Martin Crimp returned to the Royal Court with his new work, 'Republic Of Happiness' which Dominic Cooke directs in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs. Described as a "violent satire", the production opened on December 6 and features Anna Calder-Marshall, Emma Fielding, Seline Hizli, Ellie Kendrick, Stuart McQuarrie, Paul Ready, Michelle Terry, and Peter Wight.
Let's see what the critics had to say:
Michael Coveney from whatsonstage.com: Structurally unlike anything else he has written, it's funny, sexy, witty and rude, and performed in bright light with some terrific songs. Crimp goes so far as to call it "an entertainment in three parts," and it rocks along like a dystopian vaudeville conceived in an unlikely alliance of Alan Ayckbourn, Harold Pinter and Caryl Churchill.
Susannah Clapp from the Guardian: Ellie Kendrick is compulsively watchable: hyper-alert, silvery and feral. Michelle Terry lets out radiance not as if she were projecting it but rather expelling an unstoppable force. She also has to do phoney radiance and pulls that off too. She can do anything.
Charles Spencer of the Daily Telegraph: In Cooke's fluent, stylish production the cast perform this tiresome piece with more wit and conviction than it deserves. There is especially strong work from Anna Calder-Marshall as the game old granny; Peter Wight as her confused husband; Emma Fielding as the mother desperately trying to maintain the festive spirit; Paul Ready as Uncle Bob and Michelle Terry as his terrifying wife.
Sarah Hemming of Financial Times: It is a spiky, difficult and sometimes crude play: it has already infuriated some theatre-goers and prompted walk-outs. But I found this middle-section uncomfortably brilliant, as the cast work through "The Five Essential Freedoms of the Individual" in search of elusive personal happiness and security, breezily making assertions such as "I write the script of my life" and "I'm looking good".
Paul Taylor of the Independent: Martin Crimp's play has a deceptively traditional opening. We seem to be in Alan Ayckbourn territory as a middle-class family bicker round the Christmas dinner table. But then it's as though Season's Greetings has been hi-jacked by a squad comprised of the absurdist Ionesco, that master of logorrhoeic misanthropy, Thomas Bernhard, and Caryl Churchill at her most radically playful.
Henry Hitchings of the Evening Standard: Crimp tears into the contemporary obsession with individualism. He's venomous and occasionally very funny about narcissism, our short memories and the culture of therapy (both the retail and psychiatric varieties). He also skewers metropolitan smugness, the cut-and-paste aesthetics fostered by desktop technology and the modern historical ignorance that feels like a kind of collective dementia. Less overt is his interest in what might be called downward mobility - a preoccupation with being grubbier than our forebears.