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A year in London theatreland: arrivals, departures and angering members

It was marmite to theatre bloggers but were critics similarly divided by In the republic of happiness?

It's not unusual for plays to divide but the extent of contrasting opinions about the Royal Court's In The Republic of Happiness has been stark - from the blogging community at least. For my part I hated it and tried to fall asleep, I've seen another blogger begin their reviews saying: "Don't go and see this play" and the reader rating on the Evening Standard website is two stars.

The flip side is having it described as "epic" afterwards. It was press night on Weds and the reviews have trickled in so has it been as divisive among the critics?


Paul Taylor in The Independent describes it as "a razor-sharp production of a work that could be described as the ultimate antidote to mindless festive cheer."

Libby Purves in The Times (£): "It’s a bracingly sour seasonal treat: Crimpmas, if you like."

Fence sitter

Michael Billington in The Guardian: "I admire Crimp's ambition, but his play left me puzzled."

David Benedict, Variety: Although Crimp's typical fascination with breaking down traditional form is admirable, his experimentation sails close to the level of arrogance given its lack of interest in the limits of the audience's attention span.

Henry Hitchins, Evening Standard: "Although it ends weakly and brims with phrases that many theatergoers will find offensive or baffling, this is a spiky provocation that is also deviously poetic."


Charles Spencer, The Telegraph said: "The Royal Court’s decision to offer Crimp for Christmas is clearly a sly little joke on the part of its outgoing artistic director Dominic Cooke, though one that’s about as funny as presenting your alcoholic uncle with a festively wrapped bottle of malt whisky when he has been precariously on the wagon for six months."