The Visit

The Visit

National Theatre · 31 JAN - 13 MAY

or The Old Lady Comes to Call

Lyn Gardner avatar
30 January 2020  ·  Follow on Stagedoor
“One of my most memorable theatrical experiences was a long ago Complicite staging of Friedrich Durrenmatt’s strange fable about a woman with a fortune who returns to the town of her birth which has fallen on hard times. So, Jeremy Herrin’s revival is going to have a lot to live up to. But the omens are good. Relocated to the upstate New York town of Slurry in the post-war era, it comes in a new version by Tony ‘Angels in America’ Kushner, has Vicki Mortimer doing the design and comes with a crack cast led by the incomparable Lesley Manville as a rich woman on a mission.”


Jeremy Herrin (This House) directs Lesley Manville (The Phantom Thread, Long Day’s Journey into Night) and Hugo Weaving (The Matrix) as former lovers in Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s visionary revenge play, transported into mid-20th-century America by Tony Kushner (Angels in America).

In the town of Slurry, New York, post-war recession has bitten.

Claire Zachanassian, improbably beautiful and impenetrably terrifying, returns to her hometown as the world’s richest woman.

The locals hope her arrival signals a change in their fortunes, but they soon realise that prosperity will only come at a terrible price.

Critic reviews

Jeremy Herrin's assured, vivid production does its best to pull us along


Lesley Manville is magnetic in Tony Kushner's superb, but very long, drama

Evening Standard

Lesley Manville confirms she's one of the all-time greats

The Telegraph

Lesley Manville is phenomenal as a scorned capitalist hellbent on revenge in Tony Kushner’s singular but rambling take on a European classic

Time Out

Lesley Manville is superlative as a vengeful billionaire in Tony Kushner’s lengthy adaptation of Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s play

The Stage

It all feels very forced, extreme, and inauthentic

London Theatre

Manville is monstrous in this nightmarish tale

The Times

Tony Kushner's plodding revenge epic falls flat

The Guardian

A few judicious trims, and more Manville, and this Faustian fable would really chill

Broadway World

The Visit is a thrilling ride

The Upcoming

A vaudevillian nightmare with an unforgivable running time

The Independent

Lesley Manville rises above the prevailing muddle

The Arts Desk

Too much of a good thing


An impressive production, boasting a talented cast, intricate set and fabulous costumes

West End Wilma

Jeremy Herrin’s production echoes the unwieldiness of Kushner’s script, opting for quantity and excess over genuine style or insight


All in all this lumbering revival tries the audience’s patience whilst offering little in return

London Box Office

Lesley Manville excels in The Visit

Financial Times

The Visit is undeniably an epic play

A Younger Theatre

Date & time

Until 13 May
Fri 31 Jan - Wed 13 May, 1pm & 7pm


National Theatre
South Bank SE1 9PX London, UK · Get Directions
out of 5 stars
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