“As Colm, Jeremy Irons makes the journey from twisted dissatisfaction with absolute power through mental breakdown – which involves an episode of infantile dependency – to not one, but two, rebirths. Since the whole story is seen largely through his eyes, the sincerity of the performance dominates the evening.” TribuneMagazine.co.uk
“Jeremy Irons nails Colme. From slick-suited master of the universe to guileless, burnt-out hobo, his skill for nuance survives this blizzard of action to tell a touching and truthful tale.” wharf.co.uk
“And while for much of this three-hour play you may suspect you would be better off watching Shakespeare’s originals, the sheer drive of Maria Aberg’s production, and the utter bravura of Jeremy Irons’s central performance as the Lear-like Colm, keeps the doubts at bay.” The Jewish Chronicle Online
“Jeremy Irons convincingly conveys Colm’s soul-searching transformation from heartless mogul to devoted father-figure…” Islington Tribune
“Irons, as Colm, portrays a man driven mad by his own ball-breaking behaviour. In the twilight of his life he is tormented by remorse for his tyrannical treatment of a former rival whose life was destroyed. At the time his conscience was little bothered, but now, as his survival depends on the kindness of his rival’s surviving daughter Barbara, he is obsessed with what he did.” Official London Theatre Guide
“Jeremy Irons gives a commanding performance as Colm in Maria Alberg’s punishing RSC production, ranging from dangerous duplicity and charm, through moments of madness to brief contentment before the drama’s final crushing blow.” telegraph.co.uk
“It is over 20 years since Jeremy Irons played an impressive Richard II for the Royal Shakespeare Company, and he brings all his old charm and crack-voiced swagger to the role of a modern King Lear in Dennis Kelly’s new play The Gods Weep.” whatsonstage.com
“An agonised Jeremy Irons manages to make you sympathise with the guilt-haunted Colm, and forges a genuinely loving relationship with Joanna Horton’s kindly, pragmatic Barbara.” guardian.co.uk
“The critics have weighed in and are giving praise to both Irons and other members of the company for their performances, but the reviews are being less kind to Kelly’s latter day King Lear.” Theatre Mania – Review Roundup
“The Gods Weep is brilliantly cast. Irons is first-rate as Colm, especially after the interval once his transition from tyrant to penitent is complete.” entertainment-focus.com
“As Colm, Jeremy Irons is at first severe and vicious, then he turns ghostly before growing ruminative. He has some touching scenes with Barbara (Joanna Horton), a young woman whose relationship with him is pregnantly awkward.” thisislondon.co.uk
“The man handing over the reins is Colm, a highly successful business man who has run a ruthless operation and is now suffering a crisis of conscience. Jeremy Irons makes him a compelling figure: gaunt, desiccated and gnawed from the inside by doubts and self-loathing.” Financial Times
A battle to master his vision
Theatre Review – The Gods Weep * * *
Source/Transcribed from the March 22, 2010 edition of the Metro
Dennis Kelly’s new three-hour play can’t be faulted for ambition: it’s a post-apocalyptic hybrid of Richard III and King Lear in which boardroom politics have taken on the dimension of bloody territorial conflict.
Jonathan Slinger, last seen on stage playing Richard III, virtually reprises that RSC performance as a psychotic, newly-appointed joint CEO of a vast company who instantly adopts the uncompromising business tactics of company owner Colm to stage a takeover and declare war on his business partner. As war rages across England, a rapidly weakening Colm seeks refuge in the home of Barbara, daughter of an associate he once wronged. Blood and madness spill across the stage before Maria Aberg’s production abruptly changes tack and Colm and Barbara forage for survival in a blasted landscape.
Kelly’s play shares the pitiless vision of King Lear with its unflinching look at the amorality of civil war. He is also on to something in suggesting ruthless corporate practices resemble warfare. Yet his writing is pure shock and awe. Slinger is fabulously watchable but his Richard is merely a bundle of maniacal ties, while the redemptive subplot involving Colm’s turncoat son tests the limits of plausibility. Jeremy Irons (pictured with Joanna Horton) grows into Colm, but the scope of this play outruns Kelly’s ability to explore it.
Theatre Review: The Gods Weep – Hampstead
Hannah Berry has been a loyal fan of Dennis Kelly’s compelling works. But were those high expectations realised with his new play The Gods Weep?
I remember the first time I heard an extract from a Dennis Kelly play – my ears pricked up and an interest was aroused in me as if I was a shark smelling blood from two miles off. His writing is real and compelling – it takes the ordinary and shows it’s dark side. So, going to see the RSC’s production of The God Weeps at The Hampstead Theatre, my expectations were understandably high.
A little longer in length and maybe slightly more surreal than his normal style, this performance was phenomenal from the opening line. A fairly large cast of fifteen and with each bringing their own strengths, it is hard to pick out one that particularly stood out.
Of course Jeremy Irons was brilliant as the God-like man Colm; Nikki Amuka-Bird was a fantastically twisted and tortured Beth and Joanna Horton is a wonderfully innocent Barbara, struggling with an internal battle of mixed feelings of hate and perhaps pity, or possibly love. However, Jonathan Slinger as the sickeningly power-obsessed Richard portrays well how far some people are prepared to go and at what cost it entails.
Naomi Dawson must be applauded for set designed so well, that it could so easily be switched from outside to in, bedroom to boardroom, with effortless ease. Director, Maria Aberg, used every bit of space she could, and not one orifice of the auditorium was left untouched. As an audience, you could not see what or who would come next, and from where they might spring.
If you can do anything between now and April 3rd, sell your soul if you have to, but whatever you do just make sure you get a ticket. The God Weeps did not only fulfill my expectations, it went far beyond them.
The Gods Weep runs at Hampstead Theatre until 3rd April 2010