Review: Leaving – Northern Stage, Newcastle

First published in The Times, Friday March 3 2017

Three Stars

This new immersive piece from Paddy Campbell isn’t so much a play as an impressive marshalling of research and investigation. Produced by Curious Monkey in association with Northern Stage, the script is built exclusively upon verbatim accounts from young people embarking on life outside of care, and professionals who have worked in and around the care system in the northeast. The resulting show is compelling – often grimly so – even if at times it does highlight the drawbacks of the first-person approach.

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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.

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Review: The Savage – Live Theatre, Newcastle

First published in The Times, Friday July 8 2016

Four Stars

As Mary Shelley would testify were she here today, some fictional ideas are so strong that they take on a life of their own that even their creator can’t control. A case in point is David Almond’s story, The Savage. Initially conceived as a short monologue for television, the poignant tale of a teenage boy grieving for his dead father kept tugging at its author’s sleeve, demanding that he expand the original idea, first into a novel, and now into a compelling piece of drama.

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