Absolute Hell

National Theatre

Absolute Hell

18 Apr 2018 - 23 May 2018

£15.00 - £67.00

Pro reviewers rating
13 reviews

3.2 out of 5.0
Peer reviewers rating
0 reviews

0.0 out of 5.0

Bomb-blasted London. A Soho den in the hangover from World War II, where members drink into the darkness, night after night. Lying, fighting and seducing, these lost souls and bruised lovers struggle from the rubble of war towards an unknown future.

Ackland’s extraordinarily provocative play, condemned as ‘a libel on the British people’ when first performed in 1952.


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“There’s not one false note in writing or performance. It is very, very good.”

Libby Purves (TheatreCat, Times)

“A stunning production that teems with life and impressionistic drama... The performances are full of sparkle and desperation. ”

Mark Shenton (The Stage, London Theatre, Express)

“A no-expense-spared, fantasy production in the Lyttelton that inches it closer to the British canon. ”

Andrzej Lukowski (Time Out)

“A superb cast sinks its teeth into a pickled portrait of wartime Soho.”

Natasha Tripney (The Stage, Time Out)

“Gets the glossiest of make-overs... A picture of postwar Britain that reeks of disenchantment and fumes.”

Aleks Sierz (Arts Desk, The Stage)

“Teeming, Chekhovian-Hogarthian portrait of tragicomic dissolution... Sometimes dragging... Edwards shines.”

Dominic Cavendish (The Telegraph)

“Hill-Gibbins has assembled a classy cast, and his interpretation has moments of startling savagery and topical zest.”

Henry Hitchings (Evening Standard)

“Intriguing if not entirely convincing... Epic... light on plot, and with audience investment rewarded in some but not all areas.”

Marianka Swain (Broadway World, Arts Desk)

“Ackland describes with pinpoint accuracy a metropolitan sub-world... Hill-Gibbins gives it the full expressionist works.”

Michael Billington (The Guardian)

“Witty in a way real drunks rarely are... Hill-Gibbins directs with zip... The massive cast have both dash and detail.”

Holly Williams (What's On Stage, Time Out, Independent)

“Hill-Gibbins’ production is over-stylised and detached... Ackland’s groundbreaking if flawed play just about survives.”

Neil Norman (Express, The Stage)

“Hill-Gibbins hits the wrong note... Edwards: emotional depth... Exposes the verbosity, crudity and misogyny of Ackland’s script.”

Michael Arditti (Express)

“Edwards is beautifully crumpled... David is touchingly dippy... Fleetwood is blade-like... too much so to seem blowsily done for”

Susannah Clapp (The Observer)

Reviews (0)    

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