Tag Archives: Georgie Staight

Chutney – 3 Stars



The Bunker

Reviewed – 14th November 2018


“There are a few moments sprinkled throughout where the asides subside, and the story and characters are allowed to actually breathe”


Chutney is a play brimming with potential – an intriguing premise, intelligent intentions, slick design, and a talented pair of actors helming the two-hander. Despite having all the recipe for brilliance, however, not all the ingredients are used effectively.

Reece Connolly’s play aims to transpose the murderous couple dynamic seen in the likes of Macbeth and Sweeney Todd to the thoroughly middle class Gregg (Will Adolphy) and Claire (Isabel Della-Porta). After primally killing a dog one evening, the pair ignite a bloodlust that they find in equal parts exhilarating and terrifying as it consumes their lives, and the paranoia of their misdeeds starts to infect their relationship. It’s an exciting setup for a story, but the script unrelentingly dismisses the old adage of ‘show, don’t tell’ with a constant barrage of narration and exposition to the audience; having the characters incessantly explain what they are thinking at any given moment removes all notion of subtext, and frequently kills the dramatic potential for scenes. Claire and Gregg will often deliver intercutting monologues to the audience which would have been more far more engaging as dialogue between the two where they are forced to challenge and change each other. Instead, it at times feels like two one-person shows simply running parallel.

It’s a shame the script falters in this way, as Connolly’s writing is often witty, sharp, and poetic. There are a few moments sprinkled throughout where the asides subside, and the story and characters are allowed to actually breathe – moments such as Claire drunkenly dancing with a crossbow, the couple reservedly eating pasta, and a particularly enthralling confrontation in the second act are all stellar, and made it all the more disappointing that more of the script did not place an equal amount of faith in the audience to engage with the story. It is also in these moments that Adolphy and Della-Porta are allowed to shine, finding opportunities to bring depth and nuance to the characters, and delivering energetic and intense performances.

The design helps to gloss over the script’s shortcomings, with Matt Cater’s sumptuous lighting and Ben Winter’s biting sound lending weight and impact to dramatic peaks that would have otherwise been lacking. Jasmine Swan’s aesthetically delightful middle-class kitchen set also depicts the world of the play very effectively, and Georgie Staight’s direction incorporates this with the actors to create some striking imagery.

Ultimately, however, it all feels hollow. It’s always concerning when the writer’s note in a programme claims the play is achieving or exploring ideas that simply aren’t present in what transpired on stage. Chutney, unfortunately, is one such example of this. It aims to critique the middle-class utopia of Britain but, for a play which spends the majority of its runtime lambasting the audience with quips and asides, finds itself with very little to say.


Reviewed by Tom Francis

Photography by Rah Petherbridge



The Bunker until 1st December


Previously reviewed at this venue:
Ken | ★★★ | January 2018
Electra | ★★★★ | March 2018
Devil With the Blue Dress | ★★ | April 2018
Reboot:Shorts | ★★★ | April 2018
Conquest | ★★★★ | May 2018
Grotty | ★★★★ | May 2018
Guy | ★★★½ | June 2018
Kiss Chase | ★★★ | June 2018
Libby’s Eyes | ★★★★ | June 2018
Nine Foot Nine | ★★★★ | June 2018
No One is Coming to Save You | ★★★★ | June 2018
Section 2 | ★★★★ | June 2018
Breathe | ★★★★ | August 2018
Eris | ★★★★ | September 2018
Reboot: Shorts 2 | ★★★★ | October 2018
Semites | ★★★ | October 2018


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


Section 2 – 4 Stars


Section 2

The Bunker

Reviewed – 15th June 2018


“an excellently truthful depiction of how mental health can affect more than just the sufferer”


Within the last week we have heard about the untimely deaths of fashion designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, both of whom tragically committed suicide. So, once again, mental health and its fickle nature has become topic for debate within the media, which makes Paper Creatures’ current production, Section 2, seem even more timely. While shining a light on our mental health system, it is the path to recovery and the strength and support of fellow humanity, which truly lies at the heart of the play.

As the title suggests, it is based around central character Cam (Nathan Coenen) being placed under ‘Section 2’ of the Mental Health Act, within a secure facility. At school he was a rugby champ, and went on to serve in the army, but now finds himself caught up with panic attacks and frequent memory loss. It’s Day 28: possibly the last day of Cam being sectioned and no one has been able to pin point exactly what is wrong with him, or how his mental downturn began, which makes things that much more frustrating for Cam’s long-term girlfriend Kay (Alexandra Da Silva), whose own nerves are only just hanging on by a thread. A decision must be made by Cam’s key worker Rachel (Esmé Patey-Ford) as to whether he is fit to return home or whether he needs more time to recover. Cam’s old friend Pete (Jon Tozzi) has also come to visit, and with Kay having not always seen eye-to-eye with him, causes friction in the waiting room.

Playwright Peter Imms creates an immensely sensitive and stirring piece of writing that accurately and very naturalistically portrays the struggles of dealing with mental health, either as the patient, or, the loved one trying to help them get better. One of the play’s strengths lies in picking up on the mundane of everyday conversations. As characters discuss the likes of whether milk should go first in a cup of tea, or the clichés of bringing grapes to an invalid, this slight, observational humour helps counter-balance the scenes of a more intense or distressing nature.

With Imms having had personal encounters with mental health, and Paper Creatures collaborating with the charity Mind, who offered advice, it appears that all has been done to achieve a well-rounded and authentic account. The four cast-members are collectively strong; all taking great care in coming across genuine and believable – with much success. All in all, an excellently truthful depiction of how mental health can affect more than just the sufferer, and the power that will and determination can hold.


Reviewed by Phoebe Cole



Section 2

The Bunker until 7th July


Previously reviewed at this venue
Electra | ★★★★ | March 2018
Devil With the Blue Dress | ★★ | April 2018
Conquest | ★★★★ | May 2018


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