Tag Archives: George Turvey




Online via papatango.co.uk



Online via papatango.co.uk

Reviewed – 4th February 2021



“the model example of what a filmed theatre production should be like”


Papatango once again proved themselves fully deserving of their mighty reputation when Shook hit stages after winning the 2019 prize, with the production amassing widespread critical and audience acclaim. In place of the show’s West End transfer which had to be cancelled, it was instead filmed and will be available to watch throughout February 2021. Does the production translate well to film, though? In a word – absolutely.

Shook follows three young offenders – Jonjo (Josef Davies), Cain (Josh Finan), and Riyad (Ivan Oyik) – who are taking parenting classes from Grace (Andrea Hall) in the hope of being good fathers when they get out of incarceration. The ramifications of their murky pasts collide with their aspirations for their futures, forming a poignantly scathing critique of a system that seems more focused on punishment than potential.

It’s Samuel Bailey’s debut full-length play, but you wouldn’t be able to tell – the pacy dialogue consistently feels organic, finding light in dark places while not shying away from frankness where needed. Bailey’s script never punches down, instead ensuring that we root for and empathise with people who are otherwise so often demonised. By giving us a window into these characters’ hopes, jokes, quirks, and fears, Bailey’s script provides vital and stellar humanisation.

The actors elevate this even further. All three men deliver beautifully detailed and textured performances, adding colour and heart to more moments than could be counted. The contrast between Davies explaining the crime he committed with knife-edge tension, and the warmth he displays when playing board games with Riyad is powerful. The moments of weakness and vulnerability that Oyik and Finan pepper into their characters’ bravados are hugely impactful, and are counterpointed excellently by their comedic flairs – particularly whenever they have to demonstrate anything parenting-related in their classes, such as performing CPR or changing a nappy. The dynamic between the three totally moreish, and only gets more nuanced in scenes with Hall’s compassionate but firm Grace.

The direction serves to capture all these moments perfectly – directors George Turvey and James Bobin don’t go overboard with the filming, forgoing any fancy cinematography save for some CCTV view shots between scenes. There’s also an opening sequence of shots highlighting the extraordinary detail of Jasmine Swan’s set design, which effectively helps to establish the place and tone. Shook is maturely and respectfully filmed throughout, ensuring that the cameras are always putting the characters and their story at its centre.

Shook is the model example of what a filmed theatre production should be like – it flawlessly translates the stage experience without losing any of the magic, and there is a lot of magic on offer with this show. Shook is incisive but never preachy, opting instead to lay bare the hearts of a group of people we’re conditioned to think are heartless.


Reviewed by Ethan Doyle

Photography by The Other Richard




Online via papatango.co.uk until 28th February


Previously reviewed by Ethan:
Ryan Lane Will Be There Now In A Minute | ★★★★ | The Vaults | February 2020
Big | | Network Theatre | March 2020
Stages | ★★★½ | Network Theatre | March 2020
Songs For A New World | ★★★ | Online | July 2020
Entrée | ★★★★ | Online | September 2020
Rose | ★★ | Online | September 2020
Apollo 13: The Dark Side Of The Moon | ★★★★ | Online | October 2020
People Show 138: Last Day | ★★★★ | Online | October 2020
The Fabulist Fox Sister | ★★★★ | Online | December 2020
Cinderella | ★★★½ | Nottingham Playhouse | December 2020


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Talk Radio

Old Red Lion Theatre

Reviewed – 31st August 2017





“doesn’t hit home enough to be provocative”



Thirty years since its first performance, Covent Garden Productions brings Talk Radio to the Old Red Lion, a play about free speech and how we misuse it. Fictional shock-jock Barry Champlain invites his listeners to call in and say their piece on any topic they like, from the personal, political to the perils of garbage disposal, for which he in turn lambasts them with caustic wit. On the eve of national syndication, Champlain starts to lose control live on air.

I want to love this production. There is a lot to like. Matthew Jure’s performance is masterful. His energy and mania as Barry starts to unravel on air is hypnotic. The rest of the cast are equally fantastic, particularly Ceallach Spellman who storms on as the irrepressible Kent. The set design is incredible, the detail is immaculate and the claustrophobia it creates is palpable. Turner’s direction is slick, keeping the show moving at break neck speed. The pace never slows as the constant stream of voices bombard Champlain, trapped in his box. This has all the elements of a great show.

Unfortunately, it lacks heart. While the lack of connection with the callers may be deliberate, the relationships in the room feel equally hollow. They all exist in isolation, which undermines Barry’s contempt for his callers and robs the play of any emotional impact. The most obvious casualty of this is Molly McNerney’s Linda, whose last minute attempt to reach out to Barry feels unfounded. She becomes just another caller for Barry to abuse and what should be poignant falls flat.

There are also a couple of inconsistencies which just feel clumsy – a particular moment sticks out when an unpleasant delivery is made to the station, creating real tension – which then gets completely thrown away when said delivery is left to litter the DJ booth.

There is no question that Eric Bogosian’s script still has relevance today, with free speech being so widely misused across social media. Questions about what it is we choose to say and who it is we choose to listen to feel even more pertinent in the age of Twitter. But while enjoyable, this show doesn’t hit home enough to be provocative.


Reviewed for thespyinthestalls.com

Photography by Cameron Harle




is at The Old Red Lion Theatre until 23rd September



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