Review: Danton’s Death
Michael Grandage’s National Theatre debut
Olivier, National Theatre, London SE1
Absorbing: Barnaby Kay and Rebecca O’Mara in Danton’s Death
Michael Grandage’s National Theatre debut brings to mind his two great Schiller revivals.
The first, Don Carlos, he directed; the second, Mary Stuart, remains a highlight of his brilliant regime as artistic director of the Donmar Warehouse.
As with the Schiller plays, Büchner’s Danton’s Death, about the French Revolution, deals with a reign of terror, embodied by Elliott Levey’s chilling Robespierre, the antithesis of the libertine charm represented by Toby Stephens’s raffish Danton.
Here though, Grandage falls short of delivering the irresistible mix of history play and thriller that worked so spectacularly with Don Carlos. The result is a production, with a new, pared-down text by Howard Brenton, more absorbing than it is gripping.
Tel: 020 7452 3000