Reviews of brand new @sohoplace theatre in London.
The new @sohoplace theatre opened last night, 20 October 2022, in London.
Owned by Nica Burns, CEO of West End theatre chain Nimax Theatres, the venue is the first new theatre to have opened in the West End for 50 years.
So, what did the theatre critics reviewing the first show at the theatre – Marvellous – think of the new venue?
Reviews below from TimeOut, the Telegraph, the Times and more. Spoiler alert: They seem to hate the name, but love the theatre!
Also check out the critics’ reviews of Marvellous here.
"As for @sohoplace (still a terrible name), the auditorium is pristine and lovely, the building clearly user-friendly and porous in the way older theatres and converted spaces are not, but commensurately lacking in charm. Currently the public spaces resemble a cruise ship or a casino."
"A glittering jewel-box of glass, steel and wood, adorned with gleaming marble and constellations of twinkling lights, producer Nica Burns’ new West End theatre @sohoplace officially opens its doors with a surprisingly modest show."
"@sohoplace is the first new purpose-built theatre to arrive in the West End in 50 years. I can’t love the @; everything else looks and sounds great. It’s a 600-seater but feels about half that, with two galleries above a wooden stage and a decently raked main seating area. The first three shows at least are in the round, but the shape can change. The leg room is good (and I’m 6ft 5in). The acoustics are tremendous. Nica Burns’s theatre feels like something hugely positive for theatreland. And heavens, we could do with some huge positives right now."
"@sohoplace's intimate, bright, in-the-round auditorium is the perfect venue for 'Marvellous', filling a niche that more charming but less flexible historic theatres have left empty. Yup, its aesthetic is a faintly naff (twinkling stars, mirrors everywhere), but it's hard to think of another West End space where you could pull of this messy, joyful, and entirely original show."
"Never mind its uninspiring name – @sohoplace is both welcoming and full of wow-factor, its opening show a life-affirming treat"
"Sleek and glass-fronted, with swanky digital signage, it’s as deluxe as a five-star hotel within, its decorative hallmark a twinkling line in astrological references. The amphitheatre at Epidaurus was a key inspiration for theatre-owner Nica Burns, working with architect Simon Allford. And there’s a fantastic democratic energy to the triple-tier, flexible 602-seat auditorium, with no restricted views and ample comfort. The opening configuration (others are possible) is in-the-round, accentuating both intimacy and freedom."
"Risk pays off as new West End theatre opens"
"[Marvellous] is a perfect fit for @sohoplace’s softly lit auditorium, an adaptable space that holds 600 but feels intimate. And to launch a new venue not with a star vehicle but with a joyous show, delivered by a neurodiverse cast, that celebrates the potential in difference, well, that’s quite marvellous."
"At the first purpose-built theatre in the West End for 50 years, preconceptions melt. At first, Soho Place looks too continuous with this glossified corner of London. Glassy, with purple and gold stars, like corporate trying to be colourful. Yet near the auditorium huge windows look out on to the Charing Cross Road, capturing London scenes. That is more than an incidental pleasure: it wakes your eyes up, helps you to begin the idea of framing what you see."
"Inside, the flexible auditorium is configured in the round to enclose Theresa Heskins’s production of Neil Baldwin and Martin Clarke’s play Marvellous – as it was when first seen at the New Vic theatre. The action is warmly circled – the upper tiers glow like copper – and embraced by its audience. I’ve rarely been in a theatre where the spectators seemed to breathe so much in time with a show."