Tag Archives: Catherine Cusack




Park Theatre

PASSING at the Park Theatre



“Under the direction of Imy Wyatt Corner, Passing delivers an impressively authentic portrayal of nuclear family dynamics”

Your twenties are a time for self-discovery. A time when the world and its opportunities feel open and endless, and it’s up to you to choose, to decide, who and how to be. It can feel like a dislocation from the rigid structure and linear progression of your childhood and teenage years, and the feeling becomes all the more acute when you look, as well as feel, apart from the ordinary.

In Dan Sareen’s new work, Passing, he explores some of these feelings, and how they manifest through Rachel Singh and her family. Rachel (Amy-Leigh Hickman) is a twenty-something living with her parents in an undisclosed, predominantly white area of England searching for identity or sense of belonging. Flung into crisis through the deterioration of her grandfather’s health, she realises that she knows or has experienced little North-Indian culture that is part of her heritage and so seeks to throw her family’s first, and perhaps her Grandfather’s final, Diwali celebration.

The play follows the Singh family and Rachel’s boyfriend Matt, along for the ride, on this day almost in real time, functioning almost as a sort of socratic dialogue between the family members, exploring what it means to be British-Indian. The play naturally cycles characters on and off stage, allowing each combination of characters to have their own in depth discussion and show the depth of their character and emotions. Each combination of characters has a moment together. All set in the Singh’s living room, the set could be any living room in middle England, all pine wood furniture, inoffensive landscape prints adorning the walls and the Steve Jobs biography in the bookcase. Under the direction of Imy Wyatt Corner, Passing delivers an impressively authentic portrayal of nuclear family dynamics, instantly familiar through their quick shifts between jibes and supportive warmth.

“an intelligently written, passionately performed work”

Yash (Bhasker Patel) is the patriarch who emigrated to the UK at six years old and is more interested in Led Zeppelin than Ravi Shankar. Ruth (Catherine Cusack) is the white British mother who just wants everyone to get along and clearly feels guilty for having deprived her children of their Indian heritage that they now desire. David (Kishore Walker) is the disaffected son who is intent on challenging his father and who says himself his only role in the family is to be flippant – receiving a few knowing laughs from the audience. Matt (Jack Flamminger) is the too sweet boyfriend going out of his way to make a good impression for his girlfriend’s parents and for Rachel herself, providing plenty of light relief.

Amy-Leigh Hickman is brash and headstrong as Rachel, the central figure of the play. However, to a degree this demeanour, which verges on petulance at times, belies her inner turmoil and confusion over who she is and how she should be in the world. As a daddy’s girl – she is eager to learn more about her father’s upbringing in India, but her dogged pursuit of the missing link between the way she is perceived by others as Indian, as ‘other’, and her own cultural touchstones which are more British than Indian, often comes at the expense of her empathy towards her mother and partner. It’s intentionally uncomfortable theatre – with the collision between generational and racial views cringe inducing at times. But it’s authentic; there’s no dramatic plot twists, no real events of note. Just the conversations between a relatively ordinary family that could be replicated 100-fold all across the country.

In trying to replicate that family gathering feeling there are some directorial choices that don’t quite land. For such a small studio theatre, the choice to have overlapping conversations at once doesn’t quite work as no one conversation predominates – all we get is hubub. Similarly playing the records Yash likes and dislikes, means it’s a strain to hear the dialogue over it.

That being said, Passing is an intelligently written, passionately performed work that fairly and in a nuanced way reflects experiences of mixed-race families in Britain today.


PASSING at the Park Theatre

Reviewed on 6th November 2023

by Amber Woodward

Photography by Matt Martin




Previously reviewed at this venue:

The Interview | ★★★ | November 2023
It’s Headed Straight Towards Us | ★★★★★ | September 2023
Sorry We Didn’t Die At Sea | ★★½ | September 2023
The Garden Of Words | ★★★ | August 2023
Bones | ★★★★ | July 2023
Paper Cut | ★★½ | June 2023
Leaves of Glass | ★★★★ | May 2023
The Beach House | ★★★ | February 2023
Winner’s Curse | ★★★★ | February 2023
The Elephant Song | ★★★★ | January 2023



Click here to read all our latest reviews


Super High Resolution

Super High Resolution


Soho Theatre




Super High Resolution

“Ellis’ text is for the most part honest and sensitive in its portrayal, highlighting the importance of seeking help”


Nathan Ellis’ new play, Super High Resolution, which follows a junior A&E doctor as she struggles to cope with the daily stressors in her professional and personal life, finds its strength in a biting wit and well-timed comedic moments. Jasmine Blackborow portrays Anna, the play’s central figure, with sharpness and dexterity. Anna is worn thin by her sister (Leah Whitaker), her demanding boss (Catherine Cusack), and a difficult patient (Hayley Carmichael), in scenes that are equal parts pacey and tense. Director Blanche McIntyre gives these scenes space to breathe, allowing humour to seep into the play’s pervasive darkness and unease.

Andrew D Edwards’ set, in conjunction with Prema Mehta’s lighting design, creates a cold and impersonal environment. In the opening stage picture, harsh neon light washes over accordions of hospital curtains, lending the impression of metal shipping containers. The stagecraft feels appropriate in light of the continual gutting of the NHS.

It is a shame then, that to me, it feels Super High Resolution misses the mark in its handling of themes of suicide and self-harm.

I want to be clear that the production got a lot of things right. Its content warnings were detailed and clear, and the resources it lists on the play’s promotional material, both for mental health services and NHS workers, are extensive (these are shown at the end of this review). Super High Resolution does not seek to romanticise suicide either, and Ellis’ text is for the most part honest and sensitive in its portrayal, highlighting the importance of seeking help. The production, however, loses sight of this sensitivity and falls out of step with Samaritans’ guidelines in its depiction of a suicide attempt onstage. Not only is the method clearly portrayed, but the scene is noticeably drawn out, and its accompanying lighting and sound design make clear that it is intended to be the play’s climax.

In my opinion, this framing crosses a line. The play would have, in all likelihood, maintained its emotional impact without an onstage depiction, or a climactic attempt altogether. In addition, the theme of suicide (and descriptions/depictions therein) seems to be buttressing a play about the gutting of the NHS and the toll it has taken on medical professionals, not the other way around.

There is obviously a spectrum of opinions on how suicide should be handled in the medium of live performance, and Super High Resolution is far from the worst offender. It is clear that Ellis, McIntyre and the rest of the production team care about the issue, and that the play does not solely seek to cash in on shock value. But the play could have, and should have, approached the issue with more caution and sensitivity.



Reviewed on 2nd November 2022

by JC Kerr

Photography by Helen Murray



Previously reviewed at this venue:


An Evening Without Kate Bush | ★★★★ | February 2022
Y’Mam | ★★★★ | May 2022
Hungry | ★★★★★ | July 2022
Oh Mother | ★★★★ | July 2022


If SUPER HIGH RESOLUTION has affected you, the following resources are available; we encourage you to make use of them.

Clicking each logo will take you to the relevant website


You can contact Samaritans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can call 116 123 (free from any phone), email [email protected] or visit some branches in person.


If you’re experiencing a mental health problem or supporting someone else, you can call SANEline on 0300 304 7000 (4.30pm–10.30pm every day)


Offers a supportive listening service to anyone with thoughts of suicide. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK on 0800 689 5652 (open 24/7)


You can call the CALM on 0800 58 58 58 (5pm–midnight every day) if you are struggling and need to talk. Or if you prefer not to speak on the phone, you could try the CALM webchat service.


If you would prefer not to talk but want some mental health support, you could text SHOUT to 85258. Shout offers a confidential 24/7 text service providing support if you are in crisis and need immediate help.


If you’re under 35 and struggling with suicidal feelings, or concerned about a young person who might be struggling, you can call Papyrus HOPELINEUK on 0800 068 4141 (weekdays 10am-10pm, weekends 2pm-10pm and bank holidays 2pm–10pm), email [email protected] or text 07786 209 697.



For NHS workers

Wellbeing support by text for health and social care staff

All NHS staff can access free support by text 24/7. Text FRONTLINE to 85258 to talk by text with a trained volunteer.

Wellbeing support by telephone for health and social care staff

NHS staff in England can call 0800 069 6222 and NHS staff in Wales can call 0800 484 0555, daily from 7am–11pm.

Counselling and trauma phone helpline

Call 0300 303 4434, free and in confidence, 8am to 8pm 7 days a week.


Practitioner Health have teamed up with SHOUT to create a confidential 24/7 text service for PH patients. If you need support after hours you can Text NHSPH to 85258.

Practitioner Health is a free, confidential NHS primary care mental health and addiction service with expertise in treating health & care professionals.










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