Review Roundup: See What Critics Thought of APPROPRIATE

Review Roundup: See What Critics Thought of APPROPRIATE

The Donmar Warehouse presents Ola Ince's production of Appropriate by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins starring BAFTA and Olivier Award-winning actor Monica Dolan as Toni Lafayette, Jaimi Barbakoff (Rachael Kramer-Lafayette), Charles Furness (Rhys Thurston), Edward Hogg (Franz Lafayette), Steven Mackintosh (Bo Lafayette), Isabella Pappas (Cassidy Kramer-Lafayette), Orlando Roddy (Ainsley Kramer-Lafayette), Oliver Savell (Ainsley Kramer-Lafayette) and Tafline Steen(River Rayner).

So I thought, since we can't do Europe this summer, why don't the kids and I just do a little Southern History road trip? We're going to drive back home through Mississippi, Louisiana - all those places - experience some of Daddy's heritage.

The Lafayette family gather at their late father's home in Arkansas to bury the hatchet and prepare the former plantation for its Estate Sale.

Until, that is, they make a discovery which changes everything.

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins takes on the rich tradition of American family drama in his gripping play about ghosts and the legacies we are left with. Ola Ince directs Appropriate in its UK premiere at the Donmar.

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

Anthony Walker-Cook, BroadwayWorld: Despite such disturbing themes, director Ola Ince manages to draw an impressive amount of comedy from the piece. All the cast capture the audience's attention, though Dolan especially offers a shakingly austere portrayal of a woman whose grief has consumed her. Pappas also does well with a role that caricatures the modern teenager. Hogg's frenzied behaviour definitely taps into the listless energy of someone in rehab, though risks at points being hyperbolic.

Michael Billington, The Guardian: Ola Ince's production faithfully captures the play's mix of sibling rivalry and ghost story, and Fly Davis's design suggests, in a manner reminiscent of Blithe Spirit, that even the furniture is spooked. Monica Dolan gives a standout performance as Toni, showing that behind the character's abrasiveness and cruelty lurks a deep longing for familial love. Steven Mackintosh as the acquisitive Bo, Edward Hogg as the manic Frank and Tafline Steen as his hippie fiancee lend strong support, and the play confirms Jacob-Jenkins' rare gift for wresting new meanings from stock theatrical forms.

Sarah Crompton, What'sOnStage: Throughout Jacobs-Jenkins exhibits an extraordinary balance of control and wildness; for all its debt to other dramas that feature families full of fear and loathing, this one has a tone and concerns all of its own. It's a magnificent achievement and all the performances rise to the occasion. Dolan is just extraordinary as Toni, so cruel and foul you loathe her, but never losing sight of the sadness behind her anger and Mackintosh similarly captures the boiling emotion behind Bo's urbane surface, all twitches and tightness and nervous breathing. "I didn't enslave anyone," he cries. Jacobs-Jenkins leaves the denial hanging. What a writer he is!

Photo Credit: Marc Brenner

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