Review: Cockpit – Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh

First published in The Times, Friday October 13 2017

Four Stars

The promotional image for this revival of Bridget Boland’s Cockpit is a frenzied blue scribble in the middle of the map of Europe. The simple image encapsulates the impossible task – depicted in the play – of returning displaced peoples to their countries of origins in the aftermath of World War Two, yet it also speaks eloquently of the inadequacies of the nation state in 2017. Boland’s script feels so up-to-date that it inspires repeated glances at the programme notes to double check that it really does date back to 1948.

Continue reading “Review: Cockpit – Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh”

Review: Harriet Martineau Dreams of Dancing – Live Theatre, Newcastle

First published in The Times, Wednesday November 23 2016

Three Stars

The life of Harriet Martineau is eventful enough to provide material for several plays. At her peak, in the mid-19th century, the prolific writer, social commentator and proto-feminist outsold Charles Dickens. Queen Victoria was such a fan that she invited Martineau to her coronation. Given that her own mother believed that her daughters should never be seen in public with pens in their hands, Martineau’s success as a writer is all the more remarkable.

Continue reading “Review: Harriet Martineau Dreams of Dancing – Live Theatre, Newcastle”