Roger Allam and Nathalie Armin in Limehouse © Jack Sain & Donmar Warehouse, 2017

Limehouse: Reviews

Find out what the critics had to say about Roger Allam’s performance as Roy Jenkins in Limehouse at the Donmar Warehouse, London…

Roger Allam is also astonishing as Jenkins. He not only has the receding hairline – can that really be a wig? – and the soft “r” sounds but the sensation of a man only really comfortable, as a historian once said, “at high office or at high table”: even to watch Allam’s faint look of distaste at the prospect of macaroni cheese is a delight.

– The Guardian, Timely account of Labour’s 1981 split is beautifully acted, 9 March 2017

(…) and features a super performance by Roger Allam as the lisping and pompous patrician Jenkins, who is more interested in wine (yes, Debbie has acquired a bottle of Chateau Lafitte) than press releases. Allam manages to infuse phrases such as “I am replete” with just the right amount of comic absurdity.

The Arts Desk, 9 March 2017

Allam, all soft “rs” and stentorian pronouncements, is perfect as Jenkins (…)

– The Telegraph, This dramatisation of the early SDP strikes a comic, relevant chord, 9 March 2017

It does boast some masterful performances. Roger Allam is particularly good value as Jenkins, alert to the man’s tics of speech and oratorical style.

– The Stage, ‘fascinating contemporary parallels’, 9 March 2017

He is matched by Roger Allam, relishing the near-caricature of Roy Jenkins, one of the greatest prime ministers Britain never had but saddled by epicurean tastes, verbosity and a speech impediment, so that here he declines coffee with “I am weplete in terms of caffeinated wefweshment.”

– Financial Times, It’s my party and I’ll leave if I want to, 9 March 2017

Acting from the five-strong cast – Roger Allam as Roy Jenkins, Debra Gillett as Shirley Williams, Tom Goodman-Hill as David Owen, Paul Chahidi as Bill Rodgers, plus Nathalie Armin as Owen’s publicist wife Debbie – is superb. A barely recognisable Allam, his hair ensconced under a polished dome, is particularly brilliant, perfecting Jenkins’ mannerisms and speech impediment to wonderful effect, making him at once a figure of fun and a respected elder.

City A. M. SDP drama is an invigorating take-down of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour, 10 March 2017

(…) Then Roger Allam as Roy Jenkins: mightily comic as he sniffs the clawet cork, wemarks on the “cwepuscular gweyness” of Bwusssells and looks round for a flunkey to take his coat. But also delivering with stirring conviction a pivotal childhood episode. These performances carry Polly Findlay’s bright production from a beginning in light caricature – perhaps towards a West End life?

– The Guardian, 12 March 2017

The star of this show is Roger Allam, whose Roy Jenkins is a study in pampered vanity.

Paul Chahidi, Roger Allam, Debra Gillett and Tom Goodman-Hill © Jack Sain and Donmar Warehouse, 2017Playing Jenkins, a man celebrated for both a speech defect and rococo cadences, Roger Allam has no choice but to deliver the voice perfectly, which he does. Waters carefully gives the character an early riff about the “crepuscular greyness” of Brussels, allowing Allam to establish the w-sounds and extravagant adjectives. Actor and playwright also challenge the assumption that for Jenkins both to love fine wine and to advocate social justice was inevitably a contradiction.

The New Statesman, Limehouse raises the question of when party loyalty becomes political irresponsibility, 23 march 2017

2 thoughts on “Limehouse: Reviews

  1. I’m a huge fan of Roger Allam – such a sublime actor. I tried to get tickets for Limehouse but they were sold out! I’m now beyond any consolation…..

    1. Keep an eye on the Donmar Warehouse Twitter account! Every Monday at 12 pm they release #KLAXSON tickets, and they will also notify you when there are returns for the day. (There is also the Young + Free scheme, and you can always call the theatre to ask for standing tickets). Good luck!

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