Comics were out in force and applauding warmly at last night’s opening of The Mentalists, in which fellow stand-up and The Office co-creator Stephen Merchant made his West End acting debut – but what did critics think?
Most overnight reviews fall in the three-star range, underwhelmed more by the choice of play than the performances of Merchant and his stage veteran co-star, Steffan Rhodri. Richard Bean‘s “slight” two-hander originally premiered in a temporary studio at the National Theatre in 2002, and many critics wonder why it was chosen for such a high-profile West End star vehicle, particularly one, carps the Telegraph, being sold at grossly inflated ticket prices.
But the new timeliness of Bean’s biting wit (“the Greeks peaked early”), interviews with Merchant and news related to The Office and his association with Ricky Gervais, as well as a new arm-candy girlfriend and a white-mesh dress worn by Kate Beckinsale help to generate more press interest in The Mentalists.
What the papers (and others) say