Chariots of Fire

Mike Bartlett

Chariots of Fire

A devout Scottish Christian runs for the glory of God. The son of an immigrant Lithuanian Jew runs to overcome prejudice. Two young track athletes who live for the beautiful purity of running and who prevail in the face of overwhelming odds. Based on the extraordinary true story of Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams, Chariots of Fire is an Olympic tale of hope, honour and belief. 4.0 out of 5 based on 10 reviews
Chariots of Fire

Omniscore:

Location London
Venue Hampstead Theatre
Director Edward Hall
Cast Jack Lowden, Tam Williams, Nicholas Woodeson, Antonia Bernath, James McArdle
From May 2012
Until June 2012
Box Office 020 7722 9301
 

A devout Scottish Christian runs for the glory of God. The son of an immigrant Lithuanian Jew runs to overcome prejudice. Two young track athletes who live for the beautiful purity of running and who prevail in the face of overwhelming odds. Based on the extraordinary true story of Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams, Chariots of Fire is an Olympic tale of hope, honour and belief.

Transferring to Gielgud Theatre

Reviews

The Daily Mail

Quentin Letts

This show is both a physical and creative work-out. The Hampstead has been reconfigured to allow not only a revolve in the middle of the acting area but also a running track which bisects the stalls. Director Edward Hall has plainly had a ball, not only with his floorplan but also with a large, well-drilled, multi-tasking cast who show that Equity could probably field a decent running team.

24/05/2012

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The Observer

Kate Kellaway

Surely this could not work in the theatre? It seemed, in advance, foolish even to be attempting to squeeze Hugh Hudson and Colin Welland's cinematic masterpiece into a play. But if director Edward Hall was ever daunted there is no sign of it now. His fantastically enjoyable production of Chariots of Fire is a triumph of will that is in keeping with the spirit of the story it tells.

27/05/2012

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The Sunday Times

Christopher Hart

It’s canny timing indeed for Hampstead to put on a bravura version of the 1981 movie Chariots of Fire. Nothing could better remind us of the painful ­contrast between today’s Olympics, in all their blingy sponsorship-deal garishness and isotonic-sports-drink joylessness, and the days when eager chaps in baggy shorts went in for the running races because they loved running, and perhaps to win a bit of glory for old England.

27/05/2012

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The Times

Libby Purves

Above all, it’s the sincerity: a full-blooded willingness to take the hearty morality, amateur spirit and patriotism at its own valuation without modish irony. Irresistible. Olympian. Well, everything we wish the Olympics were.

24/05/2012

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The Evening Standard

Henry Hitchings

We’re never in any doubt about what will happen, and some of the more breathless sequences are unsubtle. But Bartlett has responded warmly to Colin Welland’s film script, underscoring its interest in outsiders and the question of what it means to be British. This is undeniably bombastic fare. If you’re the sort of person who sheds a tear at Jerusalem, there’s a strong chance you’ll love it. If you’re not, you may still marvel at the hearty physicality on show.

23/05/2012

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The Financial Times

Ian Shuttleworth

My sole reservation is that, au fond, this is not the celebration of the diversity of Britishness that it pretends to be, but rather of a particular concept of Englishness. Even the very Scottish Liddell’s stance of principle is somehow assimilated by, and in stage time exceeded by, the Gilbert & Sullivan-threaded scenes at Cambridge; Abrahams may have been keenly conscious of his Jewishness, but he immediately integrated into this culture.

23/05/2012

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The Guardian

Michael Billington

The story is told in a succession of quick, staccato scenes that betray the piece's cinematic origin. But Hall's production ingeniously solves the problem of putting athletics on stage thanks to a characteristically brilliant Miriam Buether set. She turns the theatre into a series of concentric circles so that the main acting-area is a rounded disc equipped with two revolving stages. Behind the stalls runs another circular track which the actors constantly pound. Wherever you sit, you are bound to feel the whiff and wind of hurtling bodies in a state of seemingly perpetual motion.

22/05/2012

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The Stage

Mark Shenton

Beyond the sheer beauty of the staging, there’s also a gripping human confrontation being played out at its centre, in which two young men from very different backgrounds ... are drawn into competition with each other but also a bigger one with themselves and what truly matters to each. This provides the meat of the drama that transcends the presentation, which sometimes inevitably becomes repetitive.

23/05/2012

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The Daily Telegraph

Charles Spencer

It’s the theatrical equivalent of listening to a disappointing cover version of a favourite pop song.

23/05/2012

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The Independent on Sunday

Kate Bassett

The switch from film to live flesh-and-blood is mildly thrilling when Hall's limber actors ... race round tracks that loop through the stalls. The floor vibrates and you feel the wind in your hair as they pound past – accompanied by bursts of the Vangelis theme tune. Even so, it's impossible to go hell for leather here, since even a 100m dash is rife with hairpin bends. Scott Ambler's choreography could have been more electrifying if it had been more stylised and inventive.

27/05/2012

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