Tag Archives: Clapham Fringe

The Enemies – 3 Stars


The Enemies

Bread & Roses Theatre

Reviewed – 14th October 2018


“offers little artistic innovation but provides plenty of food-for-thought”


The continuation of Clapham Fringe Festival sees director, Laura Dorn stage a devised adaptation of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People. Uncannily appearing amidst a week of climate change revelations, The Enemies surrounds the alarming discovery of a plastic factory employee and researcher, Laura (Laura Vivio), prior to a company presentation to the townspeople. The question of whether the factory should halt its plastic production brings a tense debate between Laura and her fellow employee and sister, El (Eleanor Neylon). Johnny (Jonathan Parr) comically attempts to act as a moderator between the sisters while managing the press.

The play undoubtedly captures the essence of Ibsen as the audience find themselves privy to a conversation on entering. Slightly mismatched is the acting style of both El and Johnny, whose tendencies to overact, particularly in the opening sequence, give the impression of a non-naturalistic piece that perhaps ventures towards commedia dell’arte with stock characters. Nonetheless, the issues of business interest versus public health that are dealt with, demonstrate a strong grasp of the themes of Ibsen’s original work and a promising narrative to develop.

The apparent lack of direction at the beginning of this piece makes for a slow start. Featuring extensive dialogue that is characteristic of Ibsen plays, the long monologues that owe to the dramatic style unfortunately seem under-rehearsed. False starts and stumbles in the delivery of lines from all of the cast prevent the audience from willingly suspending their disbelief as they watch the actors visibly attempt to memorise lines.

A lack of attention to the set design in this piece contributes to its amateur feel. Ironically contrasting the highly detailed sets that Ibsen’s plays are renowned for, a prop, draped with black bin bags hangs from the wall. Some thought into how this could be integrated into the set before it finds use in the climax of the piece would prevent this from standing out unnecessarily. The scenery is equally baffling, consisting of a sofa and table dressed in plastic sheets. Perhaps a very literal interpretation of how an office in a plastic factory may look, this makes it hard to grasp where the action is taking place and blurs the boundary between what is public and private discussion.

The Enemies offers little artistic innovation but provides plenty of food-for-thought. The impactful message that concludes the play draws attention to the well-researched facts and figures it aims to convey. Revisiting Ibsen’s 19th century ponderings on the monopoly of truth, exposing hypocrisy and the voice of the masses, The Enemies is an exciting play to be developed in today’s cultural climate.


Reviewed by Beth Partington

Photography by Paul Collins


The Enemies

Bread & Roses Theatre as part of Clapham Fringe



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Like Lions


Like Lions

Bread & Roses Theatre

Reviewed – 12th October 2018


“an incredibly tranquil yet provocative performance”


It seems nowadays the term ‘millennial’ has become synonymous with whinging about not being able to afford an avocado on toast or having uninformed political opinions. As our current political climate is so intense and unpredictable, the younger generation, are seemingly struggling to find a space for constructive discussion and turn to the deafening pools of Twitter and Facebook monologues. Whilst there is most certainly a current trend in theatre for showcasing the anxieties of younger people, it is almost always not coming from the generation themselves. Pregnant Fish Theatre took it upon themselves to create a narrative predominantly constructed through the thoughts and opinions of 25-34 year olds in a long series of workshops. The intention behind these was to allow the participants a space to ‘share their hopes, fears, and thoughts about the future of society.’

As part of the Clapham Fringe, Like Lions, follows the story of twins Jacob and Sam who follow along the conveyer belt of education ending up at university fulfilling one societal expectation after another. Jacob drops out after one year, whilst his sister eventually graduates, both ending up in similar positions of endless job-hunting and a desire to find a purpose. The story follows how their parallel predicaments help them strive towards a greater goal, whilst wading through the complexities of young adulthood in this current socio-political climate.

Written and directed by Tom Drayton, Like Lions gives a fresh perspective on the plethora of issues facing young people today. It demands to be taken seriously, in a time when often the derogatory use of the term ‘millennials’ deems the valid concerns of young people as simply moaning about non-issues. It is a powerful piece carrying a lot of gravitas that is cleverly delivered in a gentle style, with many scenes being accompanied by almost meditative soundscapes (The Dagen-Smiths). Whilst at the beginning of the performance it was a little difficult to follow the various narratives at play, this was slowly eradicated through the inviting performances from both Faye Carmichael and James Glyn. All of this combined allowed for an incredibly tranquil yet provocative performance, in all the right ways.

Like Lions paves the way for a new kind of storytelling which will hopefully engage wider audiences in the future, particularly those who are not keen theatre-goers.


Reviewed by Claire Minnitt


Clapham Fringe 2018

The Gap

Bread & Roses Theatre



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