Review Round-Ups

Mixed opinions for Patrick Marber's The Red Lion

Marber’s new play opened at the National’s Dorfman Theatre last night

Michael Coveney, WhatsOnStage


"Patrick Marber is back on song with a beautiful play about the beautiful game"

"Ian Rickson's perfectly cast and perfectly weighted production keeps you guessing, like any good match, right to the final whistle: it's sad, it's true and it's lyrical about the magic of the game."

"the acting is wonderful. Wight has probably never had such a good leading role on stage. Mays is masterful. And young Demba is definitely one to watch."

Dominic Cavendish, Daily Telegraph


"It's a triumph."

"Without wishing to spoil this by turns comic and poignant chamber piece’s twists and turns, the simple set-up tells you much"

"I can’t fault the authenticity of the performances"

Quentin Letts, Daily Mail


"The show makes dewy-eyed points about the spirit of the game and its quasi-religious following but it ain’t half slow."

"Admirable though this may be, it is done with an excess of lyricism."

"Director Ian Rickson and the National’s new boss Rufus Norris should have demanded at least half an hour to be cut – not so much a replay as a rewrite, please."

Natasha Tripney, The Stage


"it’s not the easiest play to find a way into"

"While the play feels lopsided and the emotional clout of the ending somewhat unearned, the performances are all incredibly rich and considered."

"Though the play has a few moments of potency, this is probably a production that will be more rewarding if you have a better understanding of the game – if you share that love which flows hot and deep through the writing."

Dominic Maxwell, The Times


"this sluggish, self-serious three-man drama is hard to sit through for the full 150 minutes."

"for all the talent on display, the storytelling lingers on the touchline"

"Marber hasn’t lost his punchily poetical way with dialogue. Yet without more plot you have time to notice his fine writing, rather than be swept away by it."

The Red Lion runs at the Dorfman Theatre until 30 September