Reviews “Double Feature”, National Theatre Paintframe

You’ll find all reviews (or at least the ones I could find) for “Double Feature” in this entry. The list will be updated as reviews come.


Double Feature 1: “Edgar and Annabel” / “The Swan”

Double Feature 2: “Nightwatchman” / “There Is A War”


Interview: The NT’s exciting new Double Feature writers @ Run Riot!

The Paintframe: National Service @ The Independent

Interview with the “Double Feature” playwrights @

The National Theatre goes pop-up @ The Guardian


12 September 2011

zuberino @ twitter: Edgar and Annabel

Mark Tierney @ twitter: Double Feature 1 and 2

Fiona Mountford @ twitter: Edgar and Annabel

Sycophant @ blogspot: Double Feature 2

Annie Rowe @ twitter: Edgar and Annabel

Alex Packer @ twitter: Double Feature 1

Laura Schofield @ twitter: Double Feature 1

John Nathan @ Theater News Online: Double Feature 1

On “Edgar and Annabel”: (…) an example of get-in-quick and get-out-fast-drama, the kind that is over before you have time to ask awkward questions about the nuts and bolts of a story.

Ferdinand Kingsley @ twitter: Double Feature 2

Theo Bosanquet @ Whatsonstage: Double Feature 2

The air in the cavernous Paintframe is free from the stench of history that hangs heavy in the air of the Olivier, Lyttelton and Cottesloe.

Theo Bosanquet @ twitter: Double Feature 2

Simone @ twitter: There Is A War

Kate W. @ twitter: Double Feature 2

Anya Reiss @ twitter: There Is A War

Ben Smith @ twitter: Double Feature 2

Rajiv Nathwani @ twitter: Double Feature 1

Vicki Thomson @ twitter: Edgar and Annabel

Helen Mumby @ twitter: Double Feature 1

David Borwick @ twitter: Double Feature 1

Jen Smith @ twitter: Edgar and Annabel

Rosie Wyatt @ twitter: Double Feature 1

Gecko Sri Lanka: Nightwatchman

Margaret Ann Bain @ twitter: Double Feature 1 and 2

theatredeli @ twitter: Double Feature 1

Thomas Dillon @ twitter: Double Feature 1

Clare Nichols @ twitter: Double Feature 2  /  cont.

Julie Mayhew @ twitter: Double Feature 1

30 August 2011

Flipping the Bird @ twitter: Double Feature 1

Daisy Bowie-Bell @ The Telegraph: Double Feature 1 and 2

With its attractively messy attitude, it shows that perfection isn’t always the most interesting or enjoyable of options.

28 August 2011

Emilie Gale @ twitter: Edgar and Annabel

27 August 2011

Fiona Mountford @twitter: Double Feature 2

Sam Sedgman @ twitter: Double Feature 2

26 August 2011

Jami Rogers @ twitter: Double Feature 1

Sian Clifford @ twitter: Double Feature 1 and 2    cont.

25 August 2011

Laura McVeigh @ twitter: Double Feature 1

Gary Horner @ twitter: Double Feature 2

24 August 2011

James Graham @ twitter: Double Feature 1

James O’Donnell @ twitter: Double Feature 1

Kirsty E. @ twitter: Damian O’Hare

CharlyAnnand @ twitter: Double Feature 1

23 August 2011

Hannah Rodger @ twitter: Double Feature 1

Alastair Douglas @ twitter: There Is A War

22 August 2011

Victor Craven @ twitter: Edgar and Annabel

Victor Craven @ twitter: The Swan

21 August 2011

Paul Higham @ twitter: Double Feature 1

Howard Colyer @ twitter: Edgar and Annabel

Issy VB @ twitter: Double Feature 1 and 2

20 August 2011

Weez @ twitter: Double Feature 1

Bags Sharma @ twitter: Double Feature 1 and 1

Nick Holland @ LJ: Double Feature 1

On “Edgar and Annabel”: (…) Holcroft has come up with a genuinely original premise and executed it perfectly (…)

Monkey Matters: Double Feature 1

In Conclusion: Edgar and Annabel is a cracker and The Swan provides everyday humour and thought.

Georgina Ratnatunga @ twitter: Double Feature 1

Ian Barclay @ twitter: Double Feature 1

19 August 2011

Shyama Perera @ twitter: Double Feature 1  cont.  cont.

Eleanor Matsuura @ twitter: Double Feature 2

18 August 2011

Paul Highman @ twitter: Double Feature 1

Karen Morash @ Hornsey Journal: Double Feature 2

Double Feature makes for a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

John-Webb Carter @ twitter: Double Feature 2

Gabriella @ twitter: Double Feature 1

StageWon @ twitter: Double Feature 1 cont.

StageWon @ twitter: Double Feature 2

17 August 2011

Annie @ twitter: Damian O’Hare

Arts Review @ twitter: Nightwatchman

Arts Review @ twitter: There Is A War

16 August 2011

Edward Lukes @ The London Magazine: Double Feature 1

If these first two plays are anything to go by, new writing is in superb shape – Double Bill is an event that one hopes will become a fixture.

Jessica Brindle @ twitter: Double Feature 1

Steve Boreham @ twitter: Double Feature 2

Kobna Holdbrook-Smith @ twitter: Double Feature 1

Rosie Wyatt @ twitter: Double Feature 2

David Benedict @ Variety: Double Feature 2

On “There Is A War”: There’s mordant wit on display as people ruthlessly pursue agendas without bothering to listen to anyone else.

15 August 2011

Everything Theatre: Double Feature 1

So in terms of the all-round experience, both sets of Double Features get five stars from us – fundamentally, they have been the most enjoyable evenings of theatre that I have had for a while.

webgnome @ Double Feature 1 and 2

On “Edgar and Annabel”: The scenes in which Marianne, Nick and Miller clash are among the strongest in the play; three powerful actors in a heated conflict, without falling into the trap of overacting.

On “There Is A War”: But though the play could profit from some cuts, it was thoroughly enjoyable, and the one I personally had the most fun with.

BuckleForDust @ twitter: Edgar and Annabel

Next Dramatic Step @ blog: Edgar and Annabel

Edgar and Annabel is a violently twisting journey that will leave you dizzy and wanting more.

Amy Hawkins @ twitter: Edgar and Annabel

12 August 2011

Maria Howard @ NT: Double Feature 1

Both Edgar and Annabel by Sam Holcroft and The Swan by DC Moore deliver polished performances and impressive sets (…)

Fionnuala Barrett @ NT: Double Feature 1

On Edgar and Annabel: This is on paper an unwieldy concept but in practice it is established with remarkable economy and bravura.

Alexandra Hills @ NT: Double Feature 2

With its convincing cast and razor-sharp satire, There is a War is a theatrical adrenaline rush which should not be missed.

Oli Gordon @ NT: Double Feature 2

(…) There is a War is a dark, humorous and poignant comment on the manipulation of the masses and the impact of war.

fabulouswoman17 @ twitter: Double Feature 1

11 August 2011

Sketches on Theatre: Double Feature 1 and 2

On “Edgar and Annabel”: (…)  brilliantly inventive (…)

On “There Is A War”: This is really a series of themed sketches but, when they’re this sharp and bonkers, it’s hard to complain.

Paul Taylor @ The Independent: Double Feature 1 and 2

On “There Is A War”: This is Brechtian epic rewritten with droll bite as a string of (slightly repetitive) Kafkaesque TV comedy sketches.

10 August 2011

Matt Trueman @ Carousel of Fantasies: NightwatchmanThere Is A War

Undeniably intelligent, often acutely funny, There Is a War best demonstrates the characteristic quality of Double Feature: ambition.

David Benedict @ Variety: Double Feature 1

D.C. Moore’s punchy “The Swan” drains itself of energy before the end, but Sam Holcroft’s shapely and auspicious “Edgar and Annabel” grows stronger by the minute and leaves auds wanting more.

9 August 2011

Podcast (starts at 4:38) AYU London Theatre: Double Feature 1

Matt Wolf @ The New York Times: Double Feature 1 and 2

On “There Is A War”: And yet, the play beats to its own singular pulse in charting a conflict between the so-called Blues and the Grays (there’s a belated appearance from the Reds) that is both punchy and ridiculous (…)

Gareth James @ wordpress: Double Feature 2

On “There Is A War”: It’s sometimes intriguing, sometimes funny but often irritating.

Caroline McGinn @ Time Out: Double Feature 1

On “Edgar and Annabel”: It also pokes highly original fun at the theatre and benefits from fine naturalistic performances from Trystan Gravelle, Kirsty Bushell and Damian O’Hare.

Andrzej Lukowski @ Time Out: Double Feature 2

On “There Is A War”: But as a whole, it’s fractured, unfocused and overactive, a much less effective satire on the ills of a paperwork-driven society than the superb ‘Joseph K’ which Basden adapted for the Gate last year.

7 August, 2011

Griselda Murray Brown @ Financial Times: Double Feature 1 and 2

The reviewer liked all four plays.
And I don’t like being forced to create an account with the FT just so I can quote two sentences from an article!

Shanna Schreuder @ IndieLondon: Double Feature 1 and 2

On “Edgar und Annabel”: …this brilliant and sinister work is filled with some real comedy moments while closely examining notions of individual choice and the power of the state.

On “There Is A War”: Obviously influenced by Catch 22 and using Pythonesque humour, it highlights the futility of war.

On “Double Feature 1”: The original, gripping storyline and fluid, rich dialogue of these two plays make them utterly unmissable.

Kate Bassett @ The Independent: Double Feature 1

That said, it’s enjoyable, enlivened by a pre-show live band and a bar amid the paint pots. The productions, directed by Lyndsey Turner and Polly Findlay, are polished.

6 August, 2011

Robin Savage Pics @ twitter: Double Feature 2

Bold, beautiful, brilliant. Go see.

Matt Trueman @ Carousel of Fantasies: Edgar and Annabel

Edgar and Annabel is the most original piece of new writing I’ve seen in ages.

Matt Trueman @ Carousel of Fantasies: Double Feature, Introduction

Were it not for the strength and scope of design on the National’s usual stages, you’d have good reason to call for the space’s transition to be made permanent.

Tom Stickland @ twitter: Double Feature 1

I love what they’ve done to the space and some interesting new writing. Great experience.

Natasha Tripley @ Exeunt: Double Feature 1

Holcroft takes pleasure in wrong-footing the audience and the play retains a sense of ambiguity throughout; their are revelations, but guarded ones and she doesn’t play all her cards at once. (Rating:  four stars out of five)

Nick Holland @ LJ: Double Feature 2

There’s bureaucracy, disinformation and gallows humour and while Basden doesn’t say much that hasn’t been said before, not many war satires are as laugh-out-loud funny as this one.

5 August, 2011

Naima Khan @ Spoonfed: Double Feature 2

On “There Is A War”: As you’d expect from Basden it’s dark comedy at its best.

Naima Khan @ Spoonfed: Double Feature 1

She’s turned an idea that could be very synthetic into something entertaining and almost plausible and with it created a new kind of sophisticated farce.

Jake Orr @ A Younger Theatre: Double Feature 2

As a whole There is a War is wonderfully executed, and when performed in the Paint Frame the height and depth for the performance seems to fit perfectly when boxes fall from the sky, or a hospital rather eerily appears from a wall by a drop down bridge.

From the moment you walk into the Paintframe you get a completely different insight into the work of the National Theatre. It proves that sometimes it’s worth bringing your work out of its normal restraints to find the play and excitement once more.

Lois Jeary @ A Younger Theatre: Double Feature 1

Most impressively, despite the funniest sing-off you will ever have the joy to witness, you still emerge shaken – a feeling you learn to expect from Holcroft’s work.

Terri Paddock @  Double Feature 1 and 2

If I had to give scores on the doors for each, I’d award four stars to The Swan and three apiece for the others. But the Paintframe experiment is five-star all the way.

Philip Fisher @ The British Theatre Guide: Edgar and Annabel

The hour is engrossing and flies by, with succeeding Edgars and Annabels consecutively cracking under the pressure, as their party falls apart and the country heads for dictatorship.

Philip Fisher @ The British Theatre Guide: There Is A War

The audience reaction varied between delighted and bemused at comedy which can be obscure, funny, anarchic and some might believe tasteless.

More reviews: The SwanNightwatchman

David Benedict @ the arts desk: Double Feature 1 and 2

On “Edgar and Annabel”: Sam Holcroft is hardly the first writer to set up a dystopian vision of individuals fighting with a party against an unseen political threat, but her wit is distinctive and hugely engaging.

On “There is a War”: For all the inventiveness of Basden’s mordant characterisation and Lyndsey Turner’s bravura staging, having the same point re-delivered means hitting the law of diminishing returns.

Henry Hitchings @ London Evening Standard: Double Feature 1 and 2

On “Edgar and Annabel”: Clever, funny and disturbing, it’s a blend of conceptual prank and dystopian satire, neatly performed by a cast that includes the excellent Kirsty Bushell and Trystan Gravelle.

On “There Is A War”: Surreally humorous, and perceptive about the mindlessness of conflict, it meanders too much.

(Rating: Double Feature 1 – four stars out of five. Double Feature 2 – three stars.)

Official London Theatre Guide: Double Feature 1 and 2

In amongst the politics and the subtle questioning of normality, the most touching aspect of Edgar And Annabel is the growth of a relationship between two characters thrown together against their will.

… the overriding feeling of Double Feature is of something new, experimental, risk-taking and exciting.

Natasha Tripney @ The Stage: Double Feature 2

Lyndsey Turner’s production is noisy and cluttered but while this initially conveys the messiness and absurdity of war – something enhanced by Soutra Gilmour’s skewed set – both play and production seem to lose focus towards the end.

Natasha Tripney @ The Stage: Double Feature 1

It’s a playful, two-pronged piece that succeeds in making its audience think about the scripted nature of reality, the roles people play and the lines they deliver, as well as being a dystopian thriller about living in a surveillance culture.

4 August, 2011

Brian Logan @ The Guardian: Double Feature 1

But this is Sam Holcroft’s Edgar and Annabel: not just a drama of political resistance set in some parallel British dystopia, but also a cute sendup of theatre acting and writing. (Rating: four stars out of five)


4 August, 2011

Podcast: AYU London Theatre Podcast: Double Feature 2

Lilli Geissendorfer @ twitter: Double Feature 1

3rd August, 2011

ligeialucrezia @ tumblr: Double Feature 1

Everything Theatre: Double Feature 2

2nd August, 2011

misssfitt @ twitter: Double Feature 2

Hannah Dickinson @ twitter: Double Feature 2

Rob Watt @ twitter: Double Feature 2

Oliver Gordon @ twitter: Double Feature 2

1st August, 2011

There Ought To Be Clowns: Double Feature 2

There Ought To Be Clowns: There Is A War

There Ought To Be Clowns: Nightwatchman

30 July, 2011

Alastair Knight @ twitter: Double Feature 1

Steven Berryman @ wordpress: Double Feature 2

29 July, 2011

RichardLavery @ twitter: Double Feature 1

West End Whingers @ wordpress: Double Feature 2

27 July, 2011

tomrosswilliams @ twitter: Double Feature 2

OughtToBeClowns @ twitter: Double Feature 2

21 July, 2011

West End Whingers @ wordpress: Double Feature 1

katysays @ twitter: Double Feature 1

20 July, 2011

wattnot @ twitter: Double Feature 1

simonewoolley @ twitter: Double Feature 11

19 July, 2011

The Tyro Theatre Critic: Double Feature 1

webcowgirl @ wordpress: Double Feature 1

absinthecity @ twitter: Double Feature 1

Gareth James: Double Feature 1

Finn Pollard @ Double Feature 1 at the National, or, A Long Evening of Two Halves

Various reviews @

4 Responses to “Reviews “Double Feature”, National Theatre Paintframe”

  1. hotshot bald cop Says:

    You my friend are a genius

    [Edited by webgnome to add: yes, it was in the spamfile, but hey, don’t argue with people who call you a genius…!]

  2. Another review for you here:

  3. […] updated the list of reviews for Double Feature. The shows saw their last performances on Saturday, so there won’t be any […]

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