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”

Freya Mavor: from Skins to stardom

Published in The i on April 11, 2017

Ten years ago, Skins sauntered onto our TV screens, spliff and vodka bottle in hand. It showed a bunch of teenagers in Bristol getting messy and messing up, but had a big heart too. The smartest move was casting unknown teenagers – but Skins alumni have gone on to conquer the West End, TV schedules and Hollywood. Continue reading “Freya Mavor: from Skins to stardom”

Black deaths in British police custody: ‘We just don’t want to talk about it’

Published in The Independent on March 27, 2017

Urbain Hayo was 14 when he first got stopped and searched by the police. When the London riots exploded in 2011, following the police shooting of Mark Duggan, he wasn’t surprised. Continue reading “Black deaths in British police custody: ‘We just don’t want to talk about it’”

Why Love Actually is not the heartwarming rom-com you’re remembering

Published in The Independent on March 22, 2017

Fourteen years after it first schmaltzed up our cinema screens, Love Actually is back. Richard Curtis has filmed a short reunion for Comic Relief. Obviously, that’s a marvellous cause and everyone please give generously to charity. But if there’s one film which does not deserved to be looked on charitably, it’s surely Love Actually. Continue reading “Why Love Actually is not the heartwarming rom-com you’re remembering”

The Boxing Day football match that got women kicked off the pitch

Published in New Statesman on March 21, 2017

On Boxing Day in 1920, a women’s football match in Liverpool attracted a crowd of 53,000, far outstripping the numbers for men’s games. The following year, the Football Association banned women from playing. Continue reading “The Boxing Day football match that got women kicked off the pitch”

Everyone’s favourite book has been turned into an incredible play

Published in Refinery29 on March 13, 2017

Few books inspire such breathless fandom as Elena Ferrante’s. Her four “Neapolitan Novels” have proved huge international hits, with over 5.5 million copies sold in over 50 countries. Despite such reach, they still have a cultish status; converts tend to press them on friends and family, to talk about the main characters Lenu and Lila as if we knew them. We get fiercely possessive – and then comes news that the books are being turned into a stage show. Can they really be brought to life, or do such characters belong safely inside our heads? Continue reading “Everyone’s favourite book has been turned into an incredible play”

Review: Twelfth Night, National Theatre

Published in What's on Stage on February 23, 2017

Simon Godwin’s production turns Malvolio into Malvolia, with Tamsin Greig playing the uptight steward. Malvolio has long been seen as the plum part in this comedy of mistaken identities, and Greig rises to the occasion fruitily. Continue reading “Review: Twelfth Night, National Theatre”