‘Solaris’ a psychological sci-fi thriller – review round up

Stanisław Lem’s cult sci-fi novel arrives at the Lyric Hammersmith in a new stage adaptation by David Greig, with direction by Matthew Lutton.

An epic psychological thriller set in space, this co-production by Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, Malthouse Theatre Melbourne and the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh has opened to rave reviews with significant praise for Greig’s adaptation.

Also noted by the media was Hyemi Shin’s interchangeable but impeccably detailed set-design and Paul Jackson’s stark lighting design.

‘Solaris’ is a must-see for fans of sci-fi, or theatre goers attracted by the idea of a haunting trip into inner and outer space.

Solaris is booking until 2 November 2019 at Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, London.

Solaris tickets are now available.

Read a round-up of reviews below.

Nick Curtis, The Standard

“Existential angst and visits from the dead in riveting sci-fi play”

“deeply thoughtful story of space exploration”

“Greig and director Matthew Lutton foster a mood of looming existential anxiety: you ache to see what will happen next”

“A homily about humanity’s destructiveness is well delivered by Jade Ogugua and Fode Simbo as Kelvin’s unhappy comrades, but strikes a rare bum note.”

“I’d urge fans of sci-fi and of vibrant theatre to head to Hammersmith at warp speed.”

“David Greig’s haunting take on the seminal sci-fi novel about an inscrutable living planet”

Andrzej Lukowski, Time Out

“I’d hope (Stanisław) Lem could acknowledge the boldness and, ultimately, the beauty of (David) Greig’s take on his seminal space novel”

“spectacularly nimble stage management from Kiri Baildon-Smith”

“It’s defined by Paul Jackson’s exemplary lighting design, which conveys the disorientating otherness of the intertwining light of Solaris’s two suns, one red, one blue”

“Occasionally I felt like Greig had lost his nerve a bit, failed to trust the book and made alterations that bring his ‘Solaris’ more in line with a Western sci-fi convention that Lem was never connected to.”

“it’s a haunting trip, into inner and outer space”

Quentin Letts, The Times

“There’s a touch of Blake’s 7 to the Lyric’s Solaris – and it’s all the better for it”

Mark Brown, The Telegraph

“terrifyingly strange, beautifully staged sci-fi”

Sarah Hemming, ft.com

“David Greig’s fascinating, funny and moving stage version of Stanislaw Lem’s 1961 sci-fi novel”

“starts slowly, gathers in intensity as it draws us into the agonising dilemmas of the crew.”

“The issues confronted by the piece take on new resonance for an age familiar with AI and virtual reality”

“Hyemi Shin’s versatile set…There’s something clinical about it, raising the possibility that all this takes place in an institution or even within the confines of one character’s head.”

“Paul Jackson’s stark lighting design…reminds us of the constant, looming presence of that inscrutable planet”

Mark Fisher, The Guardian

“love and loneliness collide in best take yet on sci-fi classic”

“David Greig’s adaptation…Although rooted in the novel, it takes bold and rewarding liberties with character and plot”

“consummately staged by Matthew Lutton…bringing a human scale to the otherworldly seascapes and arid spaceship interiors created by designer Hyemi Shin”

“With its sharp, cinematic cuts and rumbling waves of sound, Solaris troubles and tantalises.”

Tom Birchenough, theartsdesk.com

“moving and finely cerebral”

“David Greig’s dream-drama of cosmic loneliness is sci-fi at its most philosophical”

“David Greig’s reimagining of Stanisław Lem’s 1961 novel has brought a masterpiece of intellectual science fiction back to its philosophical core.”

“Director Matthew Lutton has created an ambitiously immersive experience appropriate for a work that aspires towards the cosmic”

“If there’s an overall dramatic shortcoming, it arguably lies in the very frequent black-out breaks that divide the action across the immediate screen-shaped stage area”

“The spare-framed, Australian-accented Joyce is impressive as Ray…but it’s (Polly) Frame who really stands out, growing in conviction as her fascination with the situation in which she has found herself deepens.”

Charlie Wilks, broadwayworld.com

“Matthew Lutton’s production is packed with lots of technical innovation; projection, sound, lighting and set design all come together to create a terrifyingly believable world.”

“Hyemi Shin’s stage is impeccably detailed, yet at the same time it’s incredibly interchangeable.”

“David Greig’s dialogue ricochets back and forth, providing some highly watchable moments.”

Average rating score for this production

Date: 20 September 2019
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