Passion at the Donmar Warehouse – Reviews Round-up
Passion is not the easy crowd-pleaser with which many thought the Donmar would choose to celebrate Stephen Sondheim’s 80th year. But it is certainly a powerful, though-provoking piece, and one which allows director Jamie Lloyd to team up again with Elena Roger following their 2008 success with Piaf.
Critics hail Elena’s performance as another triumph for the actress who continues to choose brave, demanding roles. Much praise is also heaped on the other strong supporting performances, notably David Thaxton and Scarlett Strallen, if not universally for the musical itself.
Read extracts from Passion reviews below, including The Times, The Telegraph, The Observer and The Guardian.
The Independent, Paul Taylor
“Jamie Lloyd’s Donmar revival of this rebarbative 1994 musical makes a compelling case for its power to unsettle and affront.”
Daily Mail, Quentin Letts
“Elena Roger is mesmerising as the lonely neurotic in love with David Thaxton’s dashing Captain Giorgio.”
Daily Telegraph, Charles Spencer
“Elena Roger with her huge eyes, hungry mouth and waif-like fragility is by turns repulsive, menacing and finally wreathed with the rapture of love as Fosca. The burly David Thaxton, who makes her seem like a doll in his arms, powerfully captures the progress of an initially bland young man into the coils of inescapable passion, while Scarlett Strallen suggests a far more wholesome sexuality as his mistress. Meanwhile, the supporting cast create a strong sense of the ribald, bickering boredom of life in the barracks.”
The Times, Libby Purves
“Looking back in a daze at this violent production it is easy to laugh off the gothic gloom. During it, you can’t. The intimacy of the Donmar — smell the candlewax, the gunpowder — is matched by the intense musical score and by performances that carry you through, headfirst and helpless.”
The Observer, Susannah Clapp
“Stephen Sondheim’s Passion is a startling show. Its music is a continuous stream of melancholy longing. Its plot, based on a mid-19th-century Italian novel, is remorselessly uncomfortable. It has – how many other musicals can boast this? – a strong feminist thread. And, in the figure of an unlovely woman transfixed by romantic passion, it creates a thrilling, melodramatic role on which everything else depends. Elena Roger’s rendering of the part is tremendous.”