Reviews are coming in for the return to London of Martin Sherman’s play Rose starring Maureen Lipman – this time at the West End’s Ambassadors Theatre.
The production ran last year at the Park Theatre in North London, getting great reviews.
Rose is a timely reminder of some of the harrowing events of the 20th century through a Jewish woman’s eyes, blending the personal with the political to trace one woman’s story from the devastation of Nazi-ruled Europe to conquering the American dream.
Rose is directed by Scott Le Crass, with design by David Shields, musical composition and sound design by Julian Star, and lighting design by Jane Lalljee.
Rose is running at the Ambassadors Theatre to 18 June 2023.
Read reviews including TimeOut, The Times, and The Telegraph, with more reviews to follow.
"Maureen Lipman shows astonishing skill and stamina as a comsummate Jewish survivor"
"By turns acidic, funny and touching, the great Dame delivers an acting masterclass in Martin Sherman’s all-too-timely 1999 monologue"
"The second half, with many wry and wistful observations about life in the States, drags a little, but Lipman never flags, sipping water, dispensing acid remarks and haunted looks. She’s funny when she needs to be, imbued with quiet pathos. She’s saluting a remarkable generation, but she’s one of a kind too."
"Maureen Lipman gives a phenomenal performance in Martin Sherman’s powerful holocaust survivor monologue"
"As her doctor points out, for someone who can’t breathe, she does talk a lot. Thank god – whichever one you want – that pretty much every word is riveting."
"Sherman’s text is harrowing of course. It couldn’t be much else. But two decades on from its premiere, the chills come from unexpected places"
"Two things become very clear: Lipman is an extraordinary actress, and Sherman an extraordinary writer. Lipman’s Rose foregrounds the humour: she leans into the wry observations, keeps it light when she can, smiles when a joke lands. For the darker stuff, the stuff she both needs to relate and can’t bring herself to remember, she resumes her stillness and lets tears come quietly, unshowily."
"... mostly it’s elegance, simplicity, all pared back and back until the only focus is Lipman and the story, and through its simplicity it hollows you out all the more."
"Maureen Lipman confronts the shadows of history"
"Maureen Lipman is perfect casting — almost too perfect, in fact — for this role."
"Sometimes the wisecracks come a little too easily, but Lipman remains such engaging company that you are compelled to keep listening."
"Why, then, did the mood falter as the script wound its way to its defiant conclusion? Partly because Rose risks becoming too much of a Jewish everywoman"
"It’s the more intimate details that are most potent."
"Maureen Lipman gives a compelling performance in an uneven show"
"Martin Sherman’s monologue for a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust goes in some surprising directions"
"Compellingly performed by Maureen Lipman, Martin Sherman’s monologue for a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust and multiple 20th century displacements goes in some surprising directions... One scene, by my reckoning, sees Lipman range across humour, tragedy, political argument and erotic reverie."
"It’s more a piece of storytelling than theatre, as Lipman, seated throughout the entire 160 minutes, demonstrates her extraordinary rapport with an audience."
"Lipman musters real tears as Rose mourns a murdered Arab girl at the end. There’s no real resolution to this uneven work, but it’s an undeniably fine performance."
"Maureen Lipman is precise and subtle"
"Timely revival of Martin Sherman’s moving monologue describing a century of war, displacement and human resilience"
"Reflecting on a life shaped by the forces of history, Rose – the eponymous narrator of Matin Sherman’s sprawling, uneven memory play – is a fascinating character, full of unhealable wounds but defined by her humour and compassion."
"Maureen Lipman gives a commanding, precise and understated performance as Rose... Lipman also displays some impeccable comic timing, dropping deadpan punchlines into even the bleakest moments of her story."
"Returning director Scott Le Crass gives the show a stripped-back staging, which keeps the attention focused, rightfully, on Lipman’s performance. But with Rose never rising from the bench where she sits shiva, it can feel profoundly static."
"Maureen Lipman’s one-woman show is an extraordinary epic of Jewish history"
"Lipman’s trademark dry sense of humour is a perfect match for the subtle inflections of Martin Sherman’s script"
"“If you get your first period and first pogrom in the same month, you can safely assume that your childhood is over,” Rose says, in an early illustration of the perfect match-up of Lipman’s trademark dry sense of humour to the subtle inflections in Sherman’s script."
"Scott Le Crass’s production is slow and stately, at times even soporific, making us long for a sudden injection of pace. This is a particular issue in the occasional drag of the second half, as Rose’s attentions turn to the turbulent times of modern Israel."
"One woman’s lifetime can contain multitudes, and Rose’s lifetime has many more multitudes than most. Together, Lipman and Sherman make us marvel – and tremble."
"Forget Beattie on the phone, 'Rose' is Maureen Lipman in full bloom"
"Verdict: Dame Maureen Rises"
"Performed sitting on a wooden shiva bench, Scott Le Crass's production is inevitably static, but the symbolism of that bench is not to be underestimated — any more than the grey smock, reminiscent of a concentration camp uniform. Framed by a grey mane of Lion King hair, Lipman's sad eyes and sardonic smile, exhausted by a century of suffering, do the heavy lifting. It's a performance of a lifetime, distilling the history of an entire people. It deserves to eclipse those ads."
"Its short run at the Ambassadors – a revival of the 2022 Park theatre production, capably directed by Scott Le Crass – is a must-see not only because it is an accomplished play, but because it’s an astonishing masterclass in acting by Maureen Lipman – a marathon of a monologue (more than two hours long) that holds us in thrall."
"What is wonderful about Lipman’s performance is, in part, her pacing. Her exceptional relaxation on stage is never at the expense of dramatic momentum. Having said that, the writing of the second half is overextended. But Sherman teems with ideas: he asks big questions with a lightness of touch before arriving, sympathetically, at a lack of definitive answers."