A Chorus Of Disapproval: London Premiere Reviews

A Chorus Of Disapproval opened in The Olivier at the National Theatre in 1985. This page presents extracts from some of the major reviews of the London premiere of the play.

Daily Mail (by Douglas Slater)
"An admirably comic comment on the state of the nation - and the theatre."

Daily Telegraph (by Eric Shorter)
"This time nobody can say it was better in Scarborough where Mr Ayckbourn first staged it last year; for the changes of Alan Tagg's scenery and the team work of the company give the show a smoothness and a scale unobtainable at his own seaside playhouse."

Financial Times (by Michael Coveney)
"Ayckbourn celebrates the still thriving business of amateur dramatics with a brilliance and invention remarkable even by his standards."

The Guardian (by Michael Billington)
"A magnificent comedy: symmetrically shaped, psychologically acute and painfully, heartbreakingly funny…. This is one of Ayckbourn's very best plays showing how art consumes, shapes and organises life leaving its participants sadder and wiser when it is over."

The Lady (by J.C. Trewin)
"This is another of the dramatist's searching inspections of very life: comic when he wishes, but also alarmingly truthful."

London Standard (by Milton Shulman)
"Ayckbourn's exposure of the petty disasters in lighting and stage management that have to be overcome in this desperate world is, at times, hilarious. But reality stubbornly refuses to break in."

The Observer (by Michael Ratcliffe)
"A brilliantly imaginative and funny comedy of life, sex and sadness."

Plays And Players (by Martin Hoyle)
"We're still left with a fine entertainment; above all, the complexity of the characters hearteningly illustrates Ayckbourn's constantly ripening gifts."

Punch (by Sheridan Morley)
"It is in my view far and away the most successful of his more recent and bleak journeys into mid-life crisis."

The Stage (by Peter Hepple)
"Even after more than 30 plays he [Ayckbourn] is the ever-prolific master dramatist."

Sunday Express (by Clive Hirschhorn)
"No one chronicles the neuroses of the British middle-class with such devastating accuracy… If Ayckbourn, who also directs, would only remove a couple of the longeurs, we'd be talking about a modern day classic."

Sunday Telegraph
"The basic idea, like all Ayckbourn's basic ideas, is a promising one… Mr Ayckbourn fulfils that promise with all his usual humour, pathos and unnerving insight into human idiosyncrasy."

Sunday Times
"When I saw it in Scarborough last year I thought it was sharp, ingenious and slightly prunable. Now, with the National's 24 carat cast, it reveals itself as a serious comic masterpiece: brilliantly constructed, ruthlessly observant, hilarious, and hard as nails."

The Times (by Irving Wardle)
"There are people who find Ayckbourn's comedies too painful for laughter.
A Chorus Of Disapproval marks his limit so far in combining extreme pain with the most uproarious farcical contrivance…. This is an uproariously lacerating occasion."

"The result, at least in the paralysing funny first act, approaches comic perfection, its only rival on the stage at present is Frayn's
Noises Off, also a play about a play."

Times Literary Supplement (by Barbara Godlee)
"In the ensuing fun, however, there can be no escape from the pain (are we really so dreadful?) which lies behind this dazzling comedy."

What's On
"It's a wonderfully funny evening - although as usual one is laughing at the pain and puzzlement of others and its heart the play is a keen-edged tragedy."

All reviews are copyright of the respective publication.