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Review: Minority Report (Lyric Hammersmith)

Review by Daz Gale




Science and Faith have been the subject of many a conversation, debate and arguments for many a decade now, so it feels fitting that following the Lyric Hammersmith’s acclaimed revival of Faith Healer, their next show tackles the other side – science. Well, science fiction to be precise. Following short seasons in Nottingham and Birmingham, London gets a chance to witness the premiere stage adaptation of this loved story – but would this futuristic drama be a killer hit or a crime against theatre?

Based on the 1956 short story by Philip K. Dick, Minority Report is perhaps best known for its 2022 Hollywood movie adaptation starring Tom Cruise. It’s 2050 and the world is a lot safer thanks to the launch of Pre-Crime which detains people for crimes before they are committed. While the use of the system is met with challenges, it isn’t until Julia Anderton, who was responsible for pioneering the programme, is accused of pre-murder that she races against time to save herself from her own system.


David Haig’s writing takes the premise of Philip K. Dick’s story and masterfully adapts it for the stage, with clever touches beginning with Julia Anderton directly addressing the audience and completely demolishing the fourth wall, before we are transported into the story with her. The choice to move the action to London and gender-switch the main character brings something fresh and unseen to the story, and allows for plenty of potential – though this isn’t always taken advantage of. Condensing the story into a singular 90 minute act allows for no time to catch your breath and adds to the danger and excitement of the piece, though the writing doesn’t always live up to this, with some clunky and unnatural pieces of dialogue littered throughout.

Minority Report is full of interesting questions and comments on society and where we are heading. With 2050 not feeling too far away, its themes of the over-reliance of technology and growing use of artificial intelligence often prove to feel like a sobering reality and inevitability rather than a work of fiction. To that respect, the show has no shortage of interesting comparisons and comments to make on the way the world is heading. The problem is these opportunities are not fully utilized. Of course, there is no necessity to do that and just leave it as pure science fiction and escapism. The issue is these are hinted at throughout but never quite commits, feeling like it could be pushed more in either direction to have more of an impact.


The strongest element of Minority Report is undoubtedly its production value. Incredibly high-tech, it features some of the most impressive staging I have ever witnessed in a theatre, transporting the Lyric Hammersmith into the 2050s with exceptional results. Jon Bausor’s production design and Tal Rosner’s video design create a beautiful and varied aesthetic that adapts itself constantly and always surprises. With lighting from Jessica Hung Han Yun and composition from Nicola T. Chang, an atmospheric setting is full of frantic energy and immerses you in the action fabulously.

Max Webster’s direction has moments of brilliance, particularly in his use of staging and how best to tell the story, with some truly inspired choices. Where it falls flat, sadly, is in the direction of the cast. Though there are clearly some immensely talented performers in the cast, their talents suffer, mostly due to the direction, with some strange choices in how they best convey their lines and actions. This leads to a lack of connection and a forced feel that can act as a disservice to the actors themselves and stop the impact of the story from being further elevated. Jodie McNee has the right amount of intrigue and stage presence to carry the story in the lead role of Julia but often suffers due to the direction that has been given here, with other cast members experiencing the same fate.


Minority Report is a bold and ambitious stage production, with a brilliant use of technology, fitting for the futuristic setting it is attempting to recreate. Visually and technically stunning, unfortunately, it feels a case of style over substance in other regards, with direction and writing that could have used a little bit more time being perfected before exploding onto the stage. Where a key theme of the show is the problems that can come from detaining people before their crimes are committed, to an extent this feels like the show has been staged before it has been finished. With a little bit more care, this could be incredible. As it stands, it is disappointingly inconsistent – still highly enjoyable but frustratingly flawed.

Minority Report plays at Lyric Hammersmith until 18th May. Tickets from

Photos by Marc Brenner



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