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’”

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”

Review: The Girls, Phoenix Theatre

Published in What's on Stage on February 22, 2017

You’d have to have a heart dry as an old sunflower seed not to moved by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth’s musical version of The Calendar Girls. Based on the – by now very familiar – story of a Yorkshire WI group who posed for a nude calendar to raise money after the husband of one of their members, Annie, died of cancer, the musical follows the hit film and play of the story (both also by Firth). But it proves a tale that still has the capacity to raise a smile – as well as funds for Bloodwise, a cancer charity. Continue reading “Review: The Girls, Phoenix Theatre”

Review: Years of Sunlight, Theatre 503

Published in Time Out on January 31, 2017

Paul and his mother Hazel face the burnt-out ruins of her home. It’s on an estate in Skelmersdale, a new town built in the 1960s, drawing residents from an overcrowded Liverpool. Paul has long since ditched Skem – as it’s known – for Ireland, and returns disdainful of his former home. The disdain seems to stretch to his mother too, and her attempts to help his friend Emlyn, who became a drug addict. Continue reading “Review: Years of Sunlight, Theatre 503”

Review: In the Depths of Dead Love, The Print Room

Published in What's on Stage on January 20, 2017

The action outside the Print Room proves considerably more lively and vital than what’s on stage: on press night, a substantial protest was held against the casting of white actors in Chinese roles in Howard Barker’s play. The issue of ‘yellowface’ was raised when the casting was announced, prompting the Print Room to release an astonishingly tangled and tone-deaf statement. Continue reading “Review: In the Depths of Dead Love, The Print Room”

The Observer rising stars of 2017: Morfydd Clark

Published in The Observer on January 1, 2017

In her professional debut, Morfydd Clark was upstaged by a lamb. She’d nabbed the title part in Blodeuwedd – “it’s the Welsh Juliet” – staged on a Snowdonian hillside in 2013. But as if elaborate Welsh-language poetry and swarms of midges weren’t challenging enough, one evening “this lamb came on – it was in July when they’re really not little and cute anymore – and baaa-ed loudly through the love scene.” Continue reading “The Observer rising stars of 2017: Morfydd Clark”

Hattie Morahan on new BBC Drama My Mother and Other Strangers

Published in The Telegraph on November 13, 2016

You know you’ve made it as an actor when you inspire someone to write a whole television series around you. And that’s happened for Hattie Morahan: scriptwriter Barry Devlin created new BBC One drama My Mother and Other Strangers with her in mind. Continue reading “Hattie Morahan on new BBC Drama My Mother and Other Strangers”