Visitors – reviews of debut from 'outstanding' new theatre voice

Mar 11, 2014

Barney Norris's first full-length play wows critics with its funny, tender, sad portrait of love and aging

What you need to know

Critics are calling the premiere of Barney Norris's play Visitors at the Arcola theatre, London, "astonishingly accomplished". Visitors is twenty-something Norris's first full-length play.

The story focuses on an elderly farming couple who live on the edge of Salisbury Plain, ailing Edie and her devoted husband Arthur. When cheerful but rootless young Kate moves in to act as carer, the family must take stock of their lives.

Alice Hamilton directs Linda Bassett as Edie, Robin Soans as Arthur and Eleanor Wyld as Kate. Runs until 29 March.

What the critics like

Remember the name Barney Norris - a new writer but "already outstanding", says Kate Bassett in The Times. The play is a tender, humorous and heartbreaking portrait of a loving marriage and of complicated, shifting relationships between the generations, and the cast are all superb.

Norris's first full-length play is "astonishingly accomplished", says Henry Hitchings in the Evening Standard. This thoughtful and restrained production of an aching love story makes the quality of the writing sing.

Norris's play is "an absolute beauty, by turns funny, tender and desperately sad", says Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph. Hamilton directs a beautifully judged production, which finds all the humour, pain and love in this exceptional play.

What they don't like

Norris's tribute to married love is "highly unfashionable", and he can seem overly harsh about the younger generation, says Michael Billington in The Guardian. But this is a mature and tender play and the real pleasure lies in discovering an authentic new voice. 

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