Reviews are coming in for the Chichester Festival Theatre revival of 4000 Miles by Amy Herzog, starring Eileen Atkins.
Originally The Old Vic was set to stage this revival, starring Eileen Atkins and Timothée Chalamet, but Covid put paid to that.
Dame Eileen Atkins was obviously keen to pursue the project, and director Sir Richard Eyre is now helming this production in Chichester.
Amy Herzog’s acclaimed drama is a warm, wry and compassionate story about love, loss, memory and moving on.
4000 Miles stars multi award-winning actor Dame Eileen Atkins (Cranford, Doc Martin, The Crown) and BAFTA-nominated actor Sebastian Croft (Heartstopper, Horrible Histories: The Movie), alongside Nell Barlow (BAFTA Breakthrough Talent 2022) and Elizabeth Chu (Lesbian Space Crime at Soho Theatre).
The creative team for the show also includes set and costume designer Peter McKintosh, lighting designer Peter Mumford, sound designer John Leonard, and casting by Ginny Schiller CDG.
4000 Miles runs until 10 June 2023 in the Minerva Theatre in Chichester.
Read reviews from the Times, Guardian, Telegraph and more, with further reviews to be added.
4000 Miles reviews
"Eileen Atkins and Sebastian Croft connect in tale of distant relations"
"Amy Herzog’s play about a grandmother surprised by her grandson is given a contemplative staging by Richard Eyre"
"Amy Herzog’s 2011 play (a Pulitzer finalist) may have the familiar premise of odd couple flatmates but is distinguished by their startling topics of conversation... 4000 Miles is less uproarious than that may suggest as, in an interval-free hour and a half, it explores communication both thwarted and hard won."
"Atkins is wonderful as the nonagenarian with no filter – her irritability accompanied by exquisite flicks of the wrist, her tenderness emerging through gestures rather than speeches. Croft conveys the stalling effects of trauma beneath Leo’s snappy chatter but there is an emotional distance and increasing heaviness in the production, which punctuates scenes with often solemn, contemplative music and never fully illuminates the smaller gestures and wispy strangeness of the play."
"Eileen Atkins’s old Leftist eccentric lacks a little puff"
"The Covid-delayed drama has finally opened – albeit without Hollywood star Timothée Chalamet – yet it still needs time to bed in"
"While Croft doesn’t have smouldering star wattage, the fact that he had a strong supporting role in the TV hit Heartstopper affirms he’s quite a catch. Even so, there isn’t sufficient vitality, comic or otherwise, in the scenes the callow youth has with the trio of female characters..."
"Croft could do with being more heedless and hormonal, less clean-cut and contained. And despite lasting only 90 minutes, the evening oddly drags a little. That’s partly the meandering text, aping the imprecision of ordinary chat and old age’s groping for words. But while Atkins offers a touching frailty, a forgetful, fretful aura too, the spry tenacity and good humour that Sara Kestelman brought to the UK premiere a decade ago seem too absent. And that New York accent sometimes bears passing traces of the Big Smoke."
"A dangerously flat and underpowered trudge"
"Aside from one moment, 4000 Miles is hard trudge"
"Let’s start with the good news: it is a treat to see Dame Eileen Atkins, 89 years old next month, back on stage in a leading role, her trademark observant sharpness still very much in evidence. On the downside, Richard Eyre’s production of Amy Herzog’s 2012 drama, winner of that year’s OBIE Award for Best New American Play, is dangerously flat and underpowered."
"It doesn’t help that it is a frustratingly fussy production, with lengthy blackouts for scene breaks and fiddly prop re-arranging, even though all the action takes place in one room..."
"We long to believe in the poignancy of this, to soar on the currents of Herzog’s would-be elegiac strains, but these characters are so flimsily constructed that it is a struggle to believe in them as fully rounded people with lives outside of this play."
"Eileen Atkins gives a consummate performance"
"Gripping performances energise this downbeat drama about social responsibility and intergenerational friendship"
"Slow moving but sharply observed, Herzog’s 2011 character study walks a fine line between sentimental family drama and softly spoken political parable."
"Eyre sets a deliberately slow pace, leaning into the unhurried rhythms of Herzog’s text ..."
"Atkins gives a consummate, precise performance as Vera. Moving with brittle slowness, her hands shaking and feet shuffling, she skilfully captures a forceful personality in a state of dignified decline."
"Eileen Atkins compels as a leftie matriarch"
"Amy Herzog’s play, polished and tasteful and first seen in New York just over a decade ago, draws a quietly authoritative central performance from Eileen Atkins. But perhaps it’s just too polished; like one of those well-crafted Chekhovian short stories that upmarket American magazines like to publish, it wafts its way towards an understated conclusion."
"Atkins is very good. Hands flailing, she gives us a dressed-down, careworn matriarch rattling around in a handsomely proportioned book-lined apartment (Peter McKintosh’s set oozes bohemian charm). Croft delivers an assured display too as the play — just over 90 minutes long, with no interval — slips from one short scene to another. Somewhat distractingly, stagehands regularly emerge to make minimal changes to the decor."
"Eileen Atkins at her most subtle"
"Everyone should see Atkins. She makes acting look like being, not performing."
"It is a subtle portrait, in a production by Richard Eyre that shows his particular gift for intimate, reflective theatre. Yet I think playwright Amy Herzog has mismanaged her material (actually the memories of her sharp political granny), pivoting the play around meetings between Atkins’s character and her troubled backpacking grandson."
"For Eileen Atkins, 88, the show goes on and on"
"This doyenne of the stage is an example to us all in 4,000 Miles."
"Should a critic, describing a veteran’s performance, ignore his or her age? No. Their very seniority is interesting — an example to us all, should we be lucky enough to retain our strength. In this instance it makes Atkins near perfect for the role of an ancient matriarch."
"This play is no Disney weepie about grandparental ties. Its writer, Amy Herzog, aims to be more quirkily truthful than that and in the Jewish New York setting she largely succeeds."
"She is a tidy pro, hastening to her opening positions for scenes, her voice strong and focus steady. Nor does she try to upstage colleagues. Beaming smiles at curtain call suggested that she derived a buzz from working with younger actors, and they with her. All hail to Chichester’s great dame."