Review: My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

Published in The Observer March 29, 2020

When #MeToo broke, it wasn’t just about high-profile cases of abuse – it felt like a new light being shone on all past interactions, allowing us to see them differently. Everywhere you saw women talking feverishly to each other, you knew it would be about this creepy boss, or that older guy.

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Review: The Taming of the Shrew, The Globe

Published in Time Out March 19, 2020

There’s probably a German word for the precise feeling of frustration you get watching Globe artistic director and world-class Shakespearean actor Michelle Terry sat on stage, not playing one of the thorniest parts in Shakespeare.

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Review: Pretty Woman: The Musical, Piccadilly Theatre

Published in The Mail on Sunday March 7, 2020

If you’ve ever wondered how the 1990 movie Pretty Woman, which made a fairytale romcom out of a rich-man-meets-prostitute premise, would fare in the age of #MeToo – well, this production won’t help.

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Rocks stars: meet the teenage cast of the hot new British film

Published in The Observer March 8, 2020

Seven teenage girls are falling over themselves with laughter. They’re meant to be posing for a picture, but it’s a bit like photographing a box of puppies – they can’t keep still, pawing and hugging and joking, and bursting into coordinated dance moves.

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One to watch: Sofia Kourtesis

Published in The Observer March 1, 2020

Listen to the opening number of the Peruvian-born producer Sofia Kourtesis’s first, self-titled EP, and you imagine a train made of rackety sonic junk clattering down a track. Its destination? A good time, surely: while her brand of house may be arrestingly distinct, clicking and juddering with distorted vocals and fragments of field recordings, she always keeps her eyes firmly on the dancefloor rather than the navel.

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Review: Nora: A Doll’s House, Young Vic

Published in The Observer February 16, 2020

It’s often said that Nora’s slam of the door as she walks out on her husband and children at the end of A Doll’s House has echoed down the centuries. In Stef Smith’s smart new version of Ibsen’s 1879 play, her story certainly reverberates: Smith reimagines Nora in 1918, in 1968, and in 2018.

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How Britain is facing up to its hidden slavery history

Published in BBC Culture February 3, 2020

If we hear at all about Britain’s involvement in slavery, there’s often a slight whiff of self-congratulation – for abolishing it in 1833, 32 years ahead of the US, where the legacy of slavery is still more of an open wound. Less well known, however, is the enormous cost of this decision for the taxpayer – the British government spent £20 million, a staggering 40% of its budget in 1833, to buy freedom for slaves.

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Review: Strange Hotel, Eimear McBride

Published in The Observer January 28, 2020

If you’ve read so much as a sentence of Eimear McBride’s writing, it is likely to have burned into your brain. Her first two novels, A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing and The Lesser Bohemians, were both written with a ferocious immediacy, in hurtling, viscerally direct prose that captures pre-verbal thought processes “far back in the mind”, as McBride put it.

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