Find Out What Critics Thought of THE HEIGHT OF THE STORM

Find Out What Critics Thought of THE HEIGHT OF THE STORM

Multi award-winning star of screen and stage Jonathan Pryce stars as 'Andreì', and three-time Olivier award-winning Dame Eileen Atkins stars as 'Madeleine' in The Height of the Storm, in the UK premiere of a new compelling family drama by Florian Zeller, the internationally acclaimed writer of The Father.

Directed by Jonathan Kent, The Height of the Storm opened at Richmond Theatre on Saturday 1 September and played Cambridge Arts Theatre and Bath Theatre Royal, before transferring to London, opening at Wyndham's Theatre on Tuesday 2 October.

Andreì and Madeleine have been in love for over fifty years. This weekend, as their daughters visit, something feels unusual. A bunch of flowers arrives, but who sent them? A woman from the past turns up, but who is she? And why does Andreì feel like he isn't there at all?

Let's see whaat the critics had to say...

Marianka Swain, BroadwayWorld: French playwright Florian Zeller returns, with another compelling puzzle box of a play - the only thing definite about it being the trademark definite article in the title. But anchoring the human side of this elliptical work is a pair of commanding performances from Eileen Atkins and Jonathan Pryce, ensuring engagement even as reality skips and blurs.

Dominic Maxwell, The Times: It looks like an oil painting. Jonathan Pryce is lost in thought at the kitchen window; Eileen Atkins is peeling mushrooms at the table in a French provincial home full of books, art, love, loss and buried secrets. Quite what those secrets are will preoccupy anyone watching this artfully confusing, always absorbing, darkly amusing and finally deeply moving new play by Florian Zeller.

Tom Wicker, TimeOut: It takes a couple of scenes for Zeller's wordiness (via Christopher Hampton's translation) to find its rhythm. But when it does, we get a lyrical portrait of two people shaped into one by their years together but also by a past that may have contained secrets. As André loses his moorings on the present, guilt is a spectre.

Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard: Pryce captures precisely the vulnerability of a previously imperious man suddenly forced to confront a void. Atkins uses her wonderfully wry delivery to express benign frustration with her husband and daughters. These latter characters are little more than sketches, but there's briskly efficient work from Amanda Drew as the more level-headed of the pair. After André, or perhaps before him, the storm.

Michael Billington, The Guardian: Amanda Drew as the pragmatic, filially devoted Anne and Anna Madeley as the more flighty, irresponsible Elise make well contrasted siblings; even if the mysterious female visitor has the faint aroma of a plot device, Lucy Cohu plays her with sensual bravura. I can't pretend to have got all aspects of this slippery, poetic play, but, as a colleague once said of Pinter, there is a positive pleasure in not understanding everything. What I can say for certain is that Zeller's play penetrates the memory long after one has left the theatre.

Jane Kemp, What's On Stage: Jonathan Kent's production achieves everything you could expect from this play, translated from the French by Christopher Hampton. But a comment overheard at the end - 'I think I understood what that was about...' - is a fair reflection on The Height of the Storm.

Paul T. Davies, BritishTheatre: Those familiar with Florian Zeller's work, particularly his UK breakthrough The Father, will find echoes of his plays in The Height of the Storm. An older man confused, with unreliable memories, his family trying to resolve a situation, "this house is too big for you Dad", a mysterious visitor, a woman from his past who may be bringing a long buried secret to light. His work is fragmentary, cryptic, each movement seemingly revealing new information whilst muddying facts at the same time, until everything is brought into sharp clarity at the end. This is an involving 80 minutes of theatre, beautifully acted, with a final scene that will linger long in the memory.

Photo Credit: Roy Tan

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