The critics have weighed in on the Donmar Warehouse's production of The Way of the World, with most giving the play 4 out of 5 stars. Here's what a few had to say about the play and performances:

Paul Taylor from The Independent calls it a "comic masterpiece."

There's a crispness and clarity to the way this production highlights the contrast between Mirabell and his superficially similar fellow-gallant, Fainall. Tom Mison shows you a disturbing, almost neurotic meanness of spirit behind the studied languor of a ruthless individualist who will stop at nothing (even defaming his wife) to get his hands on all the Wishfort money. Though he has done unfortunate things in his past, Mirabell now appreciates the humane value of contracts.

 

Sarah Crompton from What's On Stage says "director James Macdonald and his entire creative team frame this rare revival with such thoughtful care that it emerges with the gleaming richness of a symphony."

Even the manipulative Mrs Marwood (played by Jenny Jules with a hauteur that hides real pain) is allowed our sympathy; she has been used by Fainall, who Mison plays magnificently, his languor hardening into savagery as the evening progresses. As his traduced wife, Caroline Martin finds a moving sense of betrayal and fierce self-reliance.

 

Michael Billington at The Guardian writes "James Macdonald’s revival offers clarity and hilarity"

Gwynne is very funny when gazing at her unadorned features in the mirror (“I look like an old peeled wall”) and when hurling herself intemperately at a chaise longue to find the right posture for an expected suitor. But you feel deep sympathy for her when, as Fainall seeks to tie her to an extortionate contract, she cries “Never to marry!” in despair at a life of sexless solitude. In a play that scarcely has a dud role, there is a wealth of fine performances. Tom Mison and Jenny Jules lend the arch plotters a hint of inner complexity.

 

The play runs through May 26th. Check the Donmar's website often for ticket availability.

 

Photos by Johan Persson