Hex reviews at the National Theatre ★★★

Reviews are in for Hex at the National Theatre in London.

National Theatre Artistic Director Rufus Norris directs this new musical adaptation of Sleeping Beauty with a cast led by Michael Elcock (The Visit, National Theatre), Rosie Graham (Sanditon), Victoria Hamilton-Barritt (Cinderella Gillian Lynne Theatre) and actor/singer Lisa Lambe.

Hex features music by Jim Fortune, book by Tanya Ronder, designs by Katrina Lindsay and choreography by Jade Hackett.

Other cast include Zaynah Ahmed, Marc Akinfolarin, Christopher Akrill, Sabrina Aloueche, Sonya Cullingford, Ben Goffe, Chris Jenkins, Kalisha Johnson, Amanda Lindgren, Michael Matus, Kody Mortimer, Neïma Naouri, Mark Oxtoby, Aharon Rayner, Olivia Saunders, Sasha Shadid, Rumi Sutton and Riley Woodford.

Hex runs until 14 January 2023 in the Olivier Theatre, National Theatre London.

Average Critics Rating

Hex reviews

The Telegraph

"A captivating mix of magical and macabre"

"Norris's production seems equally determined at all costs to entertain: the set pieces usher forth with relentless regularity and the energy levels never flag, at least on stage: I confess I felt mine at times starting to dip."

Claire Allfree, The Telegraph
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The Times

"Jewel box of a fairytale whose contents fail to sparkle"

"It looked ravishing, but could I always tell you, hand on heart, what was happening in this arch, musical reworking of the story of Sleeping Beauty? Not really, which leaves me wondering what the children in the audience made of it."

"The Olivier can be a soulless place sometimes. Here, it was as opulent as a jewel-box. Never mind that the gem that it held wasn’t quite as beguiling."

Clive Davis, The Times
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The Guardian

"Musical Sleeping Beauty casts a darkly dazzling spell"

"No theatrical effect is spared in this emotional show, which returns to Charles Perrault’s grisly and grief-ridden fairytale for inspiration"

"Although the singing voices are universally strong, the songs come too thick and fast: big, instantly forgettable ballads (music by Jim Fortune, lyrics by Norris) that sound like a soup of Celtic laments."

"Tanya Ronder’s book yields sharp humour and strong female parts."

"It is complicated subject matter for a family show, yet it works and creates a well of emotional depth.

"A fabulous musical then, just a shame about the music. But there is so much originality, quirkiness and creative magic here that it puts us under its spell."

Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Evening Standard

"This chaotic Sleeping Beauty spin off is cursed"

"The first half of Tanya Ronder’s book seems desperate to sanitise the underlying horror and unfairness of fairytales, while the second pitches us into visions of flesh-eating infanticide"

"though individual segments are presented with flair, it feels like Hex is being made up as it goes along"

Nick Curtis, The Evening Standard
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The Stage

"Sleeping Beauty inspired musical is a frustrating, overcooked mess"

"The book, by Tanya Ronder, is befuddling, the music by Jim Fortune erratic, and Norris’ lyrics trite and toe-curling: a woeful mess that the most potent magic couldn’t save."

"an overcooked reworking that also flings into its furiously boiling pot The Wind in the Willows, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Into the Woods and Sweeney Todd, and produces a brew that is entirely indigestible. "

Sam Marlowe, The Stage
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"Entertaining but somewhat baffling"

"‘Sleeping Beauty’ is a love story. ‘Hex’ hasn't quite decided what it is. It's got a lot of stuff in it about the difficulties of motherhood, without having anything coherent to say about them. It's kind of about self-discovery, but again, there's not really the sense that Fairy goes on much of a journey. Instead, this is an elaborate gingerbread castle of a show that's built on candyfloss-light foundations: lovely to look at, undeniably impressive, but doomed to collapse under the weight of its own overweening ambition. "

Alice Saville, TimeOut
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i News

" It’s a delight"

"Rufus Norris and Katrina Lindsay’s ingenious idea of putting a new spin on the fairy behind the curse in Sleeping Beauty bubbles with wit and invention."

"Unusually and delightfully, this is a new musical whose songs you might find yourself humming on the way home."

Fiona Mountford, i News
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The Financial Times

"Complicated and macabre fairytale ‘Hex’ at the Olivier"

"Fairy tales are often macabre, testing out our deepest fears, and this show embraces that together with a positive message of acceptance and understanding. It’s dusted with neat jokes and insights (not least about parenting). But it also feels overloaded and keeps switching tack. The songs too (music by Jim Fortune, lyrics by Rufus Norris, who also directs) are mixed."

"Katrina Lindsay’s Gothic design is gorgeous and the whole thing is powered by innovation and ambition. But, like so many fairytale characters, it gets a bit lost in the woods."

Sarah Hemming, The Financial Times
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The Observer

"A bad fairy casts a spell on Rufus Norris’s Sleeping Beauty musical"

"For much of the time, watching Hex is like fighting your way through a grimly enchanted forest without a trail of breadcrumbs to guide you. It’s hard to follow what’s going on"

"It looks sumptuous but thinks timid. Which matters. This is one of the National’s big shows "

Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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The Sunday Times

"Full of spectacle and knowing jokes and performed with infectious vigour."

"Jim Fortune’s music is a mish-mash, but the staging is a ceaseless, quirky theatrical parade, even if the second half drags."

Quentin Letts, The Sunday Times
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👤 📅7 December 2022
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📷 Main photo: Lisa Lambe (Fairy) and Victoria Hamilton-Barritt (Queenie) in Hex at the National Theatre. Image credit - Johan Persson

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