Reviews are in for Emma Corrin starring in Orlando at the Garrick Theatre in London.
Directed by Michael Grandage, and adapted by Neil Bartlett based on Virginia Woolf’s classic novel, Orlando runs at the Garrick Theatre until 25 February 2023.
Alongside Emma Corrin as Orlando, the cast features Deborah Findlay (Mrs Grimsditch), Jessica Alade (Virginia, Drunken Tory), Debra Baker (Virginia, Favilla, The Captain), Akuc Bol (Virginia, Euphrosyne, Prue), Lucy Briers (Virginia, Queen Elizabeth, Officer), Richard Cant (Virginia, Harriet, Kitty), Melissa Lowe (Virginia, Drunken Tory), Jodie McNee (Virginia, Marmaduke), Oliver Wickham (Virginia, Clorinda), and Millicent Wong (Virginia, Sasha, Nell).
The play has set and costume design by Peter McKintosh, lighting design by Howard Hudson, the Composer and Sound Designer is Alex Baranowski, movement is by Ben Wright, the Associate Director is Anna Girvan, and casting is by Jacob Sparrow.
“Theatre to make the heart leap"
"Giddily gorgeous staging captures the transgressive spirit of Woolf’s novel"
"What rare glory is this, diamond-bright and quicksilver? Breezily adapted by Neil Bartlett from Virginia Woolf’s 1928 novel, directed by Michael Grandage and designed by Peter McKintosh, this vivid, glittering drama achieves not just the improbable, but the almost impossible: it captures the brilliance of Woolf’s mind, the daring of her transgressive vision and the lush gorgeousness of her prose, and refracts it on the stage in an exquisite rainbow of prismatic colour."
"Emma Corrin is glorious in a giddy, heartfelt show"
"In Neil Bartlett’s adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s wild-goose chase through time, Corrin shines as the hero who falls asleep as a man and wakes as a woman"
"Emma Corrin’s Orlando is a flare of coltish charisma. Like its star, Neil Bartlett’s giddy adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s novel radiates gleeful intelligence, rampaging heart and tremendous fun. It couldn’t feel more timely, and it’s glorious."
"In Michael Grandage’s buoyant production, each leap through history summons another clothes rail – new era, new trousers. Peter McKintosh’s lavishly spare designs are breathlessly lit by Howard Hudson and theatricality suffuses Bartlett’s writing – that giddy arena where style snogs sincerity. His heartfelt and insinuating collage offers winking allusions to everything from Jacobean tragedy to Liza Minnelli via Some Like It Hot (“nobody’s perfect!”)."
"Emma Corrin is magnificent as Woolf’s punk rock protagonist"
"Michael Grandage’s production has an inventiveness and creativity that’s true to the spirit of Virginia Woolf’s novel"
"This is Virginia Woolf turned up to a nine. No, seriously: Michael Grandage’s adaptation of her most punk rock novel begins with nine bespectacled, cardiganed Woolfs roaming the stage, reading, writing, thinking. All but two of the cast – including its only man, Richard Cant – play the novelist at various moments throughout the play: a guiding light, but also a nod to the freewheeling fluidity that characterises this vivid celebration of a show."
"Nudges, winks and a pack of Woolfs make Orlando bloom"
"Think of it, if you like, as the Bloomsbury Group equivalent of a trip to Pantoland. If Virginia Woolf’s novel about a time-travelling, androgynous youth contains a more than generous dose of whimsy, Neil Bartlett’s adaptation throws in an awful lot more, adding nudges and winks borrowed from other sources: you won’t have any trouble noticing the throwaway reference to Some Like It Hot, Billy Wilder’s cross-dressing classic."
"Bartlett’s in-jokes have just about enough energy to keep this slender, 90-minute piece aloft. It is Grandage’s modest touches of stagecraft that hold the attention."
"Emma Corrin is captivating in this bold, tricksy experiment"
"Corrin anchors the show but it never feels like the emotional stakes are very high"
"That the alchemy works at all is undoubtedly down to Corrin, who has been Lady Diana and Lady Chatterley and is queer and non-binary, using they/them pronouns. All of which adds a frisson to their larky, sparky performance here as the young Elizabethan aristocrat who shifts from male to female while barely aging over three centuries. Without Corrin, I’m not sure this would be half so much fun."
"Emma Corrin is riveting as Virginia Woolf’s sex-switching Orlando"
"The breakout star of The Crown makes a dazzling West End return in Neil Bartlett's new take on Woolf's pioneering work"
"... it’s a disappointment how hands-off Bartlett’s interpretation is. He luxuriates in a decorous and familiar – if caperingly enjoyable – theatricality, Orlando trying on attitudes and costumes as centuries fly by and fashions shift, a Restoration lady about town one minute, a roving dandy the next, a magnet for the equivalently ambivalent. Grandage arranges the brisk pageant of vignettes with painterly finesse."
"What anchors attention is the coruscating Corrin. Whether it’s a darting, impish look, a nymph-like movement, a roguish smile that’s dazzling as a lighthouse, some put-on manly insouciance or a frisson of confused desire, you’re ever in the presence of pure star quality."
"Emma Corrin Lights Up an Outstandingly Imaginative Look at Gender and Identity"
"The entirely beguiling lightness of touch is remarkable. Staging the startlingly prescient, gender-swapping, time-traveling 1928 novel “Orlando,” a lesser creative team would have gone to town on The Lessons That Virginia Woolf Has Taught Us. But while director Michael Grandage’s vividly theatrical production of Neil Bartlett’s fleet-footed, wildly imaginative but wonderfully disciplined adaption shines literal and metaphorical light on contemporary ideas of identity, no fingers are ever wagged. Didacticism is banished. Performances and design of unique warmth and wit create an outstandingly original theatrical pleasure."
"Emma Corrin is pixie perfect in this frisky ode to freedom"
"Ever since Emma Corrin catapulted to stardom, after peeping shyly through their fringe as a teenage Princess Diana in The Crown and switching pronouns from she to they, the androgynous beauty has been the pin-up for non-binary identity. Who better, then, to play the title role in Neil Bartlett's funny but moving adaptation of Orlando, Virginia Woolf's gender-bending, time-travelling flight of fancy?"
"A captivating Corrin – a timeless, ageless pixie with a shock of white hair – inhabits the role to perfection, combining the dash and dazzle of a kingfisher with the casual sense of entitlement of an aristo."
"In ‘Orlando,’ Emma Corrin Straddles Genders and Centuries"
"In a freewheeling London adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s 1928 novel, Corrin plays a character whose emotions are as fluid as their identity."
"Neil Bartlett’s breezy adaptation of its 1928 source is playful, and ultimately moving, but the director Michael Grandage owes much of the production’s success to its galvanizing star, Emma Corrin, who made an acclaimed West End debut last year in the short-lived “Anna X.”"
"Corrin is in full-throated voice throughout the vicissitudes of Orlando’s fraught love life — when Orlando’s heart is broken, you know it — and in moments when Orlando is taken over by fear. It’s not just that gender is fluid, we feel, but emotions are, too, and the play comes blessed with an actor who can project confidence one minute, and surrender to uncertainty the next."
"... Corrin’s gorgeous performance lifts the 90 minutes, no intermission, well beyond anything resembling a history lesson or a night out requiring preparatory homework."
"Emma Corrin is terrific as Virginia Woolf’s iconic androgyne"
"... this adaptation by Neil Bartlett and directed by Michael Grandage is a fluffed opportunity, a strange mix of fiddly overwroughtness and excessive brevity."
"... stuffing all the extra stuff plus the actual plot of the novel into 90 minutes means Woolf’s text is boiled down to a glancing greatest-hits package. Orlando’s relationship with Elizabeth I is basically reduced to a monologue; we get Woolf’s famously virtuoso description of the frozen London of 1608 quoted word for word, but young Orlando’s relationship with Millicent Wong’s Sasha is too fleeting to leave much impression on us, despite its big impact on the young man. I think Bartlett and Grandage do convey a sense of the mischief in Woolf’s book, but frequently they’ve done so at the expense of the actual story, and it seems daft that both can’t be accommodated."
"Emma Corrin is luminous in gender-switching fantasy Orlando"
"Bartlett’s affectionate, witty stage adaptation of Woolf’s groundbreaking 1928 novel is in part a celebration of the freedom of invention and a tribute to the daring of the original."
"The whole show has a light, mischievous touch and there’s a warmth and effervescence to it that stares down toxic discourse around gender identity. It is held back, however, by its brevity, whisking so quickly through some episodes that they have little time to breathe. At less than 90 minutes it feels too slight: it could easily extend and allow scenes, relationships and issues to blossom more."
"At its heart, however, is a luminous performance from Corrin (who is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns). Corrin’s charismatic Orlando responds with mild bemusement to the idiosyncrasies of each age."
"Corrin shape-shifts to perfection in Neil Bartlett’s zestful take on Virginia Woolf’s novel"
"Watching Emma Corrin on stage is like seeing someone move through a different element. At first I thought the actor was like a flame. Then I realised that though I had seen flaring, guttering and vanishing, the comparison was partly critical slippage."
"It is wonderful to see Corrin alighting like thistledown on both the seriousness and the humour of all this."
"Corrin has a magnetic presence"
"There are two solid reasons to catch Michael Grandage’s Orlando. The first is Emma Corrin’s sensuous performance as Virginia Woolf’s gender-fluid youth who lives for centuries, initially as a man. The second is that the show has some fun with sexual ambidexterity. So many people, left and right, have become so terribly cross about these issues. They forget that life is a jumble of tumescent uncertainties and half-glanced maybes. "