Review Roundup: What Did the Critics Make of Sam Mendes' THE LEHMAN TRILOGY?

The epic tale is now showing at the Gillian Lynne Theatre

By: Feb. 09, 2023
Review Roundup: What Did the Critics Make of Sam Mendes' THE LEHMAN TRILOGY?

The National Theatre and Neal Street Productions’ The Lehman Trilogy makes a triumphant return to London following an acclaimed season in Los Angeles and a highly lauded run on Broadway, winning 5 Tony Awards® including Best Play.

Directed by Academy Award®, Tony Award® and Golden Globewinner Sam MendesThe Lehman Trilogy features a cast of three playing the Lehman brothers, their sons and grandsons, in an extraordinary feat of story-telling told in three parts on a single evening. Hailed by The New York Times as 'a genuinely epic production', The Lehman Trilogy is the story of a family and a company that changed the world.

So what did the critics think of the show's return to the West End?

Photo Credit: Mark Douet

 

Review Roundup: What Did the Critics Make of Sam Mendes' THE LEHMAN TRILOGY? Aliya Al-Hassan, BroadwayWorld: Those expecting an exploration into the bank's role in the financial crisis will be disappointed; despite beginning and ending the show, we never get into the mechanics of the causes and the final crash does feel a little rushed. However, this is not really what the play is about. It's about family ties, overarching ambition and a cautionary tale about the so-called American dream.

Review Roundup: What Did the Critics Make of Sam Mendes' THE LEHMAN TRILOGY? Sarah Crompton, WhatsOnStage: They are traders, rabbis, lovers, wives, slipping between the characters with the help of an upturned collar or a nod of the head. The original trilogy of actors – Simon Russell Beale, Ben Miles and Adam Godley – created each of those characters for the first production in 2018, suiting their inflections to their own styles. It is extraordinary and rather wonderful to watch Nigel Lindsay, Michael Balogun and Hadley Fraser shape them in different ways.

Review Roundup: What Did the Critics Make of Sam Mendes' THE LEHMAN TRILOGY? Clive Davis , The Times: When I first saw the play, I wondered if it couldn’t have been trimmed by 20 minutes or so. It still could. Even so, the narrative seldom flags. Scenes hurtle past as Balogun, Fraser and Lindsay, still wearing their sombre frock coats, mimic the quirks and tics of one generation after another. It’s a little like seeing Thomas Mann’s Buddenbrooks, the story of another sober family business that loses its way, transformed into a graphic novel.

Review Roundup: What Did the Critics Make of Sam Mendes' THE LEHMAN TRILOGY? Richard Maguire, The Reviews Hub: The three actors march, prowl and clamber over Es Devlin’s glass cube, a modern day office suite that revolves on stage. As we move into the 1980s it appears to spin to dizzying effect with Luke Hall’s video design that curves along the back of the stage. The way the three men move, always ending up facing the audience when the revolve stops, is a form of choreography. The three men never miss a step. Just below the stage, Yshani Perinpanayagam plays a piano, a haunting score by Nick Powell.

Review Roundup: What Did the Critics Make of Sam Mendes' THE LEHMAN TRILOGY? Nick Curtis, Evening Standard: Director Sam Mendes’s enthralling production blends domestic and world events, a ritualistic family saga, and homages to American culture. There’s a curved Cinerama-style screen at the back of the stage showing the Atlantic, empty Alabama vistas and the changing New York skyline, plus a live, silent-movie style piano accompaniment throughout. The witty performances have more than a touch of vaudeville: I was occasionally reminded of the Marx Brothers.

Review Roundup: What Did the Critics Make of Sam Mendes' THE LEHMAN TRILOGY? Tim Bano, The Stage: When Michael Balogun’s Emanuel Lehman steps out of the vast glass and steel box in which he, Hadley Fraser and Nigel Lindsay have been telling the story of the three German-Jewish Lehman Brothers from their arrival in America to the firm’s 2008 collapse, there’s a sudden coming together of the worlds of theatre and finance. They’re both entirely reliant on pretending. The world they’ve conjured for two hours is as illusory and fragile as the financial world their characters are describing. Having Balogun break the illusion is just one of hundreds of tricks that Sam Mendes pulls out of his magic box as he transforms three actors and a few packing boxes into the history of America.

Review Roundup: What Did the Critics Make of Sam Mendes' THE LEHMAN TRILOGY?
Average Rating: 88.3%

To read more reviews, click here!


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Last night was the official opening night of the National Theatre and Neal Street Productions' The Lehman Trilogy at the Gillian Lynne Theatre. Check out photos from the red carpet, as well as the post-show party at The Londoner hotel!

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Review Roundup: What Did the Critics Make of Sam Mendes' THE LEHMAN TRILOGY?

The National Theatre and Neal Street Productions’ The Lehman Trilogy makes a triumphant return to London following an acclaimed season in Los Angeles and a highly lauded run on Broadway, winning 5 Tony Awards® including Best Play. Directed by Academy Award®, Tony Award® and Golden Globe winner Sam Mendes, The Lehman Trilogy features a cast of three playing the Lehman brothers, their sons and grandsons, in an extraordinary feat of story-telling told in three parts on a single evening. Hailed by The New York Times as 'a genuinely epic production', The Lehman Trilogy is the story of a family and a company that changed the world.

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Review: THE LEHMAN TRILOGY, Gillian Lynne Theatre

Sam Mendes' The Lehman Trilogy has criss-crossed the Atlantic since 2008, picking up numerous nominations and awards along the way. An epic history of Western capitalism and a masterclass in theatrical storytelling, it now makes a dazzling return to the West End’s Gillian Lynne Theatre.

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