Review Roundup: Kevin Spacey Stars in Old Vic's CLARENCE DARROW
Kevin Spacey returns to the role of pioneering lawyer Clarence Darrow after the critically acclaimed Old Vic Production of Inherit the Wind and the PBS film Darrow. Thea Sharrock directs him in Rintels' compelling one man tour-de-force in which the larger than life Darrow with his legendary wit relives some of his pivotal experiences, including the infamous Scopes 'Monkey' and 'Thrill Killers' trials which established his reputation as a courtroom giant and civil rights hero. The production runs Wed 28 May - Sun 15 June.
Let's see what the critics had to say below...
Michael Billington, The Guardian: Kevin Spacey gives a big, barnstorming performance as the famed American lawyer, Clarence Darrow. But that is entirely appropriate for a man who was a fervent champion of the poor and oppressed and of whom it was once said, after he had been accused of corruption: "Darrow doesn't bribe juries: he just frightens them to death...In the Old Vic's new configuration, Spacey is having to perform in the round. He does this magnificently. His Darrow has a slight stoop and sagging walk as if his knees were buckling under the weight of his moral indignation. But the dominant impression is one of ferocious energy as Spacey roams around the cluttered law-office set and periodically bursts out of its confines to eyeball members of the audience as if they were jurors he was seeking to persuade or harangue.
Dominic Maxwell, The Times: Is that it? I thought as Kevin Spacey completed his first one-man show, an impassioned tribute to the great American lawyer of the title. Since I was thinking such mutinous thoughts surrounded by an audience giving him a standing ovation for this powerhouse indulgence, it's fair to assume that I was not tapping into the mood of the crowd. And I can see what appeals: Spacey emits so much energy here that you could plug him into the National Grid.
Charles Spencer, The Telegraph: ...Spacey is entirely alone on stage and playing in the Old Vic's dramatically reconfigured in-the-round auditorium. How can one actor possibly hope to engage in this big house with an audience that completely surrounds him? Inevitably he must have his back turned to a large section of the audience at any one time. The answer is that Spacey prowls round the stage like a battered old prize fighter, constantly on the move as he buttonholes members of the audience, and radiates a charisma and a dramatic attack that is often spellbinding. There are moments when he seems to be speaking just to you. It is inevitably a somewhat shouty performance, as Spacey has to make himself heard all round the house, but the sheer energy and attack of this tour-de-force is exhilarating.
Paul Taylor, The Independent: It's a slightly clunky and romanticised retrospective but Spacey's mordant, open-hearted performance - directed by Thea Sharrock - brilliantly captures the fusion in Darrow of boundless crusading zeal unashamed theatrical showmanship. He prowls about on splayed arthritic legs like a veteran prize fighter who refuses to be felled and splendidly squares the circle of performing a solo show in-the-round by repeatedly breaking the frame and buttonholing various sections of the audience as though they were jurors. Darrow's claims to greatness as a battered but unbowed humanitarian find, in Spacey, the perfect advocate.