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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Will disabled people ever get the stories they deserve?

Published in BBC Culture December 2, 2020

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: Bitter Wheat, Garrick Theatre

Published in Time Out June 20, 2019

Really, what is the point? Why stage this? I write with weariness, not anger. Because it’s all too tiresome, and too predictable. Turns out, nope, we really didn’t need a Harvey Weinstein play, written by a man and from a male perspective. The whole thing leaves you feeling… grubby.

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Andrea Dunbar: does the revival of interest in a working-class genius focus too much on her troubled personal life?

Published in the i May 29, 2019

Andrea Dunbar is back in Bradford – and back down the pub. After writing three scorchingly honest, brutal comedy-dramas – The Arbor, Rita Sue and Bob Too, and Shirley – about life on the Buttershaw estate in Bradford, the playwright died of a brain haemorrhage in a pub toilet in 1990 at the age of 29.

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The princess who thought she was made of glass

Published in BBC Culture May 16, 2019

A young princess in 19th-Century ringlets and a flouncy white dress creeps across the stage and eyeballs the audience warily. “I’m of a very delicate nature,” she tells us. “And it is all made far more complicated due to the fact that I have a grand piano inside me… a grand piano would be bad enough but this one happens to be made out of glass.”

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Review: The Punchdrunk Encylopaedia by Josephine Machon

Published in The TLS April 16, 2019

It’s no exaggeration to claim that Felix Barrett’s theatre company Punchdrunk has changed British theatre. Founded in 2000, Punchdrunk pioneered, and came to define, immersive theatre: where members of an audience roam around a found space itself rich in atmosphere and meaning, with non-linear narrative conveyed through dance, sound, lighting, audience interaction and hyper- detailed, installation-style design. The company created a version of small-town America inspired by David Lynch and Edward Hopper inside an abandoned Wapping warehouse for Faust (2006), and built a forest inside a vast disused factory in south London for The Firebird Ball (2005). Josephine Machon’s encyclopedia, including substantial contributions from many Punchdrunk key players, is a thorough account of the company’s eighteen-year history – though a few developments are skirted over in this fascinating, and at times irksome, guide to their practice.

Subscribers can read the full review here.