by Yasmina Reza
Olivier Award Best New Comedy 2009 Tony Award Best Play 2009
27 Jan– 06 March 2010

Der neue Merker

GOD OF CARNAGE is, next to Art, possibly the best piece by Yasmina Reza. (…) The way it is now presented in Vienna’s English Theatre recalls, as clearly as never before, Albee’s Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Perhaps this has to do with Christopher Hampton’s translation, perhaps also with the English language. Dry humour and extreme nastiness yield an intense theatrical mixture. (…) And if it is a good production, then the public has gained as much amusement as understanding. In the luxury living-room (designed by Hans Kudlich) director, Jane Page, drives the psychodrama to a high pitch and holds it there as she clearly outlines the psychology of every character (without creating an overdrawn piece of virtuosity as Jurgen Gosch did in Zurich). In the centre we have Katharina Stemberger (in the tracks of her sister Julia who has also performed here in English) who is ideal as Véronique because she is so believable as the honest goodhearted person – but also because she can discard her nerves and become quite fierce when she feels herself under attack. That then leads to a downright skirmish…Howard Nightingall is the softie-husband, who is finally tired of being well-behaved and who is actually glad for a chance to bellow his frustration. Katherine Gwen Pons, very British and very strong in her weakness, is a female counterpart, that sets a variety of comic accents (enhanced by the modest little costume provided by Erika Navas). And Lynden Edwards as Alain has his mobile and his undisguised merciless cynicism and comes across as a horribly familiar type. God of Carnage is a splendid variation, also for those who have seen Gott des Gemetzels in the Burgtheater.
Renate Wagner


Brutality and Barbarism in Human Relations

(…) Jane Pages’ production strongly recalls Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf; the theatre of the absurd with strong elements of drawing-room comedy. A foursome tear into each other over 90 uninterrupted minutes taking pleasure in their bad behaviour and verbal rage. They resort to drink, scold and scream, sneer and cry, taunt and vomit. The men – Lynden Edwards (terrific as an arrogant lawyer) – and Howard Nightingall – become cynical, women furies. And Katharina Stemberger is in high form, as the small put-downs and knowingly placed gibes between the couples, become lethal.



Carnage in the upper ranks

(…) The situation gets out of control, strong language spews forth, violent attacks start, marriage and belief crises burst in. Dialogues, such as are only expected from the French, in English and all of this in Vienna. The multinational Vienna’s English Theatre has done it again, bringing to the stage a top class production. Whatever, text, actors, set or direction, God of Carnage is a pleasure on every front.