Joe Wright's 'charming' stage debut Trelawny of the Wells
Atonement director stages Pinero's 'wonderfully funny and touching' ode to the theatre
What you need to know
A revival of Arthur Wing Pinero's comedy Trelawny of the Wells, directed by Joe Wright, has opened at the Donmar. It's a stage directing debut for Wright who is best known for his films, Atonement and Anna Karenina.Pinero's 1898 play, updated by Patrick Marber, stage star Rose Trelawny leaves the theatre for her well-to-do beau. When upper-class life bores, she returns to the theatre only to find her acting talent has deserted her.
Daniel Mays (Mrs Biggs, Made in Daggenham) plays the company's leading man, Ferdinand Gadd, and Skins actor Daniel Kaluuya is aspiring playwright Tom Wrench. Amy Morgan appears as Rose. Runs until 13 April.
What the critics like
This is "a wonderfully funny and touching evening", says Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph. Wright affectionately stages Pinero's love letter to the theatre with the aid of some "cracking performances".
"It's a charming play," says Michael Billington in The Guardian. The production is both touching and funny, with "striking contributions from Daniel Mays as a posturing thespian" and Daniel Kaluuya as the modernising playwright.
Wright has assembled "a classy stage cast, willing both to act and overact", says Libby Purves in The Times. There's a series of "lovingly preposterous caricatures" from the 19th century stage and some "moments of true hilarity".
What they don't like
All the self-reflexive drama and meta-theatrical in-joking can feel laboured, says Paul Taylor in The Independent. There are touching moments, but also "a general epidemic of conscious artificiality" and caricature. ·