Reviews: What Do Critics Think of Stranger Things: The First Shadow in the West End? | Playbill

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The Verdict Reviews: What Do Critics Think of Stranger Things: The First Shadow in the West End?

The world premiere officially opened at London’s Phoenix Theatre December 14.

Louis McCartney in Stranger Things:The First Shadow Manuel Harlan

Stranger Things: The First Shadow officially opened in London's West End December 14, and the reviews are rolling in. The world premiere began previews November 17 at the Phoenix Theatre.

Kate Trefry has penned the work based on the Netflix series, with Stephen Daldry and Justin Martin co-directing.

The play explores when Henry Creel first moves into Hawkings, Indiana, in 1959. It follows how Henry became the eventual ruler of the Upside Down. It also features high school versions of Stranger Things characters Jim Hopper, Bob Newby, and Joyce Maldonado. Not much is being revealed about the plot, though we do know the first act is titled "Chapter One: The Girl From Nowhere." Let the fan theories commence.

Read the reviews here.

BBC (Neil Armstrong) 

City A.M. (Adam Bloodworth)

The Daily Mail (Luke Jones) 

The Guardian (Arifa Akbar)

The Independent (Alice Saville)

iNews (Emily Baker)

New York Post (Johnny Oleksinski)

The New York Times (Houman Barekat)*

The Standard (Nick Curtis)

The Times (Clive Davis)*

US Times Post (Emma Bowman)

Variety (David Benedict)

WhatsOnStage (Alex Wood)

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

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

Broadway vets Patrick Vaill (Oklahoma!) and Lauren Ward (Matilda The Musical) star as Dr. Brenner and Virginia Creel, respectively, alongside Ella Karuna Williams as Patty Newby, Louis McCartney as Henry Creel, Oscar Lloyd as James Hopper, Jr., Isabella Pappas as Joyce Maldonado, Christopher Buckley as Bob Newby, Michael Jibson as Victor Creel, Shane Attwooll as Chief Hopper, Kemi Awoderu as Sue Anderson, Chase Brown as Lonnie Byers, Ammar Duffus as Charles Sinclair, Gilles Geary as Ted Wheeler, Florence Guy as Karen Childress, Max Harwood as Allen Munson, Matthew Pidgeon as Father Newby, Calum Ross as Walter Henderson, and Maisie Norma Seaton as Claudia Henderson.

Rounding out the company are Tricia Adele-Turner, Lauren Arney, Reya-Nyomi Brown, Patricia Castro, Lydia Fraser, Isaac Gryn, Mark Hammersley, Tom Peters, Kingdom Sibanda, Tiana Simone, Danny Sykes, and Meesha Turner.

The play is not the first time the Netflix series has come to the stage, though it is the first official stage adaptation. Stranger Sings! The Parody Musical played Off-Broadway earlier this year and even streamed a performance after premiering with a 2018 concert at 54 Below.

The production features set design by Miriam Buether, costume design by Brigitte Reiffenstuel, lighting design by Jon Clark, sound design by Paul Arditti, illusion design by Jamie Harrison and Chris Fisher, video design and visual effects by 59 Productions, original music and arrangements by D.J. Walde, choreography by Coral Messam, movement direction by Lynne Page, wigs, hair, and make-up design by Campbell Young Associates, and technical direction by Gary Beestone for Gary Beestone Associates. Casting is by Jessica Ronane Casting with additional casting by Charlotte Sutton and international casting consultancy by Jim Carnahan.

Netflix is co-producing with Sonia Friedman Productions (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), with the Duffer Brothers serving as creative producers. 21 Laps is associate producer.


Photos: Stranger Things: The First Shadow In The West End

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