Peter Nichol’s semi-autobiographical play A Day in the Death of Joe Egg returns to the West End in a new revival starring Toby Stephens, Claire Skinner & Patricia Hodge.
A black comedy about a couple trying to raise a disabled child in 70’s Britain, Simon Evans’ revival of Nichols’ brilliant humane play, has opened to glowing reviews .
Reports of Evans not quite getting to the surface layer, or with the stakes “never feeling that high” appear, in retrospect, to be heavily outweighed by five star performances from the cast and any criticism of ‘A Day in the Death of Joe Egg‘ being too glossy is by no means a deal breaker.
Darkly funny and thought-provoking, this revival of a great play appears to be a must-see.
A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg is booking until 31 November 2019 at Trafalgar Studio 1, London.
A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg tickets are available now.
Read a round-up of reviews below.
Michael Billington, The Guardian
“Peter Nichols’ classic has rare truth”
“Excellent performances from a cast including Toby Stephens and Claire Skinner”
“Clarence Smith is very funny as a do-gooder who believes money can fix everything”
“While Nichols’s play may have lost its initial shock value, this revival shows it still possesses a rare truth and humanity.”
Nick Curtis, The Standard
“Pin-sharp revival is as heartbreaking and funny as ever”
“Peter Nichols’s play…remains heartbreaking and savagely funny today.”
“Simon Evans’s pin-sharp revival features a bravura performance from Toby Stephens and a positively radiant one from Claire Skinner. ”
“(Toby Stephens) shows us the fear beneath Bri’s showy bravado and is lacerating in the final scenes”
“(Claire Skinner) shines, making a saintly character magnetic and witty”
Rosemary Waugh, Time Out
“Listless revival of the late Peter Nichols’s black comedy about two parents and their disabled daughter”
“There’s a lot that’s interesting about ‘A Day in the Death of Joe Egg’. But Simon Evans’s production is oddly unsatisfying. The stakes never feel that high, even at the point of something seriously dramatic happening towards the end.”
“For a play about covering everything up, it certainly feels like we’re only getting the surface layer.”
Claire Allfree, The Telegraph
“Both savage and compassionate”
“Simon Evans’s super-starry production, featuring Toby Stephens, Claire Skinner and Patricia Hodge, is both worthy tribute and a resounding vindication: the play, if anything, feels more savagely true than ever.”
Fergus Morgan, The Stage
“Engaging but too-clean revival of Peter Nichols’ frank, funny and wrenching play about parenting a disabled child”
“It is a bold play, rejecting sentimentality at every turn. Some scenes are wrenching, others provocative”
“In Simon Evans’ incongruously glossy revival, Toby Stephens…embraces the Vaudevillian nature of Nichols’ play”
“The way the lighting cues signal emotional shifts feels heavy-handed”
“The anguish in the writing doesn’t always come across; the secondary characters are played very broadly”
“The production never comes close to replicating the rawness and daring – the shit and the spit – of the play itself.”
Sarah Hemming, ft.com
“A Day in the Death of Joe Egg…is still, in Simon Evans’ revival, startling in its frankness”
“The play confronts pain and anger through horseplay. You often don’t know whether to laugh, cry or gasp”
“Stephens pitches his performance precisely, so you become gradually aware of the desperation behind the wisecracks and role-play.”
“The play’s candid discussion of disability, of male mental health and of love still feels fresh, as does its nimble use of comedy to draw you in”
Aleks Sierz, theartsdesk.com
“Sharp revival of Peter Nichols’s taboo-busting fantasia is magnificent”
“Simon Evans’s terrific production is designed by Peter McKintosh and presents a perfect balance between tragic desperation and uneasy laughter. As well as compelling performances by Stephens and Skinner, Clarence Smith and Lucy Eaton breathe life into Freddie and Pam.”
“Toolis commands our undivided focus and attention whenever on stage. It’s an expressive and heart-wrenching performance”
“Claire Skinner has a knack for drawing us in with her warm and relatable characterisation.”
“Under Simon Evans’ direction the pace flows well and the cast more than do justice to the script. Moving and deeply affecting but laced with dark humour throughout, this revival reminds us just what a poignant and thought-provoking piece of theatre Nichols created, and one that remains as important as ever.”
Average rating score for this production:
Date: 4 October 2019
Written by: Simon Raven
Tags: A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg, Claire Skinner, Patricia Hodge, review round-up, Toby Stephens