments of distinctly English mirth but it is a slight offering"
"Ted is a lively creation but, after ‘The Office', he feels less than entirely innovative."
"For all its quirkiness, the evening drags."
Dominic Cavendish, Daily Telegraph
"Merchant – proving his acting chops if hardly roaming far beyond saddo type – taps the pathos of this loser as well as his ludicrousness."
"As a diverting summer filler, a small play starring a tall theatrical novice, this is well worth a look."
Michael Billington, The Guardian
"I can't help feeling that a modest piece has been inflated to make a pricey West End star vehicle."
"Steffan Rhodri is, however, extremely good as the equally complex Morrie."
"It all makes for a strange evening."
Paul Taylor, Independent
"Making an impressive West End debut, Stephen Merchant (co-creator of The Office) is not as nervy and wired as Michael Feast who created the role but with his ungainly, giant stick-insect presence, his oddball thick-lensed gaze and the cranky insistence of his Bristolan burr, he vividly communicates the pathetic ridiculousness of a loser"
"exasperated, farcical, and tenderly supportive, the fine Merchant-Rhodri chemistry convinces you that this is a double act that goes a long way into a childhood that the despised "mentalists" might want to dwell upon."
Dominic Maxwell, The Times
"Although Bean's two-hander and Merchant's stage acting display early promise rather than pulling out all the stops, The Mentalists makes for an entertaining and unusual evening."
"Merchant brings brittle vitality to Ted, whom is happiest when complaining."
"although Abbey Wright's production is pacey and precise, bolstered by a superbly evocative set by Richard Kent, she can't always hide her star's inexperience."
The Mentalists runs at Wyndham's Theatre until 26 September 2015.