Reviews: What Do Critics Think of Dear Octopus at London's National Theatre? | Playbill

The Verdict Reviews: What Do Critics Think of Dear Octopus at London's National Theatre?

Emily Burns directs the work's first U.K. revival since the 1960s.

Kelvin Murray

The reviews are rolling in for The National Theatre revival of Dodie Smith's Dear Octopus, which officially opened February 14. Emily Burns is directing the revival, which marks the first U.K. production since the 1960s. The work began performances at the London venue February 7, and is scheduled to run through March 27.

Set on the eve of WWII, the play centers on the Randolph family, who have reunited for a 50th wedding anniversary, but as the weekend unfolds, the family grapples with intimacy and estrangement, camaraderie and rivalry, and love and hate.

The cast includes Amaia Naima Aguinaga, Alice Bounsall, Bessie Carter, Pandora Colin, Miriam Cooper, Bethan Cullinane, Lindsay Duncan, Kate Fahy, Tom Glenister, Jo Herbert, Billy Howle, Ethan Hughes, Deven Modha, Syakira Moeladi, Amy Morgan, Celia Nelson, Dharmesh Patel, Malcolm Sinclair, Natalie Thomas, and John Vernon. They're joined by nine children who will perform the roles of Kathleen (Scrap), Bill and Guinevere (Flouncy) over the course of the season: Kalyani D’Ambra, Ariella Elkins-Green, Serena Guo, Isla Ithier, Molly Jin, Felix Tandon, Ashwin Sakthivel, Tarun Sivakanesh, and Asha Sthanakiya.

Read the reviews here.

BroadwayWorld (Cindy Marcolina)

The Guardian (Kate Wyver)

The Independent (Tim Bano)

London Theatre (Julia Rank)

The Standard (Nick Curtis)

The Stage (Dave Fargnoli)*

The Telegraph (Marianka Swain)

TimeOut (Caroline McGinn)

The Times (Clive Davis)

WhatsOnStage (Lucinda Everett)

*This review may require creating a free account or a paid subscription.

Playbill will continue to update this list as reviews come in.

The production features set and costume design by Frankie Bradshaw, lighting design by Oliver Fenwick, sound design by Tingying Dong, composing by Nico Mulhy, casting direction by Bryony Jarvis-Taylor, company voice work by Shereen Ibrahim and Liz Flint, and staff direction by Júlia Levai.

For tickets and more information, visit

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