Tag Archives: Broken Silence Theatre

Voices From Home – 3.5 Stars

Voices From Home

Voices From Home

Old Red Lion Theatre

Reviewed – 12th November 2018


“a varied and engaging night of promising new writing that hosts strong performances across the board”


Featuring some of the best emerging regional writers from the South East, ‘Voices from Home’ is an evening of five short plays curated by Broken Silence Theatre.

First up is ‘Sungrazer’ by Clare Reddaway. Two sisters hold very different views. One, Annika (Eleanor Crosswell) works in a nuclear power plant, unphased by its potential dangers. The other, Inga (Emma Howarth) is watching the sky for a comet with a green tail to pass overhead. Inga is desperately trying to persuade her sister not to continue working there, but to no avail so far. The narrative arch, Annika’s process of realisation, requires more time than is lent to it by this format. An extended version of this play would also allow the nuances to be pushed and explored, both within the story and within the characters who are currently predominantly stereotypical. This is a promising narrative that needs more space to be told in a genuinely complex and in depth way.

‘M** & Women’ by Sydney Stevenson imagines a dystopian future world in which all the men but one have been eliminated. We are meeting two of the guards who stand watch over the last living man. It is an interesting and topical premise, but ultimately is not sufficiently investigated. The complexities are not really found and it all feels a bit obvious. However the relationship between the two soldiers is built and developed in a really lovely way, and their rapport and sense of humour works really well.

Jo Gatford’s ‘Flying Ant Day’ is a moving picture of a struggling mother as she feels herself disappearing to the world. This is a much needed perspective cleverly interwoven with the story of a spider which she is keeping in the airing cupboard as it waits to give birth. The piece is occasionally a bit heavy handed and unfocused, but both performers (Jennifer Oliver and Emmie Spencer) are strong and engaging, carrying this promising piece of writing.

‘The Cromer Special’ is sharp, funny and the most successful piece of the night as a whole. Claudia Campbell as Maggie and Abbi Douetil as Lucy have a natural and genuine rapport onstage that makes for highly convincing performances from both of them. Their comic timing is perfect, and whilst this is, on the surface a comedy piece, this is also a play that is making poignant comments about class, education and youth.

To end the night is a monologue written by Olivia Rosenthall and performed by Isobel Eadie, entitled ‘Home Time’. What begins as a familiar account of the discomfort of the daily evening rush hour, becomes an even less comfortable account of sexual harassment on the tube. Whilst the opening mundanity lasts a little too long to remain engaging, the switch into what the monologue is really about is highly effective and very impactful, and Eadie’s performance is strong and convincing.

Voices From Home is a varied and engaging night of promising new writing that hosts strong performances across the board.


Reviewed by Amelia Brown


Voices From Home

Old Red Lion Theatre


Previously reviewed at this venue:
Nightmares in Progress | ★★★½ | January 2018
Tiny Dynamite | ★★★★ | January 2018
Really Want to Hurt me | ★★★★ | February 2018
The Moor | ★★★★ | February 2018
Shanter | ★★★ | March 2018
Plastic | ★★★★★ | April 2018
In the Shadow of the Mountain | ★★ | May 2018
Tales from the Phantasmagoria | ★★★ | May 2018
I am of Ireland | ★★★ | June 2018
Lamplighters | ★★★★ | July 2018
Welcome Home | ★★★ | August 2018
Hear me Howl | ★★★★ | September 2018
That Girl | ★★★ | September 2018
Hedgehogs & Porcupines | ★★★ | October 2018
Phantasmagorical | ★★★ | October 2018
The Agency | ★★ | October 2018
Indebted to Chance | ★★★★ | November 2018


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That Girl – 3 Stars


That Girl

Old Red Lion Theatre

Reviewed – 5th September 2018


“The actors are engaging to watch, but That Girl’s overall concept could do with some development”


For anyone who grew up in the 90s, the film Madeline should be a familiar one. Its star, Hatty Jones, was thrust into the limelight at ten years old. Now approaching thirty, Hatty has written That Girl, inspired by her experiences as a child actor and how this has impacted her adult life. Fundamentally, it’s a play exploring female friendships, modern life as a twenty-something year old and letting go of youth.

As Hatty herself has noted, she wanted to create a world that is “not hers, but could have been”. The play opens with a scene involving Hatty (played by Hatty Jones herself) in an interaction with a colleague who is adamant she knows her from somewhere, but can’t figure out where. This opening, clearly based on situations Hatty has no doubt found herself in on numerous occasions, is entertaining and sets the play up well.

That Girl’s main strengths lie in its relatable themes and scenarios. Following the opening scene, we are introduced to one of Hatty’s housemates, Poppy (Alex Reynolds), as the two young women prepare to move out of the flat they share. Their friendship is explored well in their exchanges of dialogue. From the fun they clearly have together, sharing a Turkish takeaway every Friday and joking around, to the jealousy that can also come from comparing your life to that of your friends. The latter comes to light when Poppy’s new boyfriend appears on the scene and her priorities shift.

Online dating is explored when Hatty goes for a drink in a local pub with someone she met on Tinder. This scene will most likely resonate best with those more familiar with online dating, but anyone who has been in similar uncomfortable, somewhat awkward, situations should be able to empathise as well as laugh along.

The actors are engaging to watch, but That Girl’s overall concept could do with some development. It sometimes just feels as though we are watching quite a self-obsessed girl, clinging on to her childhood of fame. This is mainly apparent during a scene where Hatty sits in the dark watching a scene from Madeline and mouthing the dialogue, as well as when she’s chatting to Poppy’s boyfriend (Will Adolphy) and appears, at times, to be showing off about her childhood experiences. Is it a coping mechanism? Is it because she can’t let go of her past? Or is she just a bit narcissistic? These are questions the audience is left with quite frequently.

Directed by Tim Cook, That Girl deals with universal themes and benefits from good performances, but I was left not quite knowing what its overall concept or aim was supposed to be by the end. The play shows promise, though, and it would be interesting to see a revised or developed version, if one ever materialised.


Reviewed by Emily K Neal


That Girl

Old Red Lion Theatre until 15th September



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