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Trigger Warning


Camden People’s Theatre

Trigger Warning

Trigger Warning

Camden People’s Theatre

Reviewed – 24th October 2019



“has an interesting premise, but ultimately, it is a bit hit-and-miss”


The notion being ‘triggered’ is certainly a hot topic of cultural and artistic debate. ‘Trigger Warning’ tackles this head on, as audience members are guided through a minefield of possible triggers for their upcoming performance of ‘Hope’. The play is a mix of elements reminiscent of ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’ and David Attenborough’s ‘Planet Earth’, combined together in what certainly is a statement piece.

Audiences are directly addressed from the very beginning by a duo of energetic and some-what frazzled flight attendants, played by Kath Duggan and Daniel Hay-Gordon. The play itself is structured in two halves; the first consists of audiences being prepped for the story ahead called ‘Hope’ which may or may not ever take place. Warnings include that it may make us feel a certain way, including boredom and frustration. The directorial decisions by Natasha Nixon are very strong, as the performers use clowning and voice-overs to tremendous comedic effect. Duggan and Hay-Gordon’s knowing glances, elastic facial expressions and needless faffing about with failing props make for a series of guaranteed laughs. The beginning sequence is inexplicably hilarious: however, this is unfortunately short-lived.

The second section, in which the play ‘Hope’ takes place, is incredibly confusing and loses the momentum that had been set by the strong opening. Audiences are then told of the story of ‘Hope’, a young migrant who was crossing the border. The narrative is unclear as we are told to read a ‘synopsis’ that we had not been given. This is clearly ironic, but it is then followed by Duggan and Hay-Gordon staring at the audience for five minutes whilst elevator music plays. Nixon’s direction in the second half loses the sense of pace and energy created in the first twenty minutes of action. It does, however, fulfil the trigger warning given of creating feelings of boredom and frustration.

The play’s design (Lily Arnold) is striking yet satisfying. Bold pastel colours frame the stage and costumes. Sound (Owen Crouch) and lighting effects (Amy Daniels) feature very heavily throughout. In particular, we never hear Hay-Gordon’s character speak, he lip-syncs all his lines. The most exciting design element is on the audience’s entry to the space, as we see Duggan struggling to pull a huge pink carpet through what appeared to be a side window. It is a spectacle made by the illusion that the window was going directly into the street. Concepts of the space itself are reversed, as we entered through the fire exit outside the theatre and exited through the entrance. It is details like these that summarises the play’s irreverent playfulness.

This play has an interesting premise, but ultimately, it is a bit hit-and-miss. This dark comedy teeters around the edges of offence and acceptability. However, it is done so in a way that is so conceptual that it often leaves the viewer completely perplexed.


Reviewed by Emily Morris

Photography by Harry Elletson


Camden People's Theatre

Trigger Warning

Camden People’s Theatre until 9th November


Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
Asylum | ★★★ | November 2018
George | ★★★★ | March 2019
Mojave | ★★★ | April 2019
Human Jam | ★★★★ | May 2019
Hot Flushes – The Musical | ★★★ | June 2019
Form | ★★★★★ | August 2019
Muse | ★★ | August 2019
Ophelia Rewound | ★★★★ | August 2019
The Indecent Musings Of Miss Doncaster 2007 | ★★★½ | August 2019
A Haunted Existence | ★★★★ | October 2019


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Quietly – 3 Stars



Omnibus Theatre

Reviewed – 12th October 2018


“This is a play that is made by the tension built by the actors on stage – unfortunately, this tension feels very manufactured and almost hollow”


Patriotism, religion and masculinity. These are up for dissection in Owen McCafferty’s ‘Quietly’. A pub in Northern Ireland – one like any other – is the scene of two gentlemen meeting. Their lives are separate, apart from one harrowing event in history. One that neither of them can change, but can they resolve and forgive?

The script is cutting and very raw. Raw in the sense that it presents very violent and disturbing images in a forward way, so that we as an audience cannot avoid the dark part of history he is trying to explore. Lighting (Amy Daniels) is understated but elegant, shifting purposefully with moments of the play throughout. The sound design (Rachael Murray) with the incorporation of sounds from technology and the brilliant use of voice-overs as a way of telling various parts of the story, is inspired.

Overall Matt Dunphy (Robert), Paul Lloyd (Jimmy) and Nick Danan (Ian) do a decent job in presenting the text to us in a lively sort of way. This is a play that is made by the tension built by the actors on stage – unfortunately, this tension feels very manufactured and almost hollow.

What hinders the play is the rushed pacing and the lack of silences. The actors seem almost too eager to get their lines in, which caused some running over each other and some stumbles. Ultimately, this ruined the lasting effect this show could’ve had. It would be better to let this show breathe a bit, let the tension build with a few more awkward silences (there is room for plenty) and for the actors trust what has been given to them.

Direction (James O’Donnell) is lacking. Two out of three lead performances felt very simple and one-dimensional. The one that does shine is that of Dunphy who is gifted with some wonderful humour through his track. He delivers in the moments he is utilised and it’s a shame that he isn’t used more.

I’m not saying that ‘Quietly’ is a bad show, but it’s not a good show either. It is distinctly average but has the potential to be great. With a few tweaks here and there, this could be a strong piece that really packs a punch. I hope that one day it does reach its potential because the material deserves it, the story deserves it.


Reviewed by Shaun Dicks

Photography by Stephanie Claire



Omnibus Theatre until 27th October as part of the Irish Season


Also reviewed from the Irish Season:
To Have to Shoot Irishmen | ★★★★ | October 2018


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