The Magistrate

West End


National Theatre, Olivier

Until Sun Feb 10 2013

JPeg2-The Magistrate.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5
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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:3
1 person listening

Very well executed. Not "Died Laughing" funny because farce is not what we laugh at nowadays, but that didn't stop it being interesting and entertaining. How many of Pinero's devices went on to become staples of TV sitcom? How many strands of Victorian society were being sent up in the plot? Excellent ensemble playing, especially from the athletic and not quite juvenile Joshua Maguire, and from the 2 principals, in today's performances the understudies Nicholas Lumley and Tamsin Carroll. Do not feel short changed if you're booked for a performance with 3 billed actors indisposed. Lumley, T Carroll and Manning in this tight and disciplined production in no way second best. Excellent. Looking forward to more Pinero at Trelawny of the Wells (Donmar).

London Lass

Rating below is wrong - This was brilliant - great night out. Very amusing - many audible laughs from the audience. Definitely recomend it.


Extremely high production value with beautiful sets. Many nods to Gilbert and Sullivan. A simple, gentle and very entertaining afternoon at the National. Ignore the newspaper critics, this is a lovely production!


A joyous production and no mistake - reflected in the audience reaction when I saw it. Maybe there was a duff night in previews that inspired the negative reviews, but I find it hard to believe. Farce is an acquired taste I guess but to enjoy it you need to give contrivances the benefit of the doubt and throw yourself into the big gaudy world. With a cast this good it's easy to pack up your cynicism and go along for the ride.


I don't really understand these negative reviews as I went to this last night and really enjoyed the production. Plenty of whooping and cheering at the curtain call and smiling faces on exit, so it would seem I wasn’t the only satisfied customer. As a rule I don't relish the prospect of farce - I feel a pressure to laugh at the rather lame slapstick humour and often shift around embarrassed while the rest of the audience laugh raucously . The Magistrate was an exception, I found it nicely paced, less frenetic and just a bit less indulgent than the norm. I enjoyed the amusing musical interludes and thought the set creative and visually effective. The acting, as you would expect, was assured and the costumes excellent. I haven’t seen much Pinero before, but am pleased that I already have tickets to the Donmar production of Trelawny of the Wells and am positively looking forward to it.


Very dull, dated and woefully unfunny. I wouldn't mind the fact that its completely irrelevant and lacking in plot if it it was at least a genuinely fun, laugh out loud farce. If you're expecting something along the lines of the Old Vic's recent production of A Flea in Her Ear, then you'll be bitterly disappointed. I'm just glad that I went to a preview so at least the seats were cheap.


Sadly it just doesnt work, the set and the over the top acting just alienates the audience rather than inviting them in. Its not the plays fault but its just not slick enough. Shame.

B. Wayne

Strange decision by the National to stage a comedy with no jokes in it. It's Christamssy, I suppose with a feeble pun about "dates" raising a rare half smile before the blessed relief of the interval and the search for coats and the car park ticket. And, of course, it has a famous film star in it. I wonder if Lithgow and the rest of the cast were picking up on the stony silence among large swathes of the audience tonight. To be fair, some people were laughing. I'm guessing the National must have spiked their drinks with happy pills, because a few extravagent wigs and daft colonels shouting about "lay-dees" doesn't seem enough to get most people who've shelled out thirty quid for this rubbish to feel happy about their evening.

El Tel

Clunking is the word. Dire song and dance. An American over the top ham actor takes the lead role in a dated story...... Why did I waste my time and money?