Minority Report at the Lyric Hammersmith London. Photo by Marc Brenner

Minority Report Reviews Round-up

Reviews are coming in from London theatre critics for Minority Report at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre in London .

This new stage adaptation of the sci-fi classic is directed by Max Webster (Macbeth, The Importance of Being Earnest, Life of Pi), and stars Jodie McNee (Orlando, Cuckoo, Anatomy of a Suicide), as the main character Dame Julia Anderton.

The show premiered at the Nottingham Playhouse and Birmingham Repertory Theatre in March, and is now playing at London’s Lyric Hammersmith theatre to 18 May 2024.

The cast also includes Nick Fletcher (The Crucible, Anna Karenina) as George, Roseanna Frascona (Macbeth, Salomé) as Anna, Nicholas Rowe (Tammy Faye, The Inquiry) as Ralph, Tanvi Virmani (The Crown Jewels, Life of Pi) as David, Chrissy Brooke (Dr Semmelweis, Dirty Dancing), Xenoa Campbell-Ledgister (Sister Act), Ricardo Castro (Wuthering Heights, Come From Away) and Danny Collins (Sweet Charity, Tammy Faye) playing multiple roles.

Trailer: Minority Report

The creative team for the show also features Production Designer Jon Bausor; Video Designer Tal Rosner; Lighting Designer Jessica Hung Han Yun; Composer and Sound Designer Nicola T. Chang; Movement Director Lucy Hind; Illusions Designer Richard Pinner; and Casting Director Lotte Hines CDG.

Billed as a futuristic thriller, Minority Report is based on Philip K. Dick’s 1950’s sci-fi novel The Minority Report, that was turned into a blockbuster movie by Steven Spielberg starring Tom Cruise, and is adapted for the stage by writer and actor David Haig (My Boy Jack).

Photos: Minority Report

Minority Report is set in 2050, where neuroscientist Dame Julia Anderton (Jodie McNee) is about to launch the next phase of her pioneering Pre-Crime programme, detaining people for crimes before they are committed. But when Julia is accused of pre-murder, she’s in a race against time to save herself from her own system.

Minority Report is playing at the Lyric Hammersmith in London to 18 May 2024.

Read reviews from The Stage, Evening Standard and more, with further reviews to be added.

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Minority Report reviews

The Evening Standard

"Sci-fi thriller is by turns smart and daft, mindbending and lame"

"Why doesn’t theatre do more sci-fi? This adaptation of Philip K Dick’s novella may offer some answers"

"Why doesn’t theatre, an imaginative and metaphorical space, do more sci-fi? A partial answer comes from this adaptation of Philip K Dick’s 1956 novella exploring totalitarianism and personal choice, which is by turns smart and daft, mind-expanding and lame."

"Designer Jon Bausor uses pivoting metal grids and video screens to sketch in a Blade Runner version of rainy future London, complete with a chase involving self-driving vehicles, which is inventive but inevitably a bit naff."

"Director Max Webster favours pace and stridency over subtlety in a show that lasts a brisk 90 minutes. There’s some awkward, expressionistic choreography. McNee, tense and birdlike with a russet coxcomb of hair, is a defiantly chilly protagonist."

Nick Curtis, The Evening Standard
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The Stage

"Dizzying cat-and-mouse chase"

"Fast-paced sci-fi about the power of the state lacks the fear factor"

"In David Haig’s adaptation, directed by Max Webster, the futuristic world of surveillance feels one step away from our current reality: AI bots provide life advice, driverless taxis ship people across the capital and tech rules the land. The production has a slick air of ultra modernism, and whizzes through scenes at a relentless pace. Despite some spectacular, ambitious visuals, though, there’s the nagging sense that the theatre might not be the best medium for this dystopian fable."

"Yet while danger is imposed on to the action in these graphic effects, we never feel a rising sense of jeopardy – even during a gun fight, our hearts don’t race. On screen, this story might pump with danger; here, it is a horror show that remains remote – a warning about our world’s future, delivered at arm’s length."

Anya Ryan, The Stage
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What's On Stage

"Visually stunning but dramatically unsatisfying"

"t’s all a long way from Tom Cruise running across the screen in a futuristic world. David Haig’s adaptation of Minority Report owes more to the Philip K Dick short story on which the 2002 Steven Spielberg film was based than on the now-classic action movie. In fact, it stalks its own course, turning both into a rather English version of the tale, neither as propulsive as the film nor as morally challenging and bleak as the text. Despite a virtuoso production by Max Webster and his design team, which transforms a tiny stage into a richly realised vision of the near future, it never quite grips as drama."

Sarah Crompton, What's On Stage
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The Times

"Blade Runner meets a rainy day in Dunstable"

"The actor David Haig’s adaptation of the Philip K Dick short story, now at the Lyric Hammersmith in London, has bold touches but is too reliant on low-budget special effects"

"There’s no Tom Cruise striding purposefully towards the next crisis, but the playwright David Haig’s reworking of the dystopian short story by Philip K Dick still gives us a compelling central character. Jodie McNee’s harassed neuroscientist/CEO, ensnared by her own crime-busting technology, holds your attention even when you can’t help noticing that the bargain-basement tech surrounding her is more reminiscent of Blake’s 7 than a Hollywood epic."

"Thank goodness the script has a sense of humour. Tanvi Virmani’s AI assistant, known as David, pops up time and again to offer advice that isn’t always helpful, and there are gallows humour references to Alexa, coronavirus and the NHS. What’s lacking are subsidiary characters with any depth, although Nick Fletcher is a sympathetic presence as Julia’s unassuming husband."

Clive Davis, The Times
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The Financial Times

"Timely tale of AI thought police rebooted"

"Jodie McNee plays a neuroscientist branded a ‘pre-murderer’ in a pacy but thin adaptation of Philip K Dick’s novella"

"David Haig’s new stage adaptation of Minority Report starts, as does Steven Spielberg’s 2002 action movie, with Philip K Dick’s sci-fi novella. But Haig reboots the story to focus hard on the moral conundrum at its core — freedom versus safety — and to align it, cannily, with current concerns. Smart idea; sadly, mixed results."

"The arguments are intensely pertinent for an audience familiar with mounting discord over free speech, AI, algorithms and whether convenience outweighs the vast harvesting of personal data by our smart gadgets. Haig introduces, too, witty contemporary gags"

"Max Webster’s pacy production zips through the story in 90 minutes, embracing the confines of the stage to create a sense of urgency and claustrophobia."

"All this is fun, sharp and visually impressive. But the characters are very slenderly drawn: even Julia, despite McNee’s vivid, intense performance, feels remote."

Sarah Hemming, The Financial Times
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The Observer

"Max Webster’s dystopian sci-fi dazzles the eye but skips the mind"

"The visual whiz of Minority Report is in direct proportion to the puniness of its psychology."

"The evening belongs to Jessica Hung Han Yun’s lighting – torches swoosh through the darkness, huge shadows loom – and to Tal Rosner’s space-melting videos: the glass-clad skyscrapers of a future Islington dissolve under Rosner’s ripples; metal-clad rooms swarm with neon numbers; congregations of human brains are displayed floating like airborne cabbages. There is plenty of dazzle, but little dilemma."

Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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The Telegraph

"The Spielberg sci-fi thriller comes to the stage – and it’s as confusing as ever"

"The premise feels freshly pertinent as we become more reliant on AI, but this adaptation doesn’t live up to the Tom Cruise blockbuster"

"The actor and writer David Haig has grabbed the opportunity to bring the tale to the stage for the first time with director Max Webster (Life of Pi). The premise feels freshly pertinent – this year, it was reported that AI systems were being used to detect criminal activity on the London Underground."

"Webster’s production does however achieve mission impossible in generating suspenseful jeopardy: with pulsing lighting, bustling choreography, a throbbing soundscape and a shifting metallic, grid-like set conjuring futuristic exteriors and interiors in which the walls can literally be closing in."

"With an ending that feels too abrupt, there’s more work to be done. But in its most exhilarating moments, with search-lights criss-crossing the auditorium, you get a reminder that theatre can, and should, be exciting – and an inkling too of its tech-assisted future."

Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph
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The Guardian

"Futuristic fugitive thriller is criminally undercooked"

"Max Webster and David Haig’s ambitious female-led stage version of the sci-fi thriller is overwhelmed by its own optics"

"There is chutzpah in the endeavour but this is a strangely lifeless creation – a zombie hybrid of film and stage. David Haig’s script has an undercooked plot filled with anaemic twists, while both the action and pace need finessing. At least the optics are there, in abundance."

"But this visual action exists in lieu of narrative propulsion. Some fight scenes are wooden and the tension so necessary for an action drama of this kind is lacking. You simply do not feel the jeopardy in it."

"McNee gives an efficient, almost Time Lord-like performance, but there is not much scope to the character, while her husband George (Nick Fletcher) remains a cypher. Their marital arguments take place on the move and seem tacked on."

"The production is ultimately overwhelmed by its own optics, the 3D set unmatched by its hollow 2D drama."

Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Sunday Times

"... in Haig’s version, a rushed and, alas, unconvincing depiction of a 2050 London in which crime has been eradicated but liberty has been squashed. Despite a long and initially absorbing opening speech in which our heroine, Julia Anderton (Jodie McNee, excellent), explains the ten-year history of British Pre-Crime, the issues remain hard to grasp."

"Even at only 90 minutes, it drags. Shame, because the look of it all is quite something. Jon Bausor’s design gives us stagewide computer graphics, futuristic taxis, sleek glass rectangles to signify the London Underground (bring it on!), … alongside rubbish rebels and a baddie who explains themselves as if facing down the detective in a Fifties whodunnit. So much admirable ambition, yet it has reached the stage before the script is fully cooked."

Dominic Maxwell, The Sunday Times
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"A smattering of cool setpieces can’t make up for David Haig’s blundering script in this missed opportunity stage sci-fi"

"What was great about the Lyric Hammersmith’s 2019 adaptation of Stanisław Lem’s ‘Solaris’ was that it understood that sci-fi on stage doesn’t have to mean splashy effects and cinematic thrills, that it can mostly take place in your head. But David Haig’s new version of Philip K Dick’s 1956 short story ‘The Minority Report’ regrettably takes the opposite tack."

"Although the many, many action setpieces in Max Webster’s production are accomplished, it’s hard to the actual point of most of them... For all the skill that’s gone into crafting these scenes there’s not the budget there to match the lavish theatricality of shows like ‘Stranger Things: The First Shadow’ or ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’, where the spectacle is so overwhelming it becomes the point."

"Given brain chips and behaviour-predicting algorithms are very much things being discussed in our society now, it feels right that Haig has ditched the rather more fanciful ‘psychic mutants’ premise. But his update feels maddeningly sloppy. The AI predicts things that are clearly impossible to predict without literally being able to see the future."

"McNee is charismatic and intense and looks pretty cool carrying a big gun while shouting at people."

Andrzej Lukowski, TimeOut
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📷 Main photo: Minority Report at the Lyric Hammersmith London. Photo by Marc Brenner

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