Written by John Osborne.
Director: Peter Gill
Producer: Royal National Theatre
Starring: Rufus Sewell as 'Luther' , Richard Griffiths, Geoffrey Hutchings, Maxine Peake, Malcolm Sinclair, Timothy West, John Burgess, Peter Bygott, Pip Donaghy, Ralph Nossek, Ken Oxtoby, Nicholas Prideaux, Bryan Robson, Gyuri Sarossy, Neil Stacy, Mark Tandy, Andrew Woodall.
Synopsis:Concerns Martin Luther, whose personal struggle with God led, inevitably, to a battle with the Church that set in motion the Protestant Reformation. This private and public epic unfolds through a series of portraits of 16th-century Europe, showing the Catholic Church in all its wisdom, corruption and glory failing to embrace one of its most astonishing sons.
A round up of the press notices......
This production has received mixed notices from the popular press..... JEREMY KINGSTON for THE TIMES says, "Peter Gill’s production .....confidently uses and fills the grim Olivier stage with bold scenic effects." He goes on to say, "In the great set pieces that Osborne wrote, for Luther’s confrontation with Cardinal Cajetan or Tetzel’s hard sell for indulgences, this production allows the actors to let the words sing out." CHARLES SPENCER for THE DAILY TELEGRAPH says, "There is no escaping the fact that John Osborne's Luther is a three-and-a-quarter-hour bum-number. It's impressive but boring, intelligently staged but boring, well-acted but boring." MICHAEL BILLINGTON for THE GUARDIAN says, Even with its obvious faults, the play invites comparison with Brecht and Shaw, and offers a perfect vehicle for Osborne's scalding rhetoric; and at the Olivier it gets a matchingly fine production by Peter Gill, and a revelatory performance from Rufus Sewell." NICHOLAS DE JONGH for THE EVENING STANDARD says, This beautifully-acted revival, despite the force and emotional impact of Rufus Sewell's remarkable title-role performance, does not convince me of the play's vitality or surviving value." He goes on to say, "With its 12 scenes, 24-year time span and half-dozen locations, Luther has the trappings of an history chronicle, though its prime concern is religion and the torments of a troubled soul.." SHERIDAN MORLEY for TELETEXT says, " Peter Gill's production is strongly operatic, but even his brilliant stage management cannot hide the fact that we don't really have a drama here, just a three-hour ecclesiastical procession. " He goes on to say, "Rufus Sewell has a fine, fiery anger in the title role, but not enough to keep us involved through the interminable disputes. Sometimes the whole 16th century seems faster than this show." MADDY COSTA for TIME OUT says, "Sewell is electrifying, charismatic and burning with indignation, but he rises too easily to this fiery pitch...."
Links to full reviews from newspapers...