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Mar 14th

The Play That Goes Wrong - Milton Keynes Theatre

By Louise Winter

Reviewed by Louise Winter 13th March 2017

 TPTG Helen Murray

Image copyright Helen Murray

This very silly, very exhausting, highly physical play from the "Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society" is a result of their attempt at putting on of a 1920's whodunnit 'Murder at Haversham Manor'.

As the audience takes their seats, stagehands Trevor and Annie are pottering about trying to fix parts of the set and with things already going wrong a member of the audience is dragged up to 'help out'. Gradually becoming aware of the antics on stage, the audience starts laughing away and it is clear what sort of daft events and are going to unfold. Even before the play-within-a-play has started the stage is well and truly set for disaster!

TPTGW Helen Murray 

image copyright Helen Murray

Once the pompous director of Cornley Poly, playing lead Inspector Carter has formally introduced the play, gaining plenty of laughs along the way, we hit the ground running so to speak; this play starts as it means to go on and everything that can go wrong does so from the outset. There's no lead into the chaos of the show gradually falling apart, but instead it doees so from the first minute: forgotton lines, missed cues, collapsing scenery, misplaced or broken props, injured actors and so on. There is not a moment's pause and starting at such a high point means that by the end it is positively manic.  From the start it is bedlam and whilst some of the audience loved this descent into slapstick and disaster from the start, barely able to breathe through their guffawing hysterics, others seemed to regard it as all a bit too much too soon. If highly farcical comedies such as Fawlty Towers are considered (and director Bean incorporates some of Basil's traits and responses), or Noises Off for example, the extreme physicality and damage done to characters along with the ridiculousness of some of the scenes was made more so by the subtlety and 'normality' of other aspects. This balance seems to be lacking here. Regardless of individual taste this is a very enjoyable multi-award winning show! 

TPTGW Helen Murray

image copyright Helen Murray

Harry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shield wrote this play when they were all working in uninspiring, poorly paid employment and then performing at night. A dedicated trio who hit the jackpot with this and such is its appeal to a wide audience I can't see that it will ever going to stop touring. Milton Keynes is dealing with a sell-out show here and literally had only a couple of seats left so you may have to go out of town to see it.

I have never heard an audience laugh so much and with such abandon. Members of the cast cannot be singled out for praise. This is an ensemble piece, they are all incredible in their commitment and their energy. All deserve the highest accolades, I hope they are on danger money such is the potential for ‘real’ injuries!

The Play That Goes Wrong is at MK Theatre until Saturday 18th March

Box Office: 0844 871 7652 (bkg fee)

Groups Hotline: 01908 547609

Access Booking: 0844 872 7677

Online Booking: (bkg fee)


Mar 14th

Swan Lake - Vienna Festival Ballet

By Kate Braxton

Tchaikovsky’s extraordinary score is so symphonic and dramatically charged, I find it impossible to tire of a Swan Lake experience. And the opening night of Vienna Festival Ballet’s production at Theatre Royal Windsor this week has managed to capture my imagination anew.

If anything, it was a slightly tentative and uncommitted beginning to this opening performance, which I believe was due to limitations of the theatre space, and perhaps not enough leg room for rehearsal. However, it is also a refreshing reminder of how grand an oeuvre this is, and how broad a global stage it has earned.

The corps from the Austrian ballet company, founded and artistically directed by Peter Mallek, last performed here in November with a beautifully right-sized production of Snow White. So it was enjoyable to watch the principle dancers return in quite contrasting roles.

The story centres around Prince Siegfried (Dean Rushton) who falls in love with Odette (Rachel Victoria Hernon), yet she has been transformed into a swan by the evil magician, Baron Rothbart (David Gutiérrez Robles). In order to regain her womanly status, a man must proclaim his undying love for her. Hernon’s delicate characterisation and exquisite sense of self is consistently eye-catching throughout the show. Rushton has the long-backed elegance to captivate the audience, yet disappointingly fails to visually express any identifiable emotion when they are in his hold. Robles, on the other hand, appears to grin from start to finish, with all the wonderment of a child whose stabilisers have just been removed.

Calculated mistaken identity threatens to thwart the happy ending, when Rothbart tricks Siegfried by presenting his daughter - a mirror-image of Odette- before him at the Prince’s betrothal party, where he must choose a wife. The wrong woman is courted, Odette appears, their love endures the curse and Rothbart dies.

The most enjoyable performance comes from Ashley Selfe’s natty little Jester, who springs about stage with popping personality, while the moonlit lake scene at the end of Act 1 is lit and choreographed into a deserving 'hero sequence' of the show.

Act 2 has a raised energy, and the Mallek mastery blends the production elements into a more characteristically cohesive Vienna Festival Ballet work.


Swan Lake is running at Theatre Royal Windsor from Monday 13th – Saturday 18th March 2017.

For tickets and information, see


Mar 10th

"Let the audience decide!" La bohème at the Malvern Festival Theatre

By G.D. Mills



Based on Henri Murger’s novel La Vie de Bohème (1851), La bohème is one of the most performed operas ever written. Giacomo Puccini’s life as an impoverished young student in Milan must surely have provided a source of inspiration here even if, later in life, he could be found in his Tuscany villa feasting off the fruits of his musical success.

Act 1 finds us in the company of a quartet of roistering bohemians (a writer, a painter, a philosopher and a musician) in a perishing Parisian garret on Christmas Eve. It only requires three of them to leave the writer, Rodolfo, alone, and for a chance encounter with neightbour Mimi, a beautiful young seamstress, to set the plot going.

The opera is neatly divided into four acts and, stripped to its bare essentials, unfolds thusly - Act 1 finds them falling in love. Act 2 witnesses them enjoying their love for each other, their backdrop the bustling streets of Paris. Act 3 discovers Mimi afflicted by TB. As the snow falls their relationship disintegrates. Act 4 drops us back into the garret with Mimi at death’s door. In her dying moments she clings to Rodolfo and recalls love’s ecstasy.

Driven by the much feted one-woman industry that is Ellen Kent, who has been producing opera and ballet for over twenty five years, this production delivers musically and visually. There is something pleasingly childlike in the three sets: the first an impressionist, pastel portrayal of a Nineteenth Century Paris yawning out towards the horizon; the second a convivial street scene set alight by humanity; the third a startling vision of Paris besieged by snow. The fourth act brings us back to the cramped, impecunious quarters of the soon-to-be bereaved.

There is a warmth and comedy to the stage action even if, at times, it lacks spontaneity. Iurie Gisca offers us a striking and bold baritone, Vitalii Liskovetsjyi charms with a friendly tenor but the show must go to Alyona Kistenyova, whose willowy frame somehow yields a sensual soprano both seductive and sad.

When Puccini discovered that his contemporary, Ruggiero Leoncavallo, was also modeling his opera on Murger’s novel, a public quarrel broke out between them. Both claimed to have priority’, both insisted on precedence. Let him compose. I will compose. The audience will decide,” Puccini eventually declared.

And, as history tells us, they did.




Mar 10th

Summer Season at the Battersea Arts Centre

By Carolin Kopplin


This summer Theatre Ad Infinitum, Forced Entertainment and Little Bulb Theatre return to the Battersea Arts Centre. The BAC has commissioned Scratch performances for their Courtyard space to create a new programme for open-air theatre. Furthermore, the BAC is hosting Edinburgh previews.                    


Light | Theatre Ad Infinitum | 31 May – 17 June

Style-switching mavens Theatre Ad Infinitum bring back their wordless Orwellian thriller, Light, following two sold-out runs in 2016. A nightmarish tale of love, betrayal and technological power, Light is a sci-fi thriller accompanied by a pulsating soundtrack and lit solely by LED strip and torchlight.

Dirty Work (The Late Shift) | Forced Entertainment | 27 June – 1 July
Ibsen Award-winners Forced Entertainment return to their London home to reinvent Dirty Work, a performance first created nearly two decades ago. The UK premiere of Dirty Work (The Late Shift) draws the audience into imaginary performances dreamt up by two figures on a stage. With an imaginary cast of thousands, no event is too large and no image unstageable for this extraordinary performance.

Extravaganza Macabre | Little Bulb Theatre | 4 – 29 July

Having delighted audiences under summer skies last summer, Little Bulb Theatre return for four weeks in July to Battersea Arts Centre’s unique 75m2 Courtyard theatre and activity space. This mischievous musical melodrama follows two passionate lovers separated by a freak storm, their fate in the clutches of a scheming villain set on keeping them apart forever. Lashings of drink and picnic fayre complete the festive experience.

London Stories: Made by Migrants film screening | Date TBC during Refugee Week (19 – 25 June)

Battersea Arts Centre is adding to its portfolio of digital projects, including BBC Arts and Arts Council England partnerships Live From Television Centre and the ongoing Performance Live strand, with a film released for Refugee Week.  Capturing a range of personal stories told by people who moved to London from elsewhere in the UK or from overseas, the film made by Fettis Films documents the acclaimed London Stories: Made by Migrant festival held in November 2016. These film screenings are raising money for Universal Language, a project developed as part of The Agency that combines football and learning for young people with English as a second language. Tickets go on sale 1 April.


Edinburgh Comedy Previews | 10 – 22 July 
Battersea Arts Centre is revving up for another riotous summer of big name comics and bright new talents as the Edinburgh Comedy Previewsgive London audiences a sneak peek of what’s to come on this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Sara Pascoe, John Kearns and Nish Kumar air fresh material alongside stars of tomorrow’s comedy circuit. 

Further information:

Mar 9th

You're Human Like the Rest of Them

By Carolin Kopplin

Sarah Berger 2.jpg

Wife (Sarah Berger) in Not Counting the Savages

Sometimes I feel like a spectator of my own life - outside. 

In a production commissioned by the Finborough Theatre, You’re Human Like the Rest of Them, an evening of three short plays by the experimental novelist, poet, playwright and film producer B. S. Johnson, are staged together for the first time. 

Spanning ten years of Johnson’s short yet prolific career, the production features revivals of Johnson’s short plays You’re Human Like the Rest of Them and Down Red Lane, and the world stage premiere of Not Counting the Savages, all dating back to the early 1970s. This is a rare opportunity to see the work of this undeservedly forgotten author and one of the most irreverent and subversive writers in post-war Britain.  

Not Counting the Savages was originally produced as a teleplay directed by Mike Newell and starring Brenda Bruce as part of the BBC’s Thirty Minute Theatre season in 1972. A middle-aged lady (Sarah Berger) returns traumatised from visiting her son's grave after an encounter with a flasher. She expects her family to support her but her husband (Brian Deacon) couldn't be more indifferent: "You've seen one before". Instead he begins to talk about his experiences in the Soviet Union - where he has never been. Daughter Rosa (Emma Paetz) shows a little sympathy but accuses her mother of overreacting and instead uses the opportunity to criticize her father's despicable behaviour. Son Jerry (Bertie Taylor-Smith) wants to hear all the sordid details of the story as he might need them for his soft porn films. This is all very amusing until the victim of this outrage screams: "I want him hanged!"which silences her offspring but leaves her husband untroubled as he continues eating his dinner.     

Reginald Edwards and Alex Griffin-Griffiths.jpg

Diner (Reginald Edwards) and Belly (Alex Griffin-Griffiths)

Down Red Lane was Johnson’s final work written before his untimely death at the age of 40. Possibly an inspiration for an episode of Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life", this gastrodrama features an enormously obese man - the Diner (Reginal Edwards) - who barely makes it to his table in a posh restaurant to indulge in another luxurious meal. The Waiter (Bertie Taylor-Smith) knows what his patron desires and showers him with expensive wines, oysters and venison with juniper berries whilst the Diner's long suffering Belly (Alex Griffin-Griffiths) flinches with every bite his master takes. Finally Belly stirs up the other fed up organs and starts a revolt. A very funny and absurd play about a man who is "digging his grave with his teeth".

Emma Paetz and Reginald Edwards.jpg

Emma Paetz and Reginald Edwards

You’re Human Like the Rest of Them was Johnson's first play, originally commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1964 and later turned into an experimental short film by Johnson himself.

A young supply teacher named Haakon (Bertie Taylor-Smith) is sent to hospital with a back complaint and finds himself being lectured in back care by the therapist (Sarah Berger) alongside a group of octogenerians. Haakon wants to know why the spine was not designed for bending down but the therapist has no answer. Upset, Haakon returns to his own classroom and asks his pupils to explain the meaning of life as his own beliefs have been irreversibly shattered.

Carla Kingham's direction is fast-paced and exact. There are only short interruptions between the plays to move the few props. The stage design by Rüta Irbite consists of a few geometrical shapes scattered across the stage with the set pieces of the main production in the background. 

The cast find the correct balance to make their characters believable in this highly absurd and stylised play. Sarah Berger is touching as the lonely wife, Alex Griffin-Griffiths and Reginald Edwards are hilarious as the Belly and its gluttonous owner. Bertie Taylor-Smith convinces as the smug son and the perfect waiter who seems to move on rails as he swiftly caters to the Diner's every whim.

A rare opportunity to see some of B. S. Johnson's sadly neglected plays.

Until 21st March 2017

Finborough Theatre

118 Finborough Road, London SW10 9ED

Telephone 020 7244 7439

Running time: 70 minutes without an interval

The run will be accompanied by the FINBOROUGHFORUM, a series of informal post-show discussions and debates, on Monday evenings: 13 and 20 March. All events are free to ticketholders for that evening's performance of the play. FINBOROUGHFORUM events will all be Twitter friendly with live tweets from @FinboroughForum. Using the hashtag #finfor, the speakers will also answer questions posed on Twitter so everyone can be included, no matter where they are in the world. Speakers will be announced shortly. 

Images by Matthew Foster.

Mar 9th

The Play That Goes Wrong at Theatre Royal, Glasgow

By Cameron Lowe




There are many famous stories of things going wrong in theatrical productions; Lawrence Olivier's very first professional performance started badly when he tripped through a door frame on his very first entrance. John Barrymore - drunk and rambling through a performance - forgot his line and staggered to the wings to ask the prompt "What's the line?". The prompt (obviously having had enough of Mr Barrymore's adlibbing and drunken behaviour) quickly responded with "what's the play?".


Mischief Theatre have realised how much everyone enjoys to see these little "mishaps" and have created a hilarious show that throws in as many theatrical calamities as you can imagine!


Featuring a show within a show, The Play That Goes Wrong tells the story of Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society's production of Murder At Haversham Manor. This looks like a classic murder mystery, but before the show even starts there seems to be a problem. Seeing the stage manager in the audience looking for their lost dog and the technician looking for his lost CD is a great set up to the evening that lies ahead. With an open stage you get a chance to see the 'crew' setting up for the show with toolboxes on stage and various bits of set being repaired (including a particularly troublesome mantel piece above the fire!). If you get a chance - read the first few pages of your programme too. It has been designed to include some brilliant details from Cornley Polytechnic and gives you some insight into the onstage dynamics that adds an extra layer to the whole show.


So far, so funny, but once the actual play kicks in - the humour is ramped up even more. Some small physical gags start the show off gently and this builds with some overacting, dropped lines and missing props that set up so many funny moments throughout the show. As with Les Dawson's piano playing - you have to be very good to then cleverly be able to play 'badly' and make it interesting and funny. I could not single out one actor involved as this is very much an ensemble piece that relies on every actor playing their part exceptionally well. The timing involved in getting the physical gags/falls/effects correct and safe is no small task and the set design and stage crew play a huge part in the success of this show under the swift direction of Mark Bell.


As actors become indisposed due to injury (usually happening onstage) stage crew are flung on in their place - using the script before the pages are sent flying, leading to some brilliant comic exchanges. Wall hangings on the set start to fall creating a brilliant physical gag that garnered huge applause from the audience on more than one occasion.


This review may seem very vague, and there is very much a reason for that. Unlike many murder mysteries where you are asked to keep the secret of who committed the murder - that is the least important thing in this show - the secret I want to keep is of every brilliant moment of this play! It has so much humour and is so excellently executed that words would not do it justice. If you watched their Christmas TV production of Peter Pan Goes Wrong, then you'll have a small indication of what the writing team of Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields are about. However you should note that The Play That Goes Wrong was their first - and in this instance, the original is most definitely the best. Trust me, just take my word and buy a ticket - you can thank me later!!


The Play That Goes Wrong

Theatre Royal, Hope Street, Glasgow

Mon 6- Sat 11 March 2017

Mon-Sat Evening, 7.30pm

Thu / Sat Matinee, 2.30pm

Box Office 0844 871 7648 (bkg fee) Calls cost up to 7p per min plus phone company's access charge (bkg fee)

Mar 8th

Fantastic Mr Fox - Milton Keynes Theatre

By Louise Winter

Reviewed by Louise Winter

Fantastic Mr Fox

image credit Manuel Harlan 

This is an ‘interesting’ adaptation of Roald Dahl’s story of animals vs humans and of sharing vs greed. While Dahl’s plot is followed, enabling the younger members of the audience to stay with the action at all times, the script and some of the scenes have been radically adapted.   

Starting sweetly enough with four bluebirds, two of them rather portly, dressed in rather tiny, shiny sports shorts there is an immediate sense of the bizarre which continues throughout the evening. Singing a bright jolly welcome song one of these innocent birds is shot by an oversized rifle from the side of the stage. Suddenly we are introduced to the deliciously vile farmers Boggis, Bunce and Bean. Their introduction pulls no punches with gruesome language and lots of poultry guts on stage. The kids loved the gore and visual language. Whilst this is a kids production through and through there are hilarious moments of absolute adult humour which (thank goodness) definitely went over the heads of the younger members of the audience. Although, not in the original, stage adaptor Sam Holcroft has clearly considered that those of us accompanying the younger members of the audience need some reward!


Fantastic Mr Fox

image credit Manuel Harlan

Taking a nine year old nephew definitely enabled me to look at this production from the target audience’s perspective. I wasn’t keen on the costumes for the fox family but my nephew thought they were contemporary, creative and loved the ears. I thought that perhaps there was slightly too much of the story set to music and this might detract from the action but my nephew thought the balance was just right. Just goes to show. I’m definitely not sure about the introduction of Mrs Fox singing about Mr Fox’s misogynistic behaviour. I’m not sure it adds to the story in any way.  

Fantastic Mr Fox

image credit Manuel Harlan 


The cast are all fabulous, Greg Barnett as Mr Fox is energetic, dynamic, suitably conceited but charming. Lillie Flynn as Mrs Fox matches Barnett in the energy stakes and has the strongest and most beautiful voice. Richard Atwill, Raphael Bushay and Gruffudd Glynn as Bean, Boggis and Bunce are fabulously disgusting and very funny in their single-minded determination to flush out and kill Mr Fox. They have a great on-stage group presence. Atwill also plays Rat as a disgraceful drunk, Bushay is the rather gorgeous Badger, and Glyn is the naïve Mole. Mouse is played by Kelly Jackson in a truly sweet and delightful way. Stealing the show is Sandy Foster as Rabbit. Born to entertain, the audience giggled as soon as she came on stage and guffawed at some of her animations and lines. She brought a sense of the surreal and ridiculous into every scene and was definitely the audience’s favourite.

Fantastic Mr Fox

image credit Manuel Harlan

Credit has to go to Patrick Burbridge, Anna Fordham and Richie Hart, tas the bluebird actor-musicians who accompany the entire show with top quality live music played from high up on stage. Having the band present throughout really elevates this show.

While not a completely faithful retelling of Dahl’s story, the production is excellent, Marina Aberg’s direction is dynamic and creative, staging is visually exciting and the writing is sharp and hilarious in places. The bottom line is that while the adults in the audience were suitably entertained, the children thought it was  a great show and that is the proof of the pudding. 

Fantastic Mr Fox is at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday 11th March and then on tour

Box Office:                   0844 871 7652 (bkg fee)*  

Groups Hotline:         01908 547609  

Access Booking:       0844 871 7677 (bkg fee)*  

Online Booking:  (bkg fee)

Mar 8th

Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat

By Kate Braxton

This week, Bill Kenright’s touring production of the classic Lloyd-Webber sing-along colours the stage at Theatre Royal, Windsor with cute Geordie X Factor winner, Joe McElderry, as the eponymous biblical hero. Since everything about this show - including Joe and the score - is pretty short and sweet, so shall I be.

It’s a bold, vibrant and slick production. Immense credit goes to lighting and stage designers Nick Richings and Sean Cavanagh, whose collaboration shapes a versatile creative solution inspired by the pyramids, for a wide range of theatre houses; a handsome, smart, touring work of art.

Joe’s astonishingly pitch-perfect and true recording voice beautifully captures the honesty of the character. There’s no wild choreography to rattle his vocal cage, however he does give us an unexpected accent which may be acceptable in certain parts of Berkshire. But I like that. It injects a bit of human accessibility to the otherwise untouchably masterful voice that won him the coveted X Factor title. Nothing is left ajar by his rendition of Close Every Door to Me.

A fitting compliment to Joe’s central performance is the casting of a female narrator. Lucy Kay has a challenging part to sing, and some required screeching provides a raw, contemporary slant to the otherwise slightly unadventurous interpretation of the musical.  It has the overall feel of a necessarily wholesome matinée affair, very well done.

Lewis Asquith provides a noteable character performance as the Butler, and of the brothers, Darren Charles’ Asher is the most dynamic to watch.

Alex Stewart’s costumes are an inspired blend with the overall creative approach, although I couldn’t take my eyes off Joe’s Ugg boots. Who’d have thought it, in Canaan? And without a doubt, the closing medley enables the musical direction to shine, wrapping the show up with all the clap’n'singalongability a family could ask for. From someone who hates the show with a passion, it’s a thoroughly pleasing night out.  

Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat runs at Theatre Royal Windsor until 11th March 2017.

For information of current national tour dates, visit


Mar 8th

Sunny Afternoon, Bristol Hippodrome

By G.D. Mills

Ray Davies emerges as both genius and hero of a Sunny Afternoon, a razzle-dazzle, foot-tapping musical which traces the rise of 60s band The Kinks. There is much to admire in this kaleidoscopic production: the arresting wall-to-wall set composed entirely of speakers; excellent musicianship; a galloping narrative and of course a host of classic hits which, thanks to Joe Penhall, emerge seamlessly from the drama at narratively opportune moments.

Numbers like Waterloo Sunset, You Really Got Me, Dedicated Follower of Fashion, Lola and Sunny Afternoon are themselves so full of character and story that they would be enough in themselves to sustain our attention. The wider drama, by contrast, seems a little too cliché ridden. We have the inevitable internal quarreling as well as all the familiar figures in the rock n’ roll rags to riches story: the Machiavellian money men, the sex crazed nymphets; the salt of the earth, working class parents, and so on. Not that they aren’t all entertaining, and deftly rendered, in a larger-than-life, comic sort of way. Lisa Wright is stand-out as Rasa, Ray Davies’ plaintive, stay-at-home wife, and Mark Newnham raises consistent laughter as Ray’s infantile, cross-dressing brother.

But the music. Oh yes, that music. Ray Davies has produced 14 top ten international hits: richly melodic and poetically nuanced, they are an established part of our cultural landscape. Sunny Afternoon is a very successful, paint-by-numbers musical, but the quality of that music takes it to a whole new level.

See it on tour. Visit the website here.

Mar 4th

I'm Gonna Pray For You So Hard at the Finborough Theatre

By Carolin Kopplin


David (Adrian Lukis) and his daughter Ella (Jill Winternitz)

 If I don't make it, will you still love me?

Being the child of a star is hard, especially if you decide to follow in your parent's footsteps. Ella's father David is a Pulitzer prize winning playwright. Ella is an aspiring actor and tonight could be the start of a promising career.

The play begins as father and daughter are waiting for the notices of Ella's Off-Broadway production of The Seagull. Ella did not get the highly coveted role of Nina but had to be satisfied with Masha, which David finds rather irksome, blaming the obvious incompetence of the director for his idiotic casting decision. The fact that the director rejected David's latest play might add somewhat to his judgement. Drinking wine and smoking pot in his cosy West Side apartment, David shares his vast theatre experience with his daughter, indulging in a bit of critic bashing and warning her against playing it safe as an actor just to please the critics: "Be transgressive, be bewildering, be anything but safe!"

The childlike Ella, who verges on the edge of hysteria, idolises her father, hanging on his every word and encouraging him to repeat anecdotes from his life that she has probably heard many times before. David expects his daughter's love and adoration. Despite David's bravura, one wrong word or the slightest criticism can set him off to show his innate cruelty. When Ella mentions that David did not actuallly win an Oscar, only an Oscar nomination, his revenge is absolute, leaving Ella in tears.

David is proud of going his own way after being thrown out by his father for neglecting his school work. On his road to fame, David had no time for losers or any kind of weakness. People who disappointed or slighted him in any way were eradicated from his life, including his father whose letters remained unanswered until the day he died. Ella is afraid that she might lose her father's love if she does not live up to his expectations. 


Ella (Jill Winternitz) and David (Adrian Lukis)

Halley Feiffer's disturbing two-hander about the destructive relationship between a famous playwright and his daughter, is hard to watch. Jill Winternitz as Ella desperately tries to please her father in any possible way, clinging to him as if he was a life buoy saving her from drowning. She listens to his monologues with exaggerated attention, eager to delve into his cornupia of wisdom. Yet after their inevitable altercation, Ella follows her father's advice and - maybe inevitably - becomes just like him. Adrian Lukis portrays David as a harsh and unforgiving man who launches bilious and homophobic attacks on those he despises, expecting his daughter to approve of everything he says and to always, always agree with him. Any little hint of criticism leads to a vicious counterattack. He wants Ella to follow his example - and in the end she does, in every way.

Adrian Lukis and Jill Winternitz are outstanding in Jake Smith's hard-hitting production.

By Carolin Kopplin 

Until 25th March 2017

Finborough Theatre

Running time: 90 minutes with no interval

Images by Scott Rylander.