Tag Archives: Craig Edgley

Bed Peace: The Battle of Yohn and Joko 

Cockpit Theatre

Bed Peace

Bed Peace: The Battle of Yohn and Joko

Cockpit Theatre

Reviewed – 3rd April 2019



“the cast and crew clearly work hard both to entertain and deliver a message, unfortunately the story founders in a couple of areas”


Everyone has heard of The Beatles and most everyone has heard of John Lennon, but whilst John and Yoko may be known generally for their peace campaigns, and for a couple of very strange music collaborations, the details of their story are certainly lesser known. Presumably, ‘Bed Peace: The Battle of Yohn & Joko’ seeks to put that to rights.

The narrative centres around the two weeks that John and Yoko famously held a ‘bed-in’ in a hotel suite as an experimental peace protest. This is used as a pivotal moment in developing and actioning their ideas of effective protest. A lot of agendas are thrown in to the conversation – Women’s Lib, the Vietnam War, and the Black Rights movement for example, the last put forth by Amelia (Amelia Parillon), a Black Rights activist invited to talk with John and Yoko. Parillon is easily the star of the show, particularly shining in an impassioned monologue discussing the innate privilege in being able to be kind all the time.

Craig Edgley (John) isn’t afraid to explore the more aggressive side of Lennon’s character in his struggle to overcome his ego. He succeeds in balancing likability and a short temper, and his chemistry with Jung Sun den Hollander (Yoko) nicely portrays the trial-and-error nature of their political campaigns, as well as the struggles they might have had between one another.

Rocky Rodriguez Jr has devised a very physical and energetic piece of theatre, constructing interesting ways to move around the stage – backward roles, synchronised footwork and a couple of little acrobatic moves. Abigail Screen’s design creates an intimate bedroom space, of course with all the sixties trappings – a panel of flowers hanging from the ceiling, tealights scattered everywhere, various protests signs tacked to the walls – “People For Peace’, “Make Love Not War”, “Give Peace a Chance”. And as we would expect, the soundtrack is taken care of, with big Beatles and Lennon hits throughout.

Whilst the cast and crew clearly work hard both to entertain and deliver a message, unfortunately the story founders in a couple of areas: firstly, it’s really just about John. Yoko features as an influence on his thinking, but not as an independent character. She doesn’t quite fall in to the ‘manic pixie dream girl’ category, but she’s not far off. The same can be said for the mention of the Black Rights and Women’s Lib movements – rather than being platformed, they’re just used as vehicles for John’s progression.

The second issue is that whilst there are moments of seeming honesty and grit, they are far outweighed by moments of artifice and sterile, extra-smiley portrayals of the sixties.

The show succeeds in light entertainment, and who doesn’t enjoy a bit of a Beatles sing-along, but it misses the mark a fair way in authenticity and purpose.


Reviewed by Miriam Sallon


Bed Peace: The Battle of Yohn and Joko

Cockpit Theatre until 28th April


Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
Cantata for Four Wings | | April 2018
Into the Woods | ★★★★ | May 2018
On Mother’s Day | ★★★½ | August 2018
Zeus on the Loose | ★★ | August 2018
The Distance You Have Come | ★★★★ | October 2018
Don’t You Dare! | ★★★ | November 2018
Unbelonger | ★★★½ | November 2018
L’Incoronazione Di Poppea | ★★★★ | January 2019
Mob Wife: A Mafia Comedy | ★★★ | January 2019
Cheating Death | ★★ | February 2019


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Owls – 3 Stars



Barons Court Theatre

Reviewed – 23rd July 2018


“with more careful direction, this interesting yet flawed production could have its message fully realised”


The London skyline is meant to be Anna’s last sight of the world that she wants to leave. Weighed down by depression and devoid of hope, she climbs onto a rooftop and prepares herself for the final fall. ‘Look on the bright side,’ chimes in Steve, the tactless yet well-meaning security guard who is trying to stop her, ‘at least you’re not in Syria.’

Produced as part of The Actor Awareness Festival of new writing, Owls promises to use humour to facilitate a ‘bold and unflinching’ look at mental health. Its protagonists are strangers who meet and bond in unusual circumstances, namely during Anna’s suicide attempt at Steve’s workplace. The minimalistic set – an empty stage littered with discarded rubbish – draws focus away from the external world and on to the characters’ tempestuous relationship. In its best moments, this relationship is used to tackle clichés and misconceptions surrounding mental health. Steve’s faith in “mindfulness” and talking therapy is scoffed at; their mutual lack of sympathy for each other’s problems conveys the prevalence of this attitude. Writer Jayne Woodhouse also makes some effective comments on the awkward nature of mental health discussions. Anna finds it difficult to open up, whilst Steve finds it easier to talk irreverently about politics and Candy Crush than the problem that is (quite literally) right in front of him.

Whilst the dialogue holds a lot of potential, it is not fully realised. Calum Robshaw’s direction feels heavy-handed: the lines are not given room to breathe, and as such their impact is not fully felt. David House’s performance as Steve is most impacted by this. Although his frantic delivery conveys the character’s uncertainty, it tends to overwhelm the lines. His clumsy attempts to distract Anna from her thoughts should be laugh out loud moments, but the lack of pauses mean that the jokes do not land properly. To his credit, House does grow into the role, but he would benefit from a more controlled delivery. Kate Austen’s Anna is more nuanced and believable. Austen captures her wit and humour as well as her emotional fragility, ensuring that the character does not become the cliché of the sad girl who needs to be saved. That being said her performance is a little erratic, and her character changes too suddenly without reason. The minor roles of Steve’s colleague Pavel and his estranged son Darren are taken by Craig Edgley, whose performances are funny and memorable in spite of their brief length. The three actors do well to create believable relationships between their respective characters, which sustain some of the more unbelievable moments.

Is Owls a ‘bold and unflinching’ portrayal of mental health? In a sense, yes. Woodhouse forces her audience to confront and question a situation that too often remain hidden. It is unfortunate, therefore, that the premise does not come to life as effectively as it could. Perhaps, with more careful direction, this interesting yet flawed production could have its message fully realised.


Reviewed by Harriet Corke

Photography by John Bruce



Barons Court Theatre



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