Round-up of reviews for Clybourne Park at the Wyndham’s Theatre in London
A terrific cast, including Sophie Thompson, star in Clybourne Park, Bruce Norris’s award-winning play directed by Dominic Cooke, that gets a well-deserved transfer from the Royal Court into the West End.
This bitingly funny play about property and racial tensions in America sees the first act set in 1959, when a black family buys a house in a white Chicago suburb. Act two sees the actors take on different roles and the story reverse to the same house but in 2009. The modern-day neighbourhood is now predominantly black, and a white couple are trying to buy the same house.
The cast is singled out for special praise, particularly Sophie Thompson, Stuart McQuarrie, Sarah Goldberg, Stephen Campbell Moore, Lucian Msamati and Lorna Brown.
The play is shockingly funny and the critics loved it as much the second time round as the first. The play has been winning every Best Play gong going, including the Evening Standard awards, and is tipped to do well at next month’s Olivier Awards.
See reviews below from the Telegraph, Guardian, Times, Evening Standard and Independent.
Clybourne Park reviews
“The performances are terrific, with particular mention of Sophie Thompson's Fifties housewife and modern lawyer who loves travel but remains doggedly ignorant of other cultures, Lorna Brown as the maid and passive/aggressive Lena, and Campbell Moore as Karl and the simmeringly resentful Steve.”
“Norris’s point is that though his 21st-century characters spout PC platitudes, racial prejudice still lurks just beneath the surface in modern America among both blacks and whites.”
“This is a courageous play for the West End, and it wouldn't be possible if Dominic Cooke's production wasn't so perfectly pitched and the performances so spot on.”
"Norris is very good on the wacky irrationality of racism.”
“Sophie Thompson tears your heart as his surviving manically cheerful mother, but then all the acting is out of this world. Essential.”
“Norris airs arguments rather than resolves them. But the fractured structure leads to something hilarious and horribly lifelike. And Dominic Cooke’s production moves from tragedy to high comedy without missing a beat.”
“The laughs are never cheap because Norris doesn’t generalise. He shows that we all have our agendas, including but not confined to race and class. So it’s serious stuff. And a lot of fun too.”