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Anna Chancellor leads Wolf from the Door at Royal Court

Rory Mullarkey's new play is 'an attack on modern political apathy'

© Stephen Cummiskey

Michael Coveney


Rory Mullarkey's free-spirited daub of a nationwide road trip is a Poliakoff-style fantasia of violence and revolution... James Macdonald's unbuttoned, carefree production, designed by Tom Pye and lit by Peter Mumford... the sort of manifesto not heard in Sloane Square for a long time, and all the more upsetting for being couched in so fresh and naively written a play... Mullarkey's writing veers between something you might find on the Court's Young Writers' Programme and his own quirky humorousness. He's a promising new talent.

Henry Hitchings
Evening Standard


Rory Mullarkey's fervent and bracingly original play... It's an attack on modern political apathy, laced with exuberant absurdity and moments of twisted humour... In a performance that's both mercurial and finely poised, Anna Chancellor makes Catherine a compelling mix of firebrand and ice queen... Calvin Demba's Leo has a quirky charm - he's naive and open yet somehow remains elusive... James Macdonald has crafted a production that fizzes with invention... although a weak final 10 minutes diminish the piece's impact, there's a fierce freshness in his writing.

Ben Lawrence
Daily Telegraph


...a short, sharp shock that takes the audience on a delirious, absurdist road trip... Mullarkey has fun with the juxtaposition of quaint English custom and unadulterated savagery, and he offers some hilarious dialogue... There's a real pace to the action... Demba gives a touching performance... while Quigley and Sophie Russell show great comic versatility as they take on 14 different roles between them... Mullarkey has considerable talent, and yet for all his bristling anger and ripe, cruel humour there is something decidedly unrevolutionary about The Wolf from the Door... It's an exhilarating 85 minutes, but I do question whether it's saying anything new.

Natasha Tripney
The Stage


Rory Mullarkey's tricky new play contains passages which are rallying, angry and necessary, but it also seems wedded to an absurdist mode of expression which ends up undermining its raw, odd energy... The captivating Anna Chancellor plays the aristocratic Lady Catherine... The production constantly slams images of Englishness... This is often played for laughs, albeit complicated laughs, but it comes to feel like a device... Mullarkey's writing is often very funny, he alikes to tease and test an audience... self-aware and sharp-edged play... but James Macdonald's production seems tentative, muting the violence of the writing. The final few scenes also feel pretty misjudged, the play shooting itself not in the foot but in the gut.

Sam Marlowe
The Times

Rory Mullarkey's little shocker of a play is like a hand grenade stuffed inside a jam doughnut... It's undernourished and after the climax it rather abruptly dies away... bristles with lacerating wit, it's fast, angry and very funny... Catherine, played with imperious poise by Anna Chancellor... There's a scattergun rage in Mullarkey's writing... His vision is exuberantly off-the-wall ... Macdonald's production introduces a note of Brechtian detachment... Sophie Russell and Pearce Quigley are hugely diverting... Flawed, but thrilling.