Tag Archives: Clare Lawrence-Moody

Mrs Dalloway – 4 Stars


Mrs Dalloway

Arcola Theatre

Reviewed – 1st October 2018


“a creative and sophisticated production”


Hal Coase’s adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s ‘Mrs Dalloway’ opens with a meta-theatrical “pre-amble” as Emma D’Arcy and Clare Lawrence Moody tell us where they live in London and when they first read ‘Mrs Dalloway’. It is a bold and exciting beginning that plays with form, just as Woolf does.

It is the story many know so well, of course. Across a single day in London in 1923, Clarissa Dalloway (Clare Perkins) is getting ready for a party, a party that she will be hosting tonight. At the same time, Septimus Warren Smith, a veteran of the First World War is struggling desperately to separate fantasy and reality, and is looking for help amongst the very people who will later be Clarissa’s guests. It is no easy feat to adapt, but Coase has done a brilliant job, and under Thomas Bailey’s highly capable direction, moments of internal thought and external conversation are wittily punctuated and communicated.

As well as performing in the piece, D’Arcy is the joint artistic director of theatre company Forward Arena and is responsible for the design of all their productions to date. For Mrs Dalloway, this is simple, aesthetic and sophisticated. A blue patch of sky on the back wall is later joined by another patch of sunset. Cream costumes blend into a curtain. Portable cassette players create the bustling sound of London, an overlapping soundscape of people. Bailey creates the party scene with a row of microphones, a cramped panel setup that is highly evocative. Occasional nods to modernity in the form of an iPhone and an Oyster card could work, but stand alone as they are, they feel lacklustre.

The production boasts some wonderful performances. Moody is particularly good. She has a liveliness and a playful energy that she brings to each role in turn. Guy Rhys as Septimus lacks depth and is unfortunately unconvincing meaning the emotional impact of his plight has limited effect. He is, however, the only weak link in an otherwise strong cast.

This is a creative and sophisticated production on all fronts, well crafted and beautifully delivered.


Reviewed by Amelia Brown

Photography by Ollie Grove


Mrs Dalloway

Arcola Theatre until 20th October


Previously reviewed at this venue:
Heretic Voices | ★★★★ | January 2018
Fine & Dandy | ★★★★★ | February 2018
The Daughter-in-Law | ★★★★ | May 2018
The Parade | ★★★ | May 2018
The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives | ★★★★★ | June 2018
The Rape of Lucretia | ★★★★ | July 2018
Elephant Steps | ★★★★ | August 2018
Greek | ★★★★ | August 2018


Click here to see more of our latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com





Theatre 503

Opening Night – 5 June 2017




A funny and moving play about a young man’s first sexual experience


Sarah Page is an award winning writer whose new play Punts gets a run at the welcoming and comfortable Theatre 503 in Battersea.

In this modern and edgy production she looks at decisions made by parents of 25 year old man with learning difficulties, Julia/Kitty – a sex worker they bring into his life and the various issues that are born out of that introduction. What we see is both funny, insightful and ultimately heart warming.

To assist her writing Sarah interviewed a number of sex workers from all walks of life including some whose annual income was higher than that of a Prime Minister. All had at some point worked with clients with disabilities.

Christopher Adams and Florence Roberts

The action is set in a West London home shared by Alistair, a barrister, his wife Antonia and their son Jack. It is clear from the opening scenes that Antonia is a caring mother; keen to ensure her son is perfectly ready for his first sexual encounter with Julia, chosen after careful research having read hundreds of reviews on ‘Punter-net’. Their exchange is both touching and extremely funny.

Jack has friends at the local rugby club and it seems their main focus of discussion is that of their sexual encounters. He is on the periphery of this talk and he is yet to lose his virginity. For months he thought he was in love with a Lloyds Bank cashier because she winked at him.

The initial meeting of all four characters is uncomfortable and the dialogue are mainly one line responses which did leave the observer to feel that conversations and development of the characters at times seemed quite stilted. There was one part of the play when Antonia and Julia discussed in detail their roles and how they felt about it. We learned a lot for this change of direction in the writing.

We learn much about the characters as all is not what it initially seems and the story of each develops as the events progress.

Christopher Adams plays Jack brilliantly. He is totally believable as a young man with learning difficulties and much can be earned from his character. Florence Roberts takes on her role with confidence though we see more of her acting abilities when she tells more of her real life as Julia, a care worker who supplements her income working as of ‘Kitty’. Clare Lawrence-Moody and Graham O’Mara play the worried yet devoted parents well. 

Designer Amelia Jane Hankin has made the most of a small workspace with a minimalist set which Lighting and Sound Designers Dan Saggars and Owen Crouch bring to life with vibrant lighting and thumping sound.

Overall this is a play that looks at some delicate issues with care, insightfulness and humour. If the enthusiastic audience reaction was anything to go by Sarah Page has delivered another well thought of piece of work.


Production photography courtesy of Claudia Marinaro


Punts is a Kuleshov Theatre production running at the Theatre 503 at The Latchmere, 503 Battersea Park Road, London SW11 3BW 503 with matinee, parent & baby friendly and relaxed performances until Saturday 24th June.