Tag Archives: Faded Ink Productions


Bread & Roses Theatre



Bread & Roses Theatre

Reviewed – 30th April 2019



“Black and Connaughton have fantastic chemistry and their conversations flow seamlessly”


Starved, a dark comedy written by and starring Michael Black and produced by Faded Ink Productions, explores the extremes that people are willing to go to when desperate. Faded Ink produce theatre that reflects working-class society and aims to represent communities and experiences that are not regularly shown in theatre and Starved is no exception.

Directed by Matt Strachan, Starved follows a young unnamed couple (Michael Black and Alana Connaughton) who are on the run for an initially unknown crime which forces them to squat in a bedsit in one of Hull’s roughest estates. They pass the time drinking, smoking and creating stories for the neighbours they can see out the window. They steal Rich Tea biscuits and Cup-a-Soup to survive, spending the little cash they do have on Glen’s Vodka.

Their relationship is highly toxic with conversations swinging from whispering sweet nothings to raging arguments in a matter of minutes. As the couple are slowly driven mad by their forced confinement, they start to consider whether it may just be easier to just face the consequences of their heinous actions.

The plot and script are strong, and a lot is packed into the short  forty five minute running time. The couple discuss all manner of topics from their favourite childhood movies to the fictional rapper MC Devvo. The play however does end rather abruptly, and the plot could have perhaps benefitted from some expansion as it would have been interesting to delve further into the couple’s past and what led them to this squat.

The set is masterfully designed. The audience sits around a small rectangular stage which is enclosed by a web of rope to reflect the couple’s entangled entrapment. It is littered with rubbish, sleeping bags, cigarettes and a chair which creates a simple yet grotty environment. A rudimentary window is fashioned out of rope on one side and a large opening on another side acts as a doorway to the rest of the couple’s squatting complex. This helps open up the stage while simultaneously keeping the space confined.

There is little done with the lighting apart from at the play’s end where the set and actors are made overwhelming bright before a cut to black. The lighting is therefore very natural and keeps the play grounded in the harsh reality of this young couple. There are also no sound effects used in the play which keeps the audience’s focus on the yo-yoing conversations of the two squatters.

Black and Connaughton have fantastic chemistry and their conversations flow seamlessly. They joke, they argue, they kiss, and it is all thoroughly believable. Despite the short running time, their relationship is well explored, and the audience can sympathise with the cognitive tension between not wanting to be alone and staying in a toxic dynamic.

Starved is a powerfully intimate insight into a working-class couple’s struggle to survive in a system stacked against them and is well worth watching.


Reviewed by Flora Doble



Bread & Roses Theatre until 11th May


Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
Richard II | ★★ | August 2018
Like Lions | ★★★★ | October 2018
Metamorphosis | ★★★★ | October 2018
Testament | ★★★★ | October 2018
The Enemies | ★★★ | October 2018
The Gap | ★★★★ | October 2018
Baby Blues | ★★★ | December 2018
A Modest Little Man | ★★★ | January 2019
Two Of A Kind | ★★★ | January 2019
Just To Sit At Her Table, Silver Hammer & Mirabilis | ★★★ | April 2019


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


In the Wake of – 3 Stars


In the Wake of

Lion & Unicorn Theatre

Reviewed – 4th August 2018


“Morris’ emotionally charged delivery of a monologue in the final scene proved to be a highlight of the entire production”


Set on a council estate in Hull, In the Wake Of is a new piece of writing by Michael Black, who also appears in the production. Black plays Jimmy, who has recently been released from prison and turns up at the house of a friend, Rob (Mickey Mason), and his girlfriend, Chelsea (Rachel Morris). It’s not long before we learn of dark secrets when past events rear their ugly head and relationships are threatened.

The acoustics of the Lion and Unicorn Theatre worked well with the production, making it almost feel as though we were in the room with the characters. This did sometimes mean that outbursts and confrontations were a bit harsh to the ears, but overall it could be said that it added to the gritty nature of the play.

Confrontational scenes were generally well played and directed (Matt Strachan), but it was sometimes a case of the energy then dropping and the pace lagging, before the next outburst. In some of these scenes, actors also occasionally had their backs to the audience, which meant we missed some of the emotion delivered by them.

All actors displayed a good level of commitment to their characters, but Rachel Morris as Chelsea stood out, particularly during the final scenes. She presented great raw emotion and was believable as someone caught up in other people’s dramas, culminating in her character doing something to create drama of her own. Morris’ emotionally charged delivery of a monologue in the final scene proved to be a highlight of the entire production.

In the Wake Of is not a play to see if you want a relaxed evening, but it’s certainly a realistic and powerful display of human emotion and the impact past events can have when they resurface.


Reviewed by Emily K Neal

Photography courtesy Faded Ink Productions



In the Wake of

Lion & Unicorn Theatre until 7th August

as part of The Camden Fringe Festival 2018



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