First published in The Times, Thursday April 7 2022
Ellen Wilkinson — one of the first female members of parliament — may not have the name recognition of some of her male counterparts, but her life and political career were no less eventful. As the Labour MP for Middlesbrough East from 1924-31, then Jarrow in Tyne and Wear between 1935-47, she organised and participated in the most famous of the “hunger marches” of the 1930s. She rubbed shoulders with Ernest Hemingway during the Spanish Civil War, and later served as a minister in Churchill’s wartime coalition and in the postwar Attlee government.
Continue reading “Theatre review: Red Ellen – Northern Stage, Newcastle”
First published in The Times, Wednesday November 3 2021
Jo Clifford’s translation of Life is a Dream was originally due to be staged at the Lyceum back in May 2020. In the intervening period, when at times everyday life has taken on the character of nightmare, Pedro Calderón’s classic of the Spanish Golden Age has only acquired new potency.
Continue reading “Theatre review: Life is a Dream – Lyceum, Edinburgh”
First published in The Times, Monday October 15 2018
Each instalment in Oliver Emanuel’s trilogy exploring the forgotten voices of the First World War has felt distinctive, both in focus and atmosphere. Indeed, this concluding part, Dusk, is the only one of the sequence to be staged in a traditional proscenium-arch theatre. Dawn, which reimagined the stories of three young men shot for cowardice or desertion, took place in a converted barn on a Perthshire farm, while Day, which gave voice to women munitions workers and suffragettes, premiered in a room in the city’s Station Hotel.
Continue reading “Review: The 306: Dusk – Perth Theatre”
Taking its cue from the opening lines of Shakespeare’s comedy — “If music be the food of love, play on” — musical composition and performance are at the heart of Wils Wilson’s production of Twelfth Night for the Lyceum and Bristol Old Vic. A battered grand piano is a prominent feature of Ana Inés Jabares-Pita’s country-house set and several of the performers double as musicians, including Meilyr Jones, the Welsh singer-songwriter and the composer for the show.
Continue reading “Review: Twelfth Night – Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh”
First published in The Times, Friday October 13 2017
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”