Tag Archives: Clare Perkins

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


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Review of Daisy Pulls it Off – 4 Stars


Daisy Pulls it Off

Park Theatre

Reviewed – 8th December 2017


“filled to the brim with fun, frolics and is ideal for adults and children alike. Truly spiffing!”


Written by Denise Deegan in 1980, Daisy Pulls It Off follows Daisy Meredith as she becomes the first scholarship student to attend the prestigious Grangewood School for Girls. In this parody of 1920s schoolgirl novels, Daisy must overcome prejudice and snobbery from some of her wealthier peers in a bid to uncover missing treasure and save her new school.


The cast is made up of seven diverse adult actors who, as well as playing the schoolgirls, take on other roles such as school teachers and Daisy’s mother. The exceptions to this are Anna Shaffer (Daisy) and Pauline McLynn (Daisy’s newfound best friend, Trixie), who play the same roles throughout.

In terms of comic timing, the entire cast are spot on and deliver the witty script to almost constant laughter from the audience. This does mean the occasional word is lost, but it does not affect the overall delivery or understanding of the piece. Those actors who portray multiple characters do so very well, with effective physical and vocal differences delivered. Lucy Eaton (Alice/Miss Gibson) and Freddie Hutchins (Belinda/Mr Scoblowski) particularly stand out in the portrayal of their contrasting characters.

The set is basic, consisting of a black and white chalkboard-style theme and wooden chairs. However, as the schoolgirls flock the stage in their brightly coloured pinafores, the focus is immediately on them. The contrast between their colourful costumes and the lack of colour in the set works well visually. Another element that works effectively is the fact the cast move the set, consisting of wooden chairs, chalkboards and a wooden staircase, on and off stage themselves, whilst in character. This allows for minimal distraction, whilst allowing the production to flow well.

If you’re after some entertainment this festive season, look no further than Daisy Pulls It Off. Director Paulette Randall’s production is filled to the brim with fun, frolics and is ideal for adults and children alike. Truly spiffing!


Reviewed by Emily K Neal

Photography by Tomas Turpie


Daisy Pulls it Off

is at the Park Theatre until 13th January 2017



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