The Times has shared its 4 star review of The Rover online! Read it in full on the Times site.
At the whirling centre, swaggering and priapic, is Joseph Millson as the Rover, raffish Captain Willmore. It’s terrific, riotous fun, the delicious froth tinged with tangy truths about the powerplay, pitfalls and pleasures of the game of love. Millson — all sweaty, hairy virility — makes his entrance from the balcony, swinging on a rope from which he then, less dashingly, struggles to dismount. His Willmore is irresistible, a hot-blooded philanderer whose machismo is at once seductive and absurd, his eyes bright with lust, his fleshy tongue flicking over his bearded lips in erotic anticipation. He meets his match in Faye Castelow’s sparklingly witty Hellena, a Spanish noblewoman who, condemned by her father and brother to enter a convent, sets off to the carnival determined to taste some carnal delights. In spite of himself, Willmore falls for her, even with her lovely face concealed by her disguise. When he tremulously confesses, “I am parlously afraid of being in love, child”, it’s a touching moment of emotional vulnerability.
Other great reviews for Joseph's performance were shared over the weekend. The Rover runs until February 2017. Don't miss it!
At the centre of the tale is the dissolute but lovably roguish rover himself, Robert Willmore – possibly modelled on a real-life friend or lover of the playwright. Willmore is a kind of proto-Captain Jack Sparrow, with all the swagger of Johnny Depp's comedy pirate but much more subtlety in the deft and hugely entertaining hands of Joseph Millson. Not since Michael Boyd's Histories cycle in the Courtyard has Stratford seen such a swashbuckling entrance, and from that moment on the stage is unequivocally his. Millson does comedy and pathos equally effectively, never straying into the kind of over-the-top territory that could easily undermine character. He's always believable, delightfully horrifying and endlessly watchable. What's On Stage
As the bounder-in-chief, Joseph Millson looks uncannily like Jeremy Irons – who took the part 30 years ago. Few actors of his generation can boast such a virile presence – you almost wonder whether they need to take out insurance on his pelvis, so often is it used to thrust home a bawdy emphasis. He has funny bones as well as physical force – but he keeps the character on the border of downright shocking disreputability; this rake verges on rapist in the second half. The Telegraph
Joseph Millson, making his entrance swinging on a rope like a Restoration Errol Flynn, plays Willmore excellently as a shameless rakehell whose sexual rapacity is offset by a boyish charm: you may not approve of him but you can’t help liking him. Guardian
The Rover provides a rich spectrum of characters and this wonderful ensemble production never takes a backward step in mining everything those characters have to offer. In something so brilliantly strong in depth it should be wrong to pick out individual performances. But it would be wrong not to record what a simply triumphant tour-de-force Joseph Millson achieves in the title role. For such a self-obsessed character to end up carrying all the sympathies of the watchers takes superb timing, a great reading of the script and sheer hard work. It’s a wonder to watch. Stratford Observer