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Icarus Theatre Collective

The Lesson

International Tour
12 April 2007 - 26 October 2008

In association with South Hill Park Arts Centre
Rip Her To Shreds

The Lesson

By Eugène Ionesco,
translation by Donald Watson

Won: Special Jury Prize in Romania
Best actress in a leading role - Amy Loughton in Romania

starstarstarstar: The Times, Ham & High
starstarstarstarstar: edfringe.com
Stiri.Acasa.ro
Curierul National
Realitatea.net
starstarstarstar
or better:
15 of 17 reviews


Line

Sound Bites


"Ionesco’s strange parable of sex’n’violence".
"Max Lewendel’s touring production succeeds by the strength of its acting and the steadily increasing tension".
"His direction introduces a more vivid sexuality than Peter Hall would have been permitted in 1955".
"Something more alarming than education is going on here".
"This remains a timely and fascinating play".

-Jeremy Kingston, The Times



"Comedy, tragedy, fear, mystery, sex, violence, disturbance: The Lesson has them all".
"The reality/fantasy barrier is very narrow".
"Powerful".
"Genius".
"Brilliant".
"These larger-than-life characters, in this illogical scenario, are living and breathing right at your feet".
"The concise set (designed by Christopher Hone) fits perfectly with the action and almost becomes a character in itself".
"An extremely effective metaphor for the deterioration of the lesson and the loss of control".
"The characters are the focal point of The Lesson".
"Loughton masterfully portrayed the deterioration of The Pupil".
"Intense, hyperbolic characters".
"The very particular way [the music] is introduced establishes music as an innate aspect of the play... to strengthen and give further meaning to times of high tension or importance".
"The general intensity of this play is it's strongest point, however it is by no means all there is to it".
"The play ends, a neat circle, which Ionesco has linked up so perfectly".
"We clearly see the genius of The Lesson and, hence, Icarus Theatre's interpretation".

-Eleanor Weber, Raddest Right Now




"Full marks school of Absurd".
"They start mad and they get madder".
"The Lesson becomes a nightmare as the teacher turns into a violent dictator".
"Ionesco is a brave or foolish choice for a newcomer... But director Max Lewendel has his own vision for the piece".
"Amy Loughton's impossibly keen, impossibly innocent pupil twists her fingers in a study of manic gaucheness".
"John Eastman is intensely focused".
"Fervour and delight".
"The question quivers with significance".
"The mania and the high style succeed".
"Directed so specifically that the beast of chaos that charges through Ionesco's work like his own rhinoceros is safely routed through the play".
"Lewendel's Icarus Theatre Collective is a strong team".
"A subtle choice of music underscores the text".
"The design, brilliantly conceived to reflect the galloping chaos".

-Rebecca Banks, Ham & High




"The Icarus Theatre collective's production of Eugene Ionesco's absurdist masterpiece is brilliant. A fast-paced, sixty-five minute screaming journey from a bare classroom into utter chaos".

"This lesson is most certainly not for those who want to sit at the back and pass notes".
"A delight to watch".
"Christopher Hone's inspired set design, which starts out dark and claustrophobic, unfolds before the audience like an impossible arithmetic problem into one giant blackboard".
"The staging perfectly compliments the solid performances".
"John Eastman's brilliant performance as The Professor, who descends minute-by-minute from timid fool into raging tyrant".
"Amy Loughton's flight from comic to tragic as 'The Pupil'".
"Julia Munrow's foreboding 'Maid' is as chilling as the classical score which underpins the whole piece".
"The company... perfectly captures the meaningless nature of words, language, even meaning itself and, with that, the sheer futility of it all".
"The most impressive thing, which is a testament to the Icarus Theatre Collective's work, is that by the end of the play it is not the characters that have learnt from this lesson, but the audience themselves".

-Kevin Hurst, Extra! Extra!




"It is impossible not to enjoy Icarus Theatre Collective's production of Ionesco's one-act play".

"John Eastman plays the professor with the right balance of menace and hilarity".
"Julia Munrow makes a strikingly austere figure".
"An inventive use of the stage".
"The classical music adds to the sense of urgency and madness".
"Perfectly cast".
"Amy Loughton plays the wide-eyed pupil with such huge enthusiasm".
"Absurd theatre that will leave you scratching your head in wonder".
"Disturbing".

-Francesca Whiting, The Stage




"In Bucharest the public's memory will surely remain on the creative performance of 'The Lesson' by Eugene Ionesco, produced by Icarus Theatre Collective in London".
"A jewel of a show; perfect".
"Actress Amy Loughton (Pupil) and actor John Eastman (Profesor) have managed a difficult and elegant performance under the baton of a talented director, Max Lewendel".
"The set was inspired".

"For 1h 5 minutes the audience was deeply impressed by the talent of actors and their performance".


Maria Sarbu, Jurnalul National (Translated from the Romanian)



"Excellent leads, well directed sound and a clever set".
"Our interest is multiplied by the ironic commentary on pedagogy".
"An enjoyable and thought provoking - if not bemusing - evening".
"Jolly and brooding pace".
"The chemistry between the two characters begins to fizzle into something more than a professional relationship".
"Icarus have given this a new twist".
"You cannot fail to be entertained - not to mention baffled and left a tad pensive".

-Alan Francois, BritishTheatre.com




"
Dominating."

"A seemingly jolly piece of art nouveau".
"This haunting image sets the tone for the nightmarish twists in Eugène Ionesco's drama".
"Dark, disturbing and ultimately brutal".
"Eastman is chilling as the wayward teacher".
"Amy Loughton is fantastic as the innocent teenager who realises too late the mental torture to which she is being subjected".
"Audience members were taken aback".
"A daring production by an energetic new company, the London-based Icarus Theatre Collective, it pulls no punches in its visceral pursuit of pure absurdism".

-Daniel Lombard, South Wales Argus




"The performances are superb".

"The characters are a hopelessly naïve schoolgirl (Amy Loughton), a mild mannered but increasingly demented professor (John Eastman) and a maid (Julia Munrow) who strives unsuccessfully to keep the professor under control and who cleans up after him".
"This is Theatre of the Absurd and they are not characters in the conventional theatrical sense".
"Eastman grows from an almost nervous, mild mannered pedagogue to a raging tyrant with an astonishing smoothness".
"Loughton's increasing bewilderment and desperate attempts to hold her own against the growing storm evoke real sympathy".
"Munrow's increasing desperation to control her boss [and] the matter of fact covering up [is] chilling".

-Peter Lathan, British Theatre Guide




"Utterly sumptuous".
"The level of acting was superb".
"Instantly grabs the audience".
"Fierce, manic energy".
"Raising the bar".
"Superb performances in a brilliant production of a hilarious play. See it".

-Dominic Allen, edfringe.com




"What an amazing show".
"Truly delivers".
"If you're in the mood for something different and gripping, terrifying and hilarious, have a look at this!".

-Amanda Raddick, edfringe.com




"One of the most stunning productions I have seen in a long time."
"This dramatic re-invention of such a wonderful (and often lost) classic text is such a welcome relief."
"Superbly acted".
"Striking".
"Great show".
"A lovely addition and breath of fresh air."
"Can't recommend this show enough. Go see it.".

-Mark Stevenson, edfringe.com




"This play is fantastically translated and played by professional actors."
"A real pleasure".
"Excellent".

-vince, edfringe.com




"The acting was superb and the subject matter thought-provoking".
"This play grips and bemuses".
"Unnecessarily pervy".

-Fiona Dunlop, edfringe.com




"Unforgiving deconstruction of a young mind".
"The rising tension grew to form a climax that seemed enormous".
"An intelligent adaptation I would highly recommend".

-dewi, edfringe.com

"Marvellous".

-Simon, edfringe.com




"Ambitious".

"All-engulfing".
"The violence is a lot more personal".
"The eager young pupil who turns up at a Professor's door for her lesson is only one in a cycle who end up dead, as he becomes frenzied in his power over her, his sexual desire not at all the enlightenment she thought she'd come for".
"Horrific".
"And the final suggestion of a cycle repeating itself, as books and scrawled spellings and calculations begin to be re-shelved or wiped away, makes for a bitter image of continuing destruction".
"Amy Loughton brings a happy eagerness to her Pupil, hands and legs flapping like a bird keen to improve its bird-brain".

-Timothy Ramsden, Reviews Gate




"John Eastman also put up a gripping portrayal of the insane teacher".
"Haunting... claustrophobic... clever".
"I highly recommend seeing this".

-James Spence, The Lion


Max Lewendel’s production starts strongly.
There’s no gainsaying the confidence and capability of Lewendel’s revival.

-Brian Logan, Time Out



"The set (Christopher Hone) is extremely ingenious."
"Great demonstrations of absurd logic."
"Faultless theatrical demonstrations, true lessons of professionalism from all points of view."

-Grid Modorcea, Tricolorul (translated from the Romanian)




"I'm still coming back down to earth after a great weekend - a superb show."
"I had an enjoyable and convivial time!"
"[The] production was first rate".

-David Sumner, Swallow Theatre

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The Lesson by Eugène Ionesco

starstarstarstarstarStiri.Acasa.ro
starstarstarstarstaredfringe.com
starstarstarstarstarCurierul National

starstarstarstarstarRealitatea.net

The Lesson Eugène Ionesco

starstarstarstar or better
in 15 of 17 reviews

Out of all productions with a star rating in the last 3 years:

starstarstarstar or better
in 36 of 45 reviews

The Lesson Eugène Ionesco

"Max Lewendel's production succeeds by the strength of its acting and the steadily increasing tension."

Jeremy Kingston, The Times

starstarstarstar

The Lesson Eugène Ionesco

"Directed so specifically that the beast of chaos that charges through Ionesco's work like his own rhinoceros is safely routed through the play."

Rebecca Banks, Ham & High

starstarstarstar

The Lesson Eugène Ionesco

"A daring production by an energetic new company, the London-based Icarus Theatre Collective, it pulls no punches in its visceral pursuit of pure absurdism."

Daniel Lombard,
South Wales Argus

starstarstarstar

The Lesson Eugène Ionesco

Premiul special al juriului
Special Jury Prize:
Cash prize from Romania

The Lesson Eugène Ionesco

Premiul pentru cea mai buna actrita ín rol principal
Best Actress in a Leading
Role: Amy Loughton

Coyote Ugly by Lynn Siefert

"Scarlet, a wild 12-year-old, like a coyote bitch on heat".

John Thaxter, What's On

starstarstarstar

Macbeth
by William Shakespeare

starstarstarstarstarRemotegoat
starstarstarstarstarCarrick Biz
starstarstarstarstarStage, Screen, & the Mystique
starstarstarstarThree Weeks

Journey's End
by R.C. Sherriff

starstarstarstarThe Times

starstarstarstarThe Scotsman
starstarstarstarManchester Eve News

Macbeth
by William Shakespeare

With sword, axe, spear and bare fist fighting it is an impressively energetic and dynamic production.

Victoria Claringbold, Remotegoat

starstarstarstarstar

The Trials of Galileo
by Nic Young

Icarus Theatre fly into London on waxen wings, which, after this compelling production, show no sign of melting any time soon.

Edwin Reis, Remotegoat

starstarstarstar

Spring Awakening
by Frank Wedekind

Nigh-on Faultless. The cast are, one and all, magnificent.

Roderic Dunnett, Behind the Arras

starstarstarstarstar

Macbeth
by William Shakespeare

"Max Lewendel's production is fast-paced and pulls the audience straight in... Outstanding".

Von Magdalena Marek, Newsline

Macbeth
by William Shakespeare

"Particularly haunting is the piece because of the use of music and sounds, designed by Theo Holloway. The effect is outstanding".

Von Magdalena Marek, Newsline

Macbeth
by William Shakespeare

"Max Lewendel's production is fast-paced and pulls the audience straight in... Outstanding".

Von Magdalena Marek, Newsline

Macbeth
by William Shakespeare

"The play explodes into action with a high-powered fight sequence using real swords, axes and spears that superbly captured the intensity of battle".

Robin Strapp, British Theatre Guide

Journey's End
by R.C. Sherriff

"A powerfully emotive production."

Julie Watterston, The Stage

Albert's Boy
by James Graham

"Theatre at its best."

Aleks Sierz, The Stage

Coyote Ugly by Lynn Siefert

"The five-member cast fill the dim confines of the theatre like a desert storm".

Le Roux Schoeman,
Church of England Newsletter

Coyote Ugly by Lynn Siefert

"This sexy, steamy drama really hits home, especially after delivering the scorpion sting in its tail".

Philip Fisher,
British Theatre Guide

The Lesson Eugène Ionesco

"Comedy, tragedy, fear, mystery, sex, violence, disturbance: The Lesson has them all".

Eleanor Weber,
Raddest Right Now

The Lesson Eugène Ionesco

"It is impossible not to enjoy Icarus Theatre Collective’s production of Ionesco’s one-act play".

The Stage

Coyote Ugly by Lynn Siefert

"The cast navigates the perilous emotional terrain with aplomb".

Visit London (Totally London)

Coyote Ugly by Lynn Siefert

"Sizzling bursts of desire and hate among the North American sands".

Timothy Ramsden,
Reviews Gate

Albert's Boy
by James Graham

"Extraordinary...
Victor Spinetti is outstanding."

Cheryl Freedman,
What's On in London

Albert's Boy
by James Graham

"A beautifully crafted piece."

Joanna Bacon,
Rogues & Vagabonds

The Lesson Eugène Ionesco

"The Icarus Theatre collective's production of Eugène Ionesco's absurdist masterpiece is brilliant. A fast-paced, sixty-five minute screaming journey from a bare classroom into utter chaos."

Kevin Hurst, Extra! Extra!

Many Roads to Paradise
by Stewart Permutt

"You would pay a lot of money in the West End for a class act like this, so why not pop along to the Finborough and find out what great nights are made of."

Gene David Kirk,
UK Theatre Web

starstarstarstar

The Time of Your Life
William Saroyan

"Book as soon as possible!"

-Claire Ingrams,
Rogues & Vagabonds

The Time of Your Life
William Saroyan

"This is the kind of consoling play we need right now."

-Jane Edwardes, Time Out

Romeo & Juliet
William Shakespeare

"A rollercoaster rendering of the play that dragged the audience on a fast-paced soul-stirring ride for two heart-rending hours."

Team Locals

Romeo & Juliet
William Shakespeare

"An excellent take on a globally-renowned tale of true love."

Take on the Road by Lauren Razavi

Romeo & Juliet
William Shakespeare

"Props to Icarus Theatre Collective for putting on such a fantastic show."

 

Team Locals

Romeo & Juliet
William Shakespeare

"A fresh and invigorating version of this time-honoured romantic tragedy."

Darlington & Stockton Times - Christina McIntyre

The Time of Your Life
William Saroyan

"Fine performances from the 26-strong cast."

-Michael Billington, The Guardian

The Lesson Eugène Ionesco

"You can reach out and touch the emotional atmosphere."

-Julienne Banister,
Rogues & Vagabonds


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