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Garrick Theatre

2 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0HH 0330 333 4811

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  • Synopsis
  • Theatremonkey show opinion
  • Reader reviews
  • Performance schedule
  • Ticket prices

Ends 25th February 2023.


It takes five centuries for someone to find the courage to truly be themselves... 

Emma Corrin is directed by Michael Grandage on this quest, as Neil Bartlett adapts this Virginia Woolf novel for the stage.

(seen at the afternoon performance on 17th December 2022)

Emma Corrin gives a storming performance as Orlando in Neil Bartlett’s magpie diamond of a play.

The monkey has never read the novel by Virginia Woolf, had no idea of the content or significance and didn’t even read the programme notes before it began. Thus every element was a fresh revelation, and the 90 minute rollercoaster of gender identity and politics had it clinging on through every minute of the ride.

Moving from Elizabeth the First’s time to 1928, with the central character very much a man (flashing the front rows with rubber bits to prove it) before deciding female is a choice and going on to explore all points in between, Bartlett stirs in a hundred clever quotes you will amuse yourself spotting.

Michael Grandage has as much fun with the direction, Peter McKintosh’s expert costume designs and simple flying cloths and small props (plus one comfy-looking bed), letting Grandage open the throttle and allow the piece to roar along.

Even as Corrin is the focus, their “Greek Chorus” of Virginias provide the centre-stage costume and scene changes and keep the chronology updated. Mistress of Ceremonies Deborah Findlay as Orlando’s housekeeper Mrs Grimsditch has all the appeal of the best panto dame and the audience in her thrall throughout.

Corrin needs the structure, for theirs is a huge role, they are seldom off-stage and required to act and react to increasingly complex situations and emotions as time flies by. Naïve and vulnerable at the start, able to debate if not answer questions about identity by the end – and know why the answer is not required. It’s a strongly written character given a compelling life by a hugely talented performer.

Smaller roles are well covered by the ensemble. Jodie McNee is a formal Marmaduke, Lucy Briars an irascible Queen Elizabeth and salty Officer to Debra Baker’s even saltier Captain, while Millicent Wong almost steals her scenes as a recurring lover lurking in every time period.

Perhaps a peculiar time of year to stage this, yet it is the perfect alternative to seasonal frippery without being the least bit heavy, preachy or lecturing. Take it as a terrific story or debate it for hours on the way home, the choice is yours. The point is that London has a serious must-see play at a time people may have a chance to see it. Do so. 
 

Legacy reader reviews

Seat W13 in the stalls. Felt a bit far from the stage. We were lucky as the people sitting in the few rows in front were not very tall and the rake of the seating was not good. The play is 90 minutes without an interval and the seat itself was very uncomfortable. The seat padding needs attention!

What a stunning production. Director Michael Grandage has done it again. Great cast, Emma Corrin was good but Deborah Findlay stole the show, a great performance. Everything else was almost perfect. Get a ticket if you can.

4.5 stars

Taljaard
 

The monkey advises checking performance times on your tickets and that performances are happening as scheduled, before travelling.

Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm
Wednesday and Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm

Runs 1 hour 30 minutes approximately, with no interval.

Theatres use "dynamic pricing." Seat prices change according to demand for a particular performance. Prices below were compiled as booking originally opened. Current prices are advised at time of enquiry.

Garrick Theatre seating plan showing prices
Monday to Thursday

 

Garrick Theatre seating plan showing prices
Friday and Saturday

RUSH TICKETS: App Todaytix are offering £25 "Rush tickets," located at venue discretion, for all performances. Released for the performance on that day, first-come, first-served. Download the App from Todaytix

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