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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Will disabled people ever get the stories they deserve?

Published in BBC Culture December 2, 2019

Diversity has become a buzzword in the entertainment industries – and if there’s still debate about how much things are really changing, or if moves towards greater representation are too often mere lip service or box ticking, the diversity conversation is at least being had. Do badly, and it will get called out.

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Review: Fleabag, Wyndham’s Theatre: It’s still brilliant

Published in The Independent August 29, 2019

It all started here: one woman, on stage, telling a story. In 2013, Fleabag opened in a small, dank fringe space in Edinburgh, before Phoebe Waller-Bridge turned it into a beloved, era-defining TV comedy, the show that launched her career – and a thousand think pieces.

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Why Virginia Woolf’s Orlando speaks to gender fluidity today

Published in The FT August 22, 2019

“It is enough for us to state the simple fact; Orlando was a man till the age of 30; when he became a woman and has remained so ever since.” Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando was published in 1928, yet contains an expression of gender fluidity that feels as fresh and matter of fact as if it were written today.

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Edinburgh Fringe 2019 review round-up

Published in The Independent August 9, 2019

Baby Reindeer ★★★★☆ / Sh!t Theatre Drink Rum with Expats ★★★★★ / Lucy McCormick: Post Popular​ ★★★★☆

Some acts defy whatever section of the fringe programme you put them in. Theatre? Comedy? Performance art? Who cares? This year, several performers who have long straddled such boundaries return to the fringe. And however you define them, they’ve got something serious to say.  

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Are theatre’s schemes and awards deterring a new generation of talent?

Published in Exeunt July 29, 2020

There’s a scheme that asks you to programme three shows, and do two rounds of interviews, for the chance to be in a pool of potential assistant directors. One that asks for thousands of words pitching a pie-in-the-sky show, right down to the marketing strategy.

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