Further than the Furthest Thing Reviews

Reviews are coming in for Further than the Furthest Thing at The Young Vic starring Jenna Russell.

Based on real events on the island of Tristan da Cunha, this multi-award-winning play by Zinnie Harris (Macbeth (an undoing), This Restless House, How To Hold Your Breath) follows a community haunted by its past and under threat from a modern world in crisis.

Jennifer Tang’s visionary interpretation stars Gerald Kyd (The Seagull, Deep Blue Sea), Archie Madekwe (Midsommar, See), Cyril Nri (Trouble in Mind, The Barbershop Chronicles, The Bill), Kirsty Rider (The Sandman, The Doctor, Nora: A Doll’s House), Jenna Russell (Fun Home, Piaf, EastEnders) and Shapla Salique (No Boundaries).

The creative team is completed by Designer Soutra Gilmour, Lighting Designer Prema Mehta, Sound Designer George Dennis, Video Designer Ian William Galloway, Composer Ruth Chan, Movement Director Ingrid Mackinnon, Voice and Dialect Coach Victoria Woodward, Musical Director Michael Henry, Illusions Designer John Bulleid, Casting Director Charlotte Sutton CDG, R&D Voice and Dialect Coach Emma Woodvine, Assistant Director Tian Brown-Sampson, and Trainee Assistant Director Ozioma Ihesiene.

Further from the Furthest Thing runs at the Young Vic from 9 March to 29 April 2023.

Read reviews from The Times, The Evening Standard, The Guardian and more.

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Further than the Furthest Thing reviews

The Times

"A vivid elegy for a vanished world"

"For once, the trigger warnings underdo it... there is a steady strangeness and an unhysterical sense of horror to this tale of the inhabitants of a colonial island in the South Atlantic"

"I won’t pretend it’s an easy evening. With its subdued yet unabashedly theatrical tone, its unfamiliarly accented bursts of pidgin English, its slightly overgenerous running time of more than two and a half hours, it needs to build to a surprising and rewarding ending. It does. And, along the way, there are moments I think I will never forget. There are visions of island life that, even though Soutra Gilmour’s in-the-round revolving set is largely bare, I will carry around as if I lived them myself."

"It calls for exceptional acting and it gets it."

"What might in other hands be an obvious takedown of blinkered imperialism here becomes a vivid elegy for a vanished world both beautiful and horrific. Russell has two speeches, one lyrical and wry, one almost unbearably sad, and excels at both."

Dominic Maxwell, The Times
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The Guardian

"Slow-burn study of seclusion and secrecy"

"Set on a volcanic island, this play goes through dormant spells but its themes of colonial conquest are enriched by dazzling design and atmosphere"

"Here is a keen study of isolation, displacement and the way in which small communities are vulnerable to exploitation."

"The performances are solid and the islanders’ naivety and bewilderment towards the outside world are well enacted. But the play takes time to build its intrigues, the pace is occasionally ponderous and the dialogue repetitious. Even if this is deliberate, it keeps us too much at surface level at times, and although the strands come together in the end, the play feels drawn out."

Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Evening Standard

"a fascinating exploration of the tides of change"

"This revival of Zinnie Harris’ play that premiered in 2000 reveals much of its magic, without quite remaking it for a new era"

"Zinnie Harris’s strange and memorable play. The acclaimed Scottish playwright’s breakout evocation of life on remote island Tristan da Cunha landed multiple awards when it first premiered in the year 2000. Here, emerging director Jennifer Tang’s Young Vic revival reveals much of its magic, without quite remaking it for a new era."

"But if Tang’s directorial stylings don’t immediately seduce, then Harris’s text soon does."

"... Tang’s production is full of enough subtle moments to resist sentimentality. It’s a fascinating attempt to understand an almost-lost way of life, full of characters that are stubborn and smart enough to resist the tides of change."

Alice Saville, The Evening Standard
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"Zinnie Harris’s dreamy drama about the evacuation of a remote volcanic island is a slow burner but gets there in the end"

"Zinnie Harris’s second play ‘Further than the Furthest Thing’ isn’t necessarily a masterpiece. But there’s much about it that is still compelling, and once it gets going Jennifer Tang’s Young Vic revival feels intensely worthwhile."

"Tang’s fitfully bombastic staging, with an extremely nifty eco-friendly, amphitheatre-style set from Soutra Gilmour, teeters between viscerally entertaining and a bit overegged."

"... Russell’s excellent, force of nature turn as Mill. In one extraordinary monologue, she describes everything she can remember about the island: can a destroyed place exist if only as a memory? Perhaps to her it can."

"... it’s an eventually gripping almost true tale, the odd clunky moment easily compensated for by the dreamy poetry of Harris’s writing."

Andrzej Lukowski, TimeOut
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The Stage

"Jenna Russell is riveting"

"Strange and slippery tale of remote island life compels despite a ponderous staging"

"Life is relentlessly tough, yet poignantly fragile for the isolated island community at the heart of Zinnie Harris’ 23-year-old play."

"... it sometimes feels as if Jennifer Tang, the director of this revival, has misplaced her dramatic compass. When her production wallows in the tersely poetic dialogue, it often seems listless or flatly portentous rather than resonant. There’s a general lack of clarity and impetus, not improved by the erratic sightlines of her in-the-round staging."

"There’s a piercingly intelligent performance of real emotional guts and sinew from Jenna Russell as islander Mill Lavarello, who, with her husband Bill (Cyril Nri), scratches out a livelihood from subsistence farming..."

"Not enough of Tang’s production has that wrenching immediacy. But the play retains its quirkily haunting compulsion, and Russell is riveting."

Sam Marlowe, The Stage
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The Financial Times

"A volcanic contemporary classic"

"... this elusive and intriguing piece quickly acquired the status of contemporary classic and it arrives in a new Young Vic staging at a time of climate emergency and even more heightened debate about our way forward on Earth. It ought to feel immensely urgent. That it doesn’t, despite beautifully pitched performances, is something of a puzzle."

"Both Russell and Nri are excellent: she is fierce, warm, pragmatic but haunted; he is fragile, frayed at the edges by what he has seen. Madekwe gives a quiet masterclass in conflicted emotions."

"Despite all this, the staging doesn’t quite fly. The narrative pace is strangely uneven — creepingly slow, ponderous even, then suddenly punctuated with huge plot twists that are not given enough time — and too often both play and production seem to be straining for a sense of strangeness."

Sarah Hemming, The Financial Times
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📷 Main photo: Further Than The Furthest Thing. Photo by Marc Brenner

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