Saint Joan

Original Saint Joan London West End Production with Sybil Thorndike 1924

1st London West End Revival (Sainte Jeanne) with Ludmilla Pitoeff 1930

2nd London West End Revival with Sybil Thorndike 1931

3rd London West End Revival with Mary Newcomb 1935

4th London West End Revival with Mary Morris 1939

London revival (King's Theatre Hammersmith) with Ann Casson 1946

5th London West End Revival with Celia Johnson 1947

6th London West End Revival with Siobhan McKenna 1955

7th London West End Revival with Nel Oosthout 1956

8th London West End Revival with Barbara Jefford 1960

9th London West End Revival with Joan Plowright 1963

London Revival (Marmaid Theatre) with Angela Pleasence 1970

10th London West End Revival with Eileen Atkins 1977

London Revival (National Theatre) with Frances de la Tour 1984

11th London West End Revival with Imogen Stubbs 1994

London Revival (National Theatre) with Anne-Marie Duff 2007

London Revival (Donmar Warehouse) with Gemma Arterton 2016


Play by George Bernard Shaw. Joan of Arc. Innocent country girl. Visionary. Military tactican. Nationalist. Political prisoner. Ultimate romantic heroine. George Bernard Shaw's Joan is all these; a fact which ultimately leads to her destruction at the hands of lesser men.

Although the play premiered on Braodway in December 1923 with Winifred Lenihan in the title role, Shaw had actually written the part for Sybil Thorndike who starred in the West End Premiere the following year in a production that was directed by her husband, Lewis Casson, who also played the role of 'Chaplain de Stogumber' in the first West End staging.

Shaw is reputed to have been moved to write the play after seeing Sybil Thorndike play the role of 'Beatrice' in the West End Premiere of Shelley's The Cenci at the New Theatre (now Noel Coward Theatre) in November 1922 when he is reported to have remarked: "I have found Saint Joan; now I must write the play."

Sybil Thorndike is the actress most closely associated with playing 'Saint Joan' - she has played the role the most number of times on the London stage - just over 450 performances - than any other actress. Interestingly her daughter, Ann Casson, also played the title role in London in 1946.

George Bernard Shaw's other West End plays include Pygmalion, You Never Can Tell and Mrs Warren's Profession.


Original London West End Production with Sybil Thorndike 1924

Opened 26 March 1924, Closed 25 October 1924 at the New Theatre (now Noel Coward Theatre)
Returned 14 January 1925, Closed 9 May 1925 at the Regent Theatre (now demolished)
Returned 24 March 1926, Closed 8 May 1926 at the Lyceum Theatre

The cast throughout all three runs featured Sybil Thorndike as 'Joan'. Directed by Lewis Casson with designs by Charles Ricketts.

The Regent Theatre was located in the Euston Road, opposite St Pancras Railway Station.

The season at the Lyceum Theatre - which at the time could seat just over 2,800 people - was presented at 'popular prices' (ie cheap) to encourage a large audience to see the production. The nine-day 1926 general strike, which started on Monday 3 May 1926, precipitated the early closure of the production the following Saturday, 8 May 1926.


1st London West End Revival (Sainte Jeanne) with Ludmilla Pitoeff 1930

Opened 10 June 1930, Closed 21 June 1930 at the Globe Theatre (now Gielgud Theatre)

Translated into French by Augustin Henriette as Sainte Jeanne.

The cast featured Ludmilla Pitoeff as 'Sainte Jeanne'. Directed by Georges Pitoeff.

Presented in French for 11 performances only.


2nd London West End Revival with Sybil Thorndike 1931

Opened 6 April 1931, Closed 9 May 1931 at His Majesty's Theatre (now Her Majesty's Theatre)
Transferred 12 May 1931, Closed 16 May 1931 at the Haymarket Theatre

The cast featured Sybil Thorndike as 'Joan'. Directed by Lewis Casson with designs by Charles Ricketts.

A revival of the original 1924 production - featuring a number of the original cast - this production was scheduled for a limited four week season. Initially proving successful, it was transferred to the Haymarket Theatre for an additional three week run up to Saturday 30 May 1931, but it closed early after just one week.


3rd London West End Revival with Mary Newcomb 1935

Opened 26 November 1934, Closed 15 December 1935 (straight run) at the Old Vic Theatre

Transferred 18 December 1934, Closed 29 December 1935 (straight run) at Sadler's Wells Theatre

The cast featured Mary Newcomb as 'Joan'. Directed by Henry Cass with sets by David Ffolkes and costumes by Charles Ricketts (based on the original 1924 costumes).


4th London West End Revival with Mary Morris 1939

Opened 20 February 1939, Closed 23 February 1939 at the Winter Garden Theatre (now rebuilt as New London Theatre)

The cast featured Mary Morris as 'Joan'. Directed by Waxwell Wray.

Two matinee performances only - presented as part of a short 'Matinee Season' by the English School Theatre.


London revival (King's Theatre Hammersmith) with Ann Casson 1946

Opened 7 March 1946, Closed 25 May 1946 (in repertory) King's Theatre Hammersmith (now demolished)

The cast featured Ann Casson as 'Joan'. The cast also included Lewis Casson as the 'Peter Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais'. Directed by Trevenen Peters with designs by Peter Goffin.

Presented by Basil Langton's Travelling Repertory Company, this production was notable for starring Ann Casson in the title role - she was the daughter of Dame Sybil Thorndike and Sir Lewis Casson.

The King's Theatre Hammersmith was located in the Hammersmith Road at the junction of Rowan Road.


5th London West End Revival with Celia Johnson 1947

Opened 3 December 1947, Closed 29 May 1948 (in repertory) at the New Theatre (now Noel Coward Theatre)

The cast featured Celia Johnson as 'Joan'. The cast also included Alex Guinnes as the 'the Dauphin, Charles VII'. Directed by John Burrell.

Presented by the Old Vic Theatre Company.


6th London West End Revival with Siobhan McKenna 1955

Opened 29 September 1954, Closed 31 October 1954 at the Arts Theatre
Opened 8 February 1955, Closed 28 May 1955 at the St Martin's Theatre

The cast featured Siobhan McKenna as 'Joan'. The cast also included Kenneth Williams as the 'the Dauphin, Charles VII'. Directed by John Fernald with sets by Paul Mayo and costumes by Michael Ellis.

The transfer from the Arts Theatre, a 'Private Club' theatre, to the West End was delayed due to a lack of available theatres until early the following year when the production transferred to the St Martin's Theatre.


7th London West End Revival with Nel Oosthout 1956

Opened Monday 17 September 1956, Closed Thursday 20 September 1956 at the Fortune Theatre

Solo performance in English of Shaw's play by the Dutch actress Nel Oosthout.

Four performances presented as part of a nine-day 'Nel Oosthout Season' along with John van Snellenberg's English translation of Klagbund's The Chalk Circle.


8th London West End Revival with Barbara Jefford 1960

Opened 9 February 1960, Closed 30 July 1960 (in repertory) at the Old Vic Theatre

The cast featured Barbara Jefford as 'Joan'. The cast also included George Baker as 'Richard de Beauchamp, the Earl of Warwick', Alex McCowen as 'the Dauphin, Charles VII' and Joss Ackland as 'Archbishop of Rheims'. Directed by Douglas Seale.

Presented by the Old Vic Theatre Company.


9th London West End Revival with Joan Plowright 1963

Opened 30 October 1963, Closed 4 June 1964 (in repertory) at the Old Vic Theatre

The cast featured Joan Plowright as 'Joan' with Martin Boddey as 'Robert de Baudricout', Richard Hampton as 'Betrand de Poulengey', Trevor Martin as 'Archbishop of Rheims', James Mellor as 'Monseigneur de la Tremouille', Terence Knapp as 'Gilles de Rais, Bluebeard', Robert Stephens as 'the Dauphin, Charles VII', Michael Turner as 'Captain La Hire', Ann Rye as 'Duchess de le Tremouille', Anthony Nicholls as 'Richard de Beauchamp, the Earl of Warwick', Robert Lang as 'Peter Cauchon, the Bishop of Beauvais', Max Adrian as 'Brother John Lemaitre, the Inquisitor', Derek Jacobi as 'Brother Martin Ladvenu', Frank Finlay as 'Chaplain de Stogumber', Lewis Fiander as 'Canon de Courcelles', John Stride as 'Dunois, the Bastard of Orleans', Dan Meaden as 'the Executioner', Roger Heathcott as 'Canon John D'Estivet' and Colin Blakely as 'English Soldier' along with Michael Gambon, Lynn Redgrave, Rod Beacham, Elizabeth Burger, Christopher Chittell, Peter Cellier, Raymond Clarke, Reginald Green, Jeanne Hepple, William Hobbs, Jeanette Landis, Harry Lomax, Keith Marsh, Bruce Purchase, Louise Purnell, Alan Ridgway, Jean Rogers, John Rogers, Michael Rothwell, Adam Rowntree, Robert Russell and Clive Rust.

Directed by John Dexter with designs by Michael Annals and lighting by Leonard Tucker.

A Chichester Festival Theatre production presented in London by The National Theatre.


London Revival with Angela Pleasence 1970

Opened 3 September 1970, 7 November 1970 at the Mermaid Theatre

The cast featured Angela Pleasence as 'Joan' with Keith Washington as 'Robert de Baudricout / the Executioner', John Challis as 'Betrand de Poulengey / Canon John D'Estivet', Barry Lineham as 'Archbishop of Rheims', Kenneth Gilbert as 'Monseigneur de la Tremouille', Robin Chadwick as 'Gilles de Rais, Bluebeard / Canon de Courcelles', John Tordoff as 'the Dauphin, Charles VII', David Darker as 'Captain La Hire / English Soldier', Anne Stevenson as 'Duchess de le Tremouille', Bruce Purchase as 'Richard de Beauchamp, the Earl of Warwick', Antony Brown as 'Peter Cauchon, the Bishop of Beauvais', George Benson as 'Brother John Lemaitre, the Inquisitor', Martin Thurley as 'Brother Martin Ladvenu', John Harwood as 'Chaplain de Stogumber' and David Neal as 'Dunois, the Bastard of Orleans' along with Andrew Branch, Paul Gaymon, David Jarrett, Richard Norton and Gerald Taylor.

Directed by Bernard Miles with designs by Bryan Graves.


10th London West End Revival with Eileen Atkins 1977

Previewed 3 May 1977, Opened 4 May 1977, Closed 21 May 1977 at the Old Vic Theatre
Returned 7 February 1978, Closed 25 March 1978 (in repertory) at the Old Vic Theatre
Returned 3 May 1978, Closed 20 May 1978 (in repertory) at the Old Vic Theatre
Returned 22 June 1978, Closed 14 July 1978 (in repertory) at the Old Vic Theatre

The original cast featured Eileen Atkins at 'Joan' with Frederick Treves as 'Robert de Baudricout', Peter Miles as 'Betrand de Poulengey / Canon John D'Estivet', Robert Mc Bain as 'Archbishop of Rheims', Anthony langdon as 'Monseigneur de la Tremouille', Paul Jesson as 'Gilles de Rais, Bluebeard / Canon de Courcelles', Charles Kay as 'the Dauphin, Charles VII', Nick Stringer as 'Captain La Hire', Janis Winters as 'Duchess de le Tremouille', Geoffrey Palmer as 'Richard de Beauchamp, the Earl of Warwick', Emrys James as 'Peter Cauchon, the Bishop of Beauvais', Robert Eddison as 'Brother John Lemaitre, the Inquisitor', Terry Scully as 'Brother Martin Ladvenu', Ronald Lacey as 'Chaplain de Stogumber', John Bowe as 'Dunois, the Bastard of Orleans' and David Atkins as 'English Soldier' along with William Lawford, Nigel Pratt, Paul Sherman and Robert Schofield.

Directed by John Dove with designs by Robin Archer and lighting by Mick Hughes.

Presented by the Prospect Theatre Company, initially for a three week 'straight-run', the production proved very successful, returning three times 'by public demand' to play in repertory, fitted between regional tour dates. Although there where cast changes for the return seasons, Eileen Atkins played the title role for the entire run - a couple of scheduled performances at the Old Vic where cancelled when Eileen Atkins was unwell.


London Revival (National Theatre) with Frances de la Tour 1984

Previewed 10 February 1984, Opened 16 February 1984, Closed 24 July 1984 (in repertory) at the Olivier Theatre

The cast featured Frances de la Tour as 'Joan' with Brian Glover as 'Robert de Baudricourt', David Baron as 'Bertrand de Poulengey', John Savident as 'The Archbishop of Rheims', Jeffry Wickham as 'Duke de la Trémouille', Ian Price as 'Gille de Rais, Bluebeard / Canon de Courcelles', Timothy Spall as 'the Dauphin, Charles VII', George Harris as 'Captain La Hire', Janet Whiteside as 'Duchess de la Trémouille', Anton Rodgers as 'Richard de Beauchamp, the Earl of Warwick', Michael Bryant as 'Peter Cauchon, the Bishop of Beauvais', Cyril Cusack as 'Brother John Lemaitre, the Inquisitor', Jim Norton as 'Brother Martin Ladvenu', Philip Locke as 'Chaplain de Stogumber', Mark Wing-Davey as 'Dunois, the Bastard of Orleans', Alfred Lynch as 'English Soldier', William Sleigh as 'Canon John D'Estivet' and Glenn Williams as 'The Executioner' along with Charles Baillie, Robert Bathurst, Melvyn Bedford, Judith Coke, Mark Crowdy, Douglas Fielding, Richard Perkins, Robert Ralph, Matthew Sim, Brian Spink,Richard Syms, Daniel Thorndike, Adam Tomlinson, Marshall Ward and Theresa Watson.

Directed by Ronald Eyre with sets by John Gunter, costumes by Sally Gardner, lighting by Chris Ellis, music by Ilona Sekacz and sound by Chris Jordan.


11th London West End Revival with Imogen Stubbs 1994

Previewed 19 July 1994, Opened 21 July 1994, Closed 1 October 1994 at the Strand Theatre (now Novello Theatre)

The cast featured Imogen Stubbs as 'Joan' with Jack Carr as 'Robert de Baudricourt / the Executioner', Julian Forsyth as 'Bertrand de Poulengey / Canon D’Estivet', Bruce Purchase as 'The Archbishop of Rheims', Eric Mason as 'Duke de la Tremouille', John Dougall as 'Gilles de Rais, Bluebeard', Jasper Britton as 'the Dauphin, Charles VII', Andrew Jarvis as 'Captain La Hire', Lara Bobroff as 'Duchess de la Termouille', Ken Bones as 'Richard de Beauchamp, the Earl of Warwick', Paul Webster as 'Peter Cauchon, the Bishop of Beauvais', Peter Jeffrey as 'Brother John Lemaitre, the Inquisitor', Nicholas Rowe as 'Brother Martin Ladvenu', David Daker as 'Chaplain de Stogumber', Philip Quast as 'Dunois, the Bastard of Orleans', Gordon Langford-Rowe as 'English Soldier' and Charles Dale as 'Canon de Courcelles' along with Dominic Curtis and Colin Mace.

Directed by Gale Edwards with sets by Peter J Davidson, costumes by Clare Mitchell, lighting by Mark Henderson, music by Max Lambert and sound by Paul Arditti.

Presented in the West End by Theatr Clwyd.

"Production values are lavish. Peter Davison's setting is a skewed grey box with sliding screens revealing the Dauphin's crowded court, the river at Orleans, the columns of Rheims Cathedral, the glow of the stake. And the production itself is a relatively operatic reading of Shaw's anti-bombastic morality tale of the homespun peasant girl who takes on the might and duplicity of English and French feudal aristocracies and the Catholic church and burns her way into mythology and (in 1920) sanctity. The director's great at painting luscious spectacle and pointing up big moments with Hollywood-style background strings, less reliable when it comes to conveying the text clearly - and this is, first and last, a play of words and ideas. Imogen Stubbs's Joan has charisma, strength and depth and a curious accent from somewhere between the Tyne and the Humber... The trial scene, with Peter Jeffrey as the Inquisitor, is riveting as ever... Not a perfect production but a memorable one." The Guardian

"The acting can be loud and rhetorical. Peter J. Davison's set sometimes seems wilfully ugly, with its proto-brutalist chairs, stark steel table and general visual aggro. The idea is perhaps to banish any lingering sentimentality from the legend; yet there are oddly mawkish touches, too. When Imogen Stubbs's Joan talks of hearing her voices in the village bells, there is a sound of tolling and chanting; and when she delivers the famous speech about how death is preferable to a prison far away from the larks and lambs, what might be Vaughan Williams hums away offstage. And yet I have to admit that where it really matters the production succeeds. It reaches not only Shaw's favourite bodily part, the head, but the one he found more elusive, the heart... Stubbs finds the bewildered, vulnerable, helpless child within the saintly tearaway, and, by the time she is carted off into Peter J. Davison's scarlet haze, she cuts a forlorn, even a broken figure. Thanks to her, the production has become genuinely moving. And thanks in particular to Peter Jeffrey's superb inquisitor, modulated and measured where some other cast members are content to roar and orate, it has grown intellectually too." The Times

"Imogen Stubbs's Joan of Arc begins and ends in fire - her hair is red and blazes down to her waist - until she has it shorn for soldiering - and her face is alight with belief in her cause. She speaks like a simple villager but every-thing she says has an ecstatic edge. God's words come edged in gold. The radiance could be saintly or mad. One of the fascinations of Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan is that although Joan's faith is constant, her identity is as uncertain as fire. The questions about her keep changing. Who is she? Is she serious? Does she really hear voices? Is she a heretic? A headcase? An innocent? A saint? Imogen Stubbs, in an incandescent performance, shows us someone who is possessed by belief, but also a practical girl who knows about sheep and sees herself as a sensible shepherd with France as her new flock. Her zest for fighting is alternately endearing and irritating... Helmets off to Gale Edwards, the show's Australian director - it's hard to imagine a better production. Yet something - the play itself? - was showing signs of wear, a bit of rust on the breastplate. Occasionally debate seemed dutiful rather than passionate." The Observer

Saint Joan in London at the Strand Theatre previewed from 19 July 1994, opened on 21 July 1994 and closed on 1 October 1994


London Revival (National Theatre) with Anne-Marie Duff 2007

Previewed 4 July 2007, Opened 11 July 2007, Closed 25 September 2007 (in repertory) at the Olivier Theatre

The cast features Anne-Marie Duff as 'Joan' with Brendan O'Hea as 'Robert de Baudricourt', Ross Waiton as 'Bertrand de Poulengey', James Hayes as 'The Archbishop of Rheims', James Barriscale as 'Duke de la Tremouille', Gareth Kennerley as 'Gilles de Rais, Bluebeard', Paul Ready as 'the Dauphin, Charles VII', Finn Caldwell as 'Captain La Hire', Angus Wright as 'Richard de Beauchamp, the Earl of Warwick', Paterson Joseph as 'Peter Cauchon, the Bishop of Beauvais', Oliver Ford Davies as 'Brother John Lemaitre, the Inquisitor', Jamie Ballard as 'Brother Martin Ladvenu', Michael Thomas as 'Chaplain de Stogumber', Christopher Colquhoun as 'Dunois, the Bastard of Orleans', Simon Bubb as 'Canon de Courcelles', William Osborne as 'Canon John D'Estivet' and Jonathan Jaynes as 'the Executioner' along with Michael Camp, Eke Chukwu, Simon Markey, David Ricardo-Pearce and Luke Treadaway.

Directed by Marianne Elliott with choreography by Hofesh Shechter, designs by Rae Smith, lighting by Paule Constable, and music and sound by Jocelyn Pook.

"Just occasionally, not often, the National Theatre gets a play absolutely right and one can see the point of that giant concrete monstrosity on the capital's South Bank. The revival of George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan at the Olivier Theatre is without doubt one of its brief, shining moments. The story of Joan of Arc, the girl from Domremy in Lorraine who, convinced in the 15th century that she was hearing voices from heaven, went on to inspire the soldiers of France to drive the English out of her country, is by any measure, and at any time, a compelling and beautifully written piece of drama. Marianne Elliott directs a strong ensemble with tremendous reverence and sensitivity. Anne-Marie Duff, a slight, gamine, Irish actress with a mop of thick blonde hair, makes a splendid Saint Joan. Well lit by Paule Constable, she radiates virtue on the battlefields in her coat of shining armour as she stands up for her faith and her people in the court of Charles, the Dauphin (an excellent comic turn by Paul Ready) and his scheming Archbishop of Rheims (an icily cold James Hayes). Oliver Ford Davies turns up as a wonderfully sinister Inquisitor. The trial of Saint Joan is particularly well handled with the accused and her accusers addressing themselves directly to the audience." The Sunday Telegraph

"There's much - often too much and for too long - to admire in Shaw's knottily-argumentative political play Saint Joan, but I can't imagine it staged with more verve than in Marianne Elliott's revival at the National Theatre... Elliott's powerfully visual staging brilliantly counters Shaw's wordiness, beginning with a pyre of wooden church chairs which, as everyone knows, is where this history ends...Anne-Marie Duff is well up tothe task of playing a religious fundamentalist. Slight and yet commanding, her chin set, her huge eyes brimming with resolve, her voice strong, she's a breath of fresh air, forceful enough to alter the course of history. Even when the French withdraw their support and she is captured by the English and imprisoned, Duff's Joan remains a life-force that cannot be extinguished. It's a tremendously moving, surely award-winning performance, but there are many others to relish, not least Paul Ready's whingeing wimp of a Dauphin and Oliver Ford Davies's silver-tongued Inquisitor, vile and yet maddeningly rational." The Mail on Sunday

"Marianne Elliott's revived Saint Joan is a valiant, ambitious attempt at what many regard as Shaw's finest play. Even though Elliott has made judicious cuts, it remains long and tremendously wordy... The most admirable thing about Shaw's foray into the medieval world of Jeanne d'Arc is his even-handedness. The churchmen here assembled are shown to be averagely good, merciful men, desperate to save both Joan's earthly life and her immortal soul, though the eradication of heresy is ultimately more important to them... A central problem is Anne-Marie Duff's Joan. Her strange, unplaceable accent is okay: somewhere between Bantry Bay and Derry Quay, Galway and Dublin town. Her look is convincing: a sallow, underfed peasant from the backwoods of Lorraine. But, at the risk of stating the bleedin' obvious, Joan of Arc must have been a girl with considerable charisma. Anyone acting her must exude that - and Duff doesn't. She's a manic shrimp, energetic, excitable, but not inspiring. She suggests a certain steeliness, but not that maniac fundamentalist fire that had hard-bitten French soldiers following Joan to their deaths on the walls of Orleans." The Sunday Times

Saint Joan in London at the National Theatre's Olivier Theatre previewed from 4 July 2007, opened on 11 July 2007 and closed on 25 September 2007


London Revival (Donmar Warehouse) with Gemma Arterton 2016

Previewed 9 December 2016, Opened 19 December 2016, Closed 18 February 2017 at the Donmar Warehouse

The cast featured Gemma Arterton as 'Joan' with an all-male emsemble cast of 12: Fisayo Akinade as 'the Dauphin, Charles VII', Matt Bardock as 'Robert de Baudricourt / Canon John D'Estivet', Niall Buggy as 'The Archbishop of Rheims', Richard Cant as 'Bertrand de Poulengey / Chaplain de Stogumber', Jo Stone-Fewings as 'Richard de Beauchamp, the Earl of Warwick', Hadley Fraser as 'Dunois, the Bastard of Orleans', Simon Holland Roberts as 'Duchess de la Termouille', Arthur Hughes as 'Brother Martin Ladvenu', Rory Keenan as 'Brother John Lemaitre, the Inquisitor', Elliot Levey as 'Peter Cauchon, the Bishop of Beauvais', Syrus Lowe as 'Gilles de Rais, Bluebeard / Canon de Courcelles' and Guy Rhys as 'Captain La Hire / the Executioner'.

Directed by Josie Rourke with movement by Arthur Pita, designs by Robert Jones, video by Duncan McLean, lighting by Howard Harrison, music by Michael Bruce and sound by Christopher Shutt.

When this production opened at the Donmar Warehouse in December 2016, Neil Norman in the Daily Express wrote that "the prospect of watching the talented Gemma Arterton tackle George Bernard Shaw's medieval French heroine Joan of Arc is undermined by director Josie Rourke's absurdly updated staging... Although vocally weak and initially too glamorous for an illiterate country girl, Arterton holds her own as the sole female figure on stage... But the sheer weight of words overburdens a production that fails to find the right context for Shaw's intriguing diatribe." Paul Taylor in the i Newspaper highlighted that "Gemma Arterton is radiantly persuasive as Bernard Shaw's heroine in this richly rewarding revival, directed by Josie Rourke... The trial scene is superbly paced and the piece is impeccably acted throughout." Ann Treneman in the Times said that "this production has pared this play right back in more than one way. We see no action, blood or guts, fire or battle foes. Instead the set is streamlined to the point of providing what can only be called an elegant sufficiency... The cast saves the day. Gemma Arterton is luminescent as Joan, presenting her as an evangelist that you could imagine today proselytizing on a street corner. Fisayo Akinade is on fetching form as the insipid Dauphin. Niall Buggy is a table-thumping archbishop while Rory Keenan impersonates a stiletto as the Inquisitor." Harriet Fitch Little in the Financial Times noted how the "director Josie Rourke has cut and tailored George Bernard Shaw's chronicle for corporate modernity - a world where armies are commanded by men wearing Silicon Valley sneakers and the Dauphin is the cowed heir to the family business... Of course there is something terribly modern - contemporary, even - in Joan herself: staunch nationalist, religious fanatic, rabble rouser. But here she feels distant from the conversation, pushed to one side by her anachronistic medieval garb, already a saint." Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard commented that "whenever Arterton is at the heart of the action, the scenes have a bright vitality. She glows with ardour... But when Arterton is off stage, there's a lack of verve... The modern setting makes some of the specifics of its religious wrangling seem incongruous." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph explained how "Gemma Arterton's stock continues to rise as a serious stage actress (after her triumph earlier this year in Nell Gwynn). With unblemished complexion and aura of undiluted purity, losing her initially long hair for an androgynous crop, this yokel accented woman in a man's world, a feline presence surrounded by dogcollars, convinces as the inspiring, steadfast embodiment of blazing inner resolve. If only the production around her was made more to her clear-cut, unfussy measure." Michael Billington in the Guardian described how "everything about the production is very clever. But while updating sometimes allows us to see an old play with fresh eyes it can also be a distraction. Although this production is worth seeing for Gemma Arterton, Shaw’s play works best when it is presented as a historical drama from which we are allowed to draw contemporary parallels."

Saint Joan in London at the Donmar Warehouse previewed from 9 December 2016, opened on 19 December 2016 and closed on 18 February 2017