Reviews Roundup: Between Riverside and Crazy 3.4★

Hampstead Theatre

Danny Sapani in Between Riverside and Crazy

Following his triumph as King Lear, Danny Sapani is back as another fading patriarch, this time he’s a retired New York cop who had previously been badly injured by a white colleague. As the occupant of a Manhattan apartment, he takes in a variety of misfits while resisting eviction in Stephen Adly Guirgis’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play.

[Links to full reviews are included but a number are behind paywalls and therefore may not be accessible]

Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times (4★) was full of praise: ‘Director Michael Longhurst revels in the text’s rollercoaster, tragicomic structure and draws rich, believable performances from the cast as a bunch of messy, messed-up people trying to keep their lives on track. Sapani is excellent, switching from warmth to wrath in an instant: infuriating one moment and endearing the next.’ Marianka Swain in the Telegraph (4★) said Danny Sapani is ‘titanic here as this sly, savagely funny, belligerent patriarch whose authority is ebbing away.’

Alun Hood at WhatsOnStage (4★) was impressed by ‘Michael Longhurst’s sizzling, thrillingly acted production’. It was, he said, ‘a warm, intriguing play, as wise as it is outrageous, as funny as it is grim, and in this UK premiere, it looks like a modern American classic.’ Franco Milazzo At BroadwayWorld (4★) described it as an ‘intelligent, intimate and ultimately optimistic study’

Andrzej Lukowski at Time Out (3★) experienced ‘a meaty watch, a pungent, spikey mix of laughs, tears and doomed defiance that centres on a multiracial group of misfits.’ Matt Wolf writing for LondonTheatre (3★) said, ‘Michael Longhurst’s production courses with the empathy found in the writing, not to mention a characteristic alertness to the storytelling swerves.’ For Arifa Albar in The Guardian (3★) it didn’t deliver as much as it promised, ‘In a production snappily directed by Michael Longhurst, there is much half said about institutionalised racism’ Nevertheless, ‘The performances are so strong, especially Sapani’s, that they propel the drama with lively, jibing humour’

The Times’ Clive Davis (3★) was another who felt the play fell short. While describing Danny Sapani as ‘a brooding central presence’, he also observed ‘too many underdeveloped characters’ are jostling for attention’ and ‘a nagging sense of implausibility.’ He said, ‘There are two or three plays crammed in here; for all the jokes, Guirgis never makes us care enough about any of them.’
Nick Curtis in The Standard (3★) had many reservations but came through the evening feeling positive: ‘This is a tricksy, rigged piece of drama, with a distended denouement. It’s still headily enjoyable, though.’ Dave Fargnoli writing for The Stage (3★) said the ‘knotty dramedy is overstuffed and tonally inconsistent – yet still gripping.’

Critics’ Average Rating 3.4★

Between Riverside and Crazy can be seen at Hampstead Theatre until 15 June 2024. Buy tickets from

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