‘It’s about exploring the male and female that everyone has inside them’: on playing Salomé as a man

Published in The i on May 12, 2017

Salomé: one of the most dangerously seductive female figures ever, often considered the original femme fatale. Yet in a new production of Oscar Wilde’s 1891 play at the RSC, Salomé is to be played by a man. Continue reading “‘It’s about exploring the male and female that everyone has inside them’: on playing Salomé as a man”

‘My body shall be all yours’: the startling sex letters of Joyce, Kahlo and O’Keeffe

Published in The Guardian on May 2, 2017

“I did as you told me, you dirty little girl, and pulled myself off twice when I read your letter.” He might be celebrated for his epic and allusive novels, but James Joyce came straight to the point when writing to his partner, Nora Barnacle. This was the opening salvo of a letter from 1908 and is just one of scores of explicit missives he sent her. Continue reading “‘My body shall be all yours’: the startling sex letters of Joyce, Kahlo and O’Keeffe”

Review: The Braille Legacy, Charing Cross Theatre

Published in Time Out on April 25, 2017

The story of Louis Braille – the blind French boy who invented the braille alphabet in 1824 when he was only 15 – is an inspiring one, and musicals have certainly been based on stranger source material. And director Thom Southerland has a track record of slightly unlikely hits such as Titanic and Grey Gardens, so you’d hope for a vibrant telling. But this dire musical entirely fails to do the man justice. Continue reading “Review: The Braille Legacy, Charing Cross Theatre”

Sophie Okonedo: ‘My body is my barometer – my instincts are physical’

Published in The Observer on April 23, 2017

Sophie Okonedo was born in 1968 in London and studied at Rada. She has worked extensively across theatre, film and TV and was nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar for the 2004 film Hotel Rwanda. Continue reading “Sophie Okonedo: ‘My body is my barometer – my instincts are physical’”

Review: The Philanthropist, Trafalgar Studios

Published in What's on Stage on April 21, 2017

First staged in 1970, Christopher Hampton’s comedy (an inverted reflection of Moliere’s The Misanthrope) about a mild-mannered, people-pleasing Oxford academic gets a revival stuffed with comic actors off the telly. You can see why: this groaning period piece, directed by Simon Callow, needs all the comedic help it can get. It’s not enough. Continue reading “Review: The Philanthropist, Trafalgar Studios”

Zip-lining: enjoy a birds-eye view and protect the rainforest in Laos

Published in The i on April 10, 2017

To one side, the rainforest stretches away in folds of blue-green to the horizon. On the other, a 120m waterfall crashes down a vertical rock face, so close I can feel the spray on my face. And below? Just empty space and rushing air, between me and a canopy of the lush trees. This feels about the closest a human being can get to flying – and is certainly the closest you can get to the heart of the pristine jungle of Laos. Continue reading “Zip-lining: enjoy a birds-eye view and protect the rainforest in Laos”

Why the decline of school theatre trips is extremely worrying

Published in What's on Stage on April 14, 2017

Do you remember the first time you were taken to the theatre? If you’re reading this, the chances are, you do – and that first taste might well have been part of a school trip. But recent reports suggest such outings are increasingly endangered. Continue reading “Why the decline of school theatre trips is extremely worrying”

Simeon Solomon and the Victorian view of same-sex desire

Published in BBC Culture on April 5, 2017

Starting in 1861, with the abolition of the death penalty for sodomy, and ending in 1967, when the act between consenting men was decriminalised in England and Wales, the new exhibition Queer British Art at Tate Britain in London offers just over a century of works exploring fluid gender identities and same-sex desire. Continue reading “Simeon Solomon and the Victorian view of same-sex desire”