Tag Archives: Hannah Price

End of the Pier – 4 Stars


End of the Pier

Park Theatre

Reviewed – 16th July 2018


provocative in challenging our perceptions on censorship and political correctness


‘All comedy needs a victim’. This well-known adage is one that is repeated constantly and forms the focal argument for new black comedy End Of The Pier, a play that centres on the often contradictory lives of comics. Making someone laugh should be a joyous action, yet, when it is part of a huge money making business, where your jokes and reputation are under constant scrutiny, it can be rather humourless. Thought-provoking yet highly entertaining, End Of The Pier offers an insider look into how far some will go to earn the last laugh.

Bobby (Les Dennis) used to be a household name. As one half of the once much loved comic double-act, Chalk and Cheese, Bobby helped champion the voice of the working-class, bringing it to the forefront of TV viewing. As years went by, so the tastes and ideas on comedic acceptability changed, leaving Bobby behind, insignificant and lacking laughs. Faced with a lonely life of solitude – and the odd bit of panto – in walks Michael, (Blake Harrison) the nation’s current favourite comedian. He is in trouble, and desperately needs Bobby’s help to try and save his career. Whilst Bobby is being thrust back into the world of showbiz, the darker side of stand-up comedy rears its nasty head, bringing to question, what happens when, deep down, you’re not the type of person everyone thinks you are?

End Of The Pier’s playwright Danny Robins is no stranger to the comedy circuit. He learnt his craft as a stand-up, before turning more behind the scenes, writing jokes for some of the UK’s most well known comedians. His in-depth personal experience provides an authentic depiction of that world, within the play. Not to mention, having Les Dennis on board, whose own life has, in many ways, chartered a very similar path as that of his character.

Robins’ fascination with the evolution of comedy, as well as, dissecting the fundamentals behind why we laugh, comes across clearly. Bobby and Michael are from completely different eras. Where the first half of the play distinguishes their differences, the second half blurs lines, revealing how many of the outdated beliefs and prejudices of yesteryear are still highly present. We have only learnt to suppress them. Robins sophisticatedly offers arguments and social commentary that will play on your mind for days after seeing the production.

The cast give well-rounded performances, with particular mention of Blake Harrison (of The Inbetweeners fame), whose change from Mr Nice Guy to Most Reviled is quite the turnaround. The naturalistic set that has such details as a working kettle and half-eaten biscuits, keeps to the authentic tone established.

End Of The Pier is provocative in challenging our perceptions on censorship and political correctness, yet successfully achieves a nuanced balance in still being amusing and accessible. A must-see if you like your laughs with a touch of intelligence.


Reviewed by Phoebe Cole

Photography by Simon Annand


End of the Pier

Park Theatre until 11th August


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Again – 3 Stars



Trafalgar Studios

Reviewed – 9th February 2018


“The myriad viewpoints serve to confuse rather than add mystery”


The ‘family’ has always been ripe pickings for drama, traversing all genres from horror, mystery, animation to comedy. In fact it is almost impossible to avoid nowadays with the multitude of repeats of family oriented sitcoms on our television screens.

Actress turned writer Stephanie Jacob has taken this tried and tested formula with the intention of shaking it up by restructuring its narrative flow. Without giving much away, each scene is presented to us more than once (hence the title of the piece). It is a bit like watching an old VHS and continually hitting the rewind button, but the repeat viewing is not as you remember it.

It is a very clever device, but it doesn’t take long for it to lose its novelty value and we are left with a jumble of allegiances. Not one of the characters is quite strong enough to win our empathy and bring us onto their side, so we never really know whose story is the truth; whose memories are the real ones.

A close-knit family of four are reuniting for lunch. It is hinted at that there has been conflict and estrangement in the back-story. The only one who still lives in the family home is matriarch Louise, committedly portrayed by the ever-wonderful Natasha Little, although there are flashes of discomfort in her performance. She has invited her ex-husband, Tom, and their two children to lunch.

The star of the show is Rosie Day who plays the unreserved teenage daughter, Izzy, who bubbles with an infectious, manic energy. Izzy’s candid giddiness is the perfect foil to her inward-looking brother, Adam, played by Charles Reston with a brittleness that constantly threatens to shatter with scarring results. They are both highly strung and Day and Reston do convey well that modern dichotomy of how much ‘the parents are to blame’, particularly the father figure: Chris Larkin captures the right mix of culpability and blamelessness as Tom, veering between deserter and victim depending on which scene we’re in.

Hannah Price’s direction keeps the pace moving and we are kept on our toes throughout. It is fascinating to witness the scenarios replayed slightly differently, each time shedding a new light on the situation.

But, all in all, too many sympathies are tugging at our hearts, and too many layers of the past and present are pasted onto the narrative, for us to really care about the characters, let alone who we should be rooting for. The myriad viewpoints serve to confuse rather than add mystery, and the line between genuine causticity and comedy is often unclear. A shame as this does cloud what is undoubtedly a skilled piece of writing.


Reviewed by Jonathan Evans

Photography by Zute Lightfoot



Trafalgar Studios until 3rd March



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