Tag Archives: Elliot Clay



Jack Studio Theatre



Jack Studio Theatre

Reviewed – 14th December 2018


“delivers on festive cheer and wholesome family entertainment”


Upon arrival, the corridor to the theatre is packed with an expectant audience, all of adult size barring one. Nonetheless there is a feeling of festive excitement. It seems no matter how suited up and cynical we become, everybody wants a little bit of magic this time of year, and a Christmas Cinderella show seems just the ticket.

Four of the five cast members begin as puppeteers for paper birds and an infant Ella, whilst Bryan Pilkington plays a benevolent and charming father. We’re introduced to Ella first as a crying bundle in a basket, then as a marionette; a clever bit of prop use sees a pair of empty boots being puppeteered about to portray Ella’s adolescence, and finally we are introduced to Molly Byrne as the fully-grown Ella.

Her father’s death is announced by the arrival of step-siblings played by Aimee Louise Bevan and Joel Black, wearing private school uniforms and punishing scowls. Bryan Pilkington transforms effortlessly on stage from kindly father to evil step-mother as he dons a haughty countenance, house coat and matching snood.

The general plot plays out as we expect, with Ella flung in to the role of lowly servant Cinderella, generally being tormented by her new and nasty family. She of course retains a twinkle in her eye and, whilst playing in the forest, she encounters the prince, as played by Charlie Bateman. Here the two bond over a shared avian passion, and Cinderella impresses with her great knowledge of bird calls rather than an innate delicacy and ladylikeness as the classic fairytale would have it, whilst Bateman’s prince is all limbs and enthusiasm, over the sullen and rebellious heir we have come to expect. Instead of glass slippers we have studded Dr. Martens, and instead of the dreaded panto audience participation, we have a pleasantly awkward chat with the prince, trying out his party banter. Most pleasing of all the production choices, though, is Ella’s stepbrother who, rather than conforming to the two-dimensional spoilt brat trope, shows some character nuance, developing a kinship with Ella and gaining her trust as a confidante. Black plays both nasty and nice equally convincingly, and though he’s let down a little by his singing, he pulls off the part very well.

Whilst it’s near impossible to avoid the syrupy sweetness of the Cinderella fairytale, the slightly bloody ending smacks a little of Roald Dahl’s take on proceedings rather than Walt Disney’s, and we enjoy a fairly ominous minor pastiche of ‘The Birds’ in serving the evil step-mother her just deserts.

Well-timed lighting and sound give the illusion of a much grander set-up than a fifty-seat pub theatre, and on the whole, the production does a lot with a little. There are some ropey vocals, and at times there’s a bit too much acting considering the intimacy of the auditorium, nonetheless, the Jack Studio Theatre delivers on festive cheer and wholesome family entertainment.


Reviewed by Miriam Sallon



Jack Studio Theatre


Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
The Golden F**king Years | ★★★ | April 2018
Kes | ★★★★★ | May 2018
The Night Alive | ★★★½ | May 2018
Stepping Out | ★★★ | June 2018
Back to Where | ★★★★ | July 2018
The White Rose | ★★★★ | July 2018
Hobson’s Choice | ★★★★ | September 2018
Dracula | ★★★½ | October 2018
Radiant Vermin | ★★★★ | November 2018
Sweet Like Chocolate Boy | ★★★★★ | November 2018


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Review of The State of Things – 4 Stars

State of Things thespyinthestalls

The State of Things

Jack Studio Theatre

Reviewed – 13th September 2017





“a vibrant and highly amusing new British musical”


Brockley Jack Studio Theatre in South East London is currently hosting the premiere of “The State of Things” by Thomas Attwood & Elliot Clay. This intimate venue is a fantastic backdrop for this vibrant and highly amusing new British musical.

The show is set in the music room of a state school that has recently been given academy status. The first scene opens with seven students coming together to practise for their upcoming GCSE performance. The characters make unlikely friends but their love and passion for music helps them to form deep bonds.

The school is functioning under an era of austerity and the students learn that music funding is being cut and they will no longer be able to continue their musical journey at the school. Their passion takes them on a campaigning journey using social media to try and influence the head and their local MP to try and reverse the decision and secure their future.

The writing is excellent – the dialogue is perfectly suited to a group of teenagers. The play offers the right mixture of humour and poignancy making the characters incredibly believable. You are quickly drawn in to the story and hope that they will succeed with their crusade.

The acting is all of a high quality with Hana Stewart giving a stand out performance as Ruth. As she battles to keep her home and school life afloat you really feel her pain and frustrations. Nell Hardy as Kat made me want to rush home and sign up for viola lessons! The actors deliver their lines with great timing and are clearly musically talented.

The lyrics by Elliot Clay (who also takes the role of Adam) are original and beautifully written particularly “Maggie” and the “State of Things”.

The play runs for 90 minutes without an interval. This could easily be extended so the characters could be further developed and given greater depth. The show is highly enjoyable and I left with a warm feeling but also felt that I wanted to know more about the individuals.


Reviewed by Angela East

Photography by Headshot Toby



is at Brockley Jack Studio Theatre until 23rd September


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