Vlad Massaci’s Festen at Barbican Centre London - appreciated by UK press

09 - 19/11/2011 @ Barbican Centre, London

The UK press acknowledged with greetings the Romanian play Festen, directed by Vlad Massaci and put on stage at Barbican Centre. The tour is part of a greater project initialized by the Romanian Cultural Institute in London, with the support of  prestigious British organizations.

The theatre journalists and press editors have underlined the extraordinary acting skills and the incredible set prepared by Nottara Theatre for the London audience.    

The Telegraph, Friday November 11th: “But the performances are often intense, and the disastrous dinner party celebrating the father’s 60th birthday is stylishly staged. Ion Grosu brings a sweaty, nervous intensity and sense of deep damage to the role of the abused son, who finally finds the courage to speak out, and Alexandru Repan’s bullying confidence as the despicable father finally deflates to compelling theatrical effect.”

The Telegraph – by theatre critic Charles Spencer – rated the production three stars, the same rate as the Royal Shakespeare Company production Written on the Heart, but more than Young Vic’s Hamlet, rated two stars.  

The British Theatre Guide, Friday November 11th: “Festen still seems just as powerful on stage today as it did when it launched the low-budget Danish Dogme concept of moviemaking that turned Lars von Trier into a global name.

Now, 13 years on, Vlad Massaci and his excellent collaborators catches the same feeling of fear, intimacy and urgency in an engrossing 100 minutes.”

Evening Standard, Friday November 11th: “The main strength of the production is the quality of the performances: Alexandru Repan's menacing Helge, Ion Grosu's bug-eyed Christian, and Dan Bordeianu as Christian's disorderly brother Michael.

The ensemble work is skillfully marshalled, with a couple of moments of thrilling physicality, and the narrative builds powerfully. Massaci is clearly a gifted craftsman.”

The Londonist, Friday November 11th: “(The script) It is served in this by a first-rate cast who offer some very intense performances. The actors remain clearly shaken by what they have just been through when, at the end, they should be basking in their highly deserved applause.”

What’s on Stage, Friday November 11th: “There is much to admire in Nottara Theatre’s economic staging of a family melodrama that continues to send shivers down the spine.”

The Artsdesk, Friday November 11th: “It is a fine example of ensemble acting, where each actor gets their moment to shine. Alexandru Repan’s Helge is a mountain of a man, a powerful and sinister stage presence, while Ion Grosu’s Christian makes the journey from depression to confrontation seemingly at enormous personal cost. When these men break, the earth seems to tremble. There’s good work also from Dan Bordeianu as the young and passionate Michael and Ada Navrot as the nervy and worried Helene.”

Nottara’s tour is believed to be a comeback for Romanian theatre in London, after an absence of more than a decade. The play Festen was selected last year during the National Theatre Festival in Bucharest by the Barbican Theatre’s director and invited to be a part of BITE - Barbican International Theatre Events.