Nancy Carroll and Roger Allam in The Moderate Soprano © Hampstead Theatre / Manuel Harlan

The Moderate Soprano: Reviews

Find out what the critics had to say about Roger Allam’s performance as opera manager John Christie in The Moderate Soprano at the Hampstead Theatre, London…

Roger Allam delivers a stunning performance – killingly funny and achingly sad – as the founder of this Sussex country house Mozartian Mecca.

The Independent, 30 October 2015

Roger Allam delivers this with spine-tingling magnificence and throughout captures Christie’s extraordinary mix of obduracy, uxoriousness and visionary zeal.

The Guardian, 30 October 2015

Roger Allam, hilarious as a blustery Glyndebourne-goer in the new Alan Bennett/Nicholas Hytner movie, The Lady in the Van, is the intemperate, Wagner-loving Christie who delivers a wonderful speech about why people should jolly well dress up and pay lots of money, spend a day of their lives, to commune with genius and great art in perfect surroundings.

Whats’s On Stage, 30 October 2015

Beady eyes staring through little round spectacles, transformed by a bald wig, he delivers self-certain statements as sweeping as the Sussex Downs with a jowly, gentlemanly drawl: “Wagner. Love him… Oh and motoring. They both speak to the soul.” I was touched by his puppyish enthusiasm…

The Telegraph, 30 October 2015

Nancy Carroll and Roger Allam in The Moderate Soprano © Hampstead Theatre / Manuel Harlan, 2015Allam’s performance is wonderful: he makes Christie childishly consumed with optimism for his endeavour, naive to the rising Nazi regime. When he gets into his stride, arguing passionately for opera as the greatest and most sublime of all art forms, Allam hits all the right notes.

Time Out, 30 October 2015

A truly transformed Roger Allam — one of our finest and most versatile actors — stuns as Christie; barely recognisable with a nearly bald pate, his is a portrait of a particular kind of English eccentricity that rings utterly true.

London Theatre, 2 November 2015

Roger Allam gives an impressively rounded performance as Christie, a mixture of endearing idiosyncrasy, peremptory patricianism and tender concern for Mildmay, played with diplomatic charm and practical common sense by Nancy Carroll.

Londonist, 30 October 2015

[Christie] is complex and contradictory, a bumptious, almost autocratic figure but also a gentle, public-spirited and determined man. Allam, sporting an egg-bald pate and squinting through circular specs, trousers pulled up over his belly, keeps him both likeable and ludicrous. For all his conviction, he’s blind to the limits of his knowledge: “I happen to be one of those people who knows what they’re talking about,” he snoots. The ghastly oil paintings in Rae Smith’s design suggest otherwise.

Variety, 30 October 2015

Christie’s appealingly over-the-top manner of benign dictatorship [is] delightfully captured by Allam…

The London Evening Standard, 30 October 2015

Allam – barely recognisable as the balding, paunchy John Christie – captures both the single-minded drive and the childish querulousness of Glyndebourne’s founder. The humour that dominates the earlier scenes all stems from Allam, gamely stepping up as the archetypal English eccentric – overwritten to the point of parody at times, but always anchored by an essential humanity that connects this material to the gentle tragedy of the ending.

The Arts Desk, 30 October 2015

[Christie is] portrayed with impressive rigour and humanity by Roger Allam…

British Theatre Guide, 30 October 2015

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