THEATRE REVIEW: Saint Joan starring Gemma Arterton & Fisayo Akinade


WHERE: Donmar

WHEN: 31/12 (matinee), runs to 18/2/17

We almost saw lead Gemma Arterton in Nell Gwynn, her film 100 Streets was one of our favourites of 2016 and so we pulled out as many stops as possible to see her star in Josie Rourke’s Saint Joan at the Donmar.

  • Read on for reasons including how our standing tickets were upgraded

We were only able to get £7.50 standing tickets but after taking our places by the entrance behind the back row of the circle were invited downstairs to the second row to fill two empty seats.

George Bernard Shaw’s 1923 play based on the life of the French 15th century military figure Joan of Arc is renowned for its length but here it is given a sensitive edit and a modern staging.

A table sits centre stage for most of the play acting as a focus for different meetings of the English and French. Arterton is a sensitive Joan, speaking in a West Country burr and hypnotic as she galvanises those all around her.

Elsewhere, Fisayo Akinade (pictured above with Arterton) is hand-ringingly awkward as the ineffective Dauphin.

At two hours and 45 minutes long, the play still seemed a little too drawn out for us but to see it in the midst of the action in the second row was a welcome bonus after initially fearing we might suffer weary legs for standing for so long.

  • Picture via Facebook courtesy Donmar. Tickets
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