Tag Archives: Helen Foster

Bed Peace: The Battle of Yohn and Joko 

Cockpit Theatre

Bed Peace

Bed Peace: The Battle of Yohn and Joko

Cockpit Theatre

Reviewed – 3rd April 2019



“the cast and crew clearly work hard both to entertain and deliver a message, unfortunately the story founders in a couple of areas”


Everyone has heard of The Beatles and most everyone has heard of John Lennon, but whilst John and Yoko may be known generally for their peace campaigns, and for a couple of very strange music collaborations, the details of their story are certainly lesser known. Presumably, ‘Bed Peace: The Battle of Yohn & Joko’ seeks to put that to rights.

The narrative centres around the two weeks that John and Yoko famously held a ‘bed-in’ in a hotel suite as an experimental peace protest. This is used as a pivotal moment in developing and actioning their ideas of effective protest. A lot of agendas are thrown in to the conversation – Women’s Lib, the Vietnam War, and the Black Rights movement for example, the last put forth by Amelia (Amelia Parillon), a Black Rights activist invited to talk with John and Yoko. Parillon is easily the star of the show, particularly shining in an impassioned monologue discussing the innate privilege in being able to be kind all the time.

Craig Edgley (John) isn’t afraid to explore the more aggressive side of Lennon’s character in his struggle to overcome his ego. He succeeds in balancing likability and a short temper, and his chemistry with Jung Sun den Hollander (Yoko) nicely portrays the trial-and-error nature of their political campaigns, as well as the struggles they might have had between one another.

Rocky Rodriguez Jr has devised a very physical and energetic piece of theatre, constructing interesting ways to move around the stage – backward roles, synchronised footwork and a couple of little acrobatic moves. Abigail Screen’s design creates an intimate bedroom space, of course with all the sixties trappings – a panel of flowers hanging from the ceiling, tealights scattered everywhere, various protests signs tacked to the walls – “People For Peace’, “Make Love Not War”, “Give Peace a Chance”. And as we would expect, the soundtrack is taken care of, with big Beatles and Lennon hits throughout.

Whilst the cast and crew clearly work hard both to entertain and deliver a message, unfortunately the story founders in a couple of areas: firstly, it’s really just about John. Yoko features as an influence on his thinking, but not as an independent character. She doesn’t quite fall in to the ‘manic pixie dream girl’ category, but she’s not far off. The same can be said for the mention of the Black Rights and Women’s Lib movements – rather than being platformed, they’re just used as vehicles for John’s progression.

The second issue is that whilst there are moments of seeming honesty and grit, they are far outweighed by moments of artifice and sterile, extra-smiley portrayals of the sixties.

The show succeeds in light entertainment, and who doesn’t enjoy a bit of a Beatles sing-along, but it misses the mark a fair way in authenticity and purpose.


Reviewed by Miriam Sallon


Bed Peace: The Battle of Yohn and Joko

Cockpit Theatre until 28th April


Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
Cantata for Four Wings | | April 2018
Into the Woods | ★★★★ | May 2018
On Mother’s Day | ★★★½ | August 2018
Zeus on the Loose | ★★ | August 2018
The Distance You Have Come | ★★★★ | October 2018
Don’t You Dare! | ★★★ | November 2018
Unbelonger | ★★★½ | November 2018
L’Incoronazione Di Poppea | ★★★★ | January 2019
Mob Wife: A Mafia Comedy | ★★★ | January 2019
Cheating Death | ★★ | February 2019


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The God of Hell thespyinthestalls

The God of Hell

Theatre N16

Reviewed – 13th July 2017





“A powerful performance from Helen Foster”


Followers of American Sam Shepard, once described as ‘the greatest American playwright of his generation’ will be aware of his prolific work that has spanned over half a century. For those less aware, he has written over forty plays including The God of Hell, described by Shepard as ‘a take-off on Republican fascism’.

The show premiered in New York in 2004, following the publication of The Plutonium Files:America’s Secret Medical Experiments in the Cold War. The book is a history of US government-engineered radiation experiments on unwitting Americans.

The stage play, starring Tim Roth, closed after a short run and was last seen in the UK at the Donmar Warehouse in 2005. It has now opened at the Theatre N16 for a 4 week run directed by Rocky Rodriguez, Jr.

Rodriguez has made the point that he wanted to take on one of Shepard’s most surreal pieces of work though his interpretation is not in line with the run at the Donmar. He has certainly pushed the boundaries particularly in the final third of the play where things become quite bizarre.

Upon entering the theatre the audience is immediately drawn into a marvellous set designed by the exceptionally talented Abigail Screen. We are facing a kitchen and it is almost exclusively black and white, having a cartoon style feel. Think of the pencil-sketch animation in the 1985 A-ha Take on Me video.

We are transported to the bleak and bitterly cold state of Wisconsin where Frank and Emma live in rustic isolation on a dairy farm. They are among the last holdouts in an area where independent dairy farmers are being pushed out of business. Their peace is shattered when Graig Haynes, a friend of Frank, comes to stay and has Welch, a supposed salesman, in hot pursuit. We soon learn that Graig is a radioactive refugee from a plutonium producing establishment. What follows is a process of intimidation in which Welch gets his man and terrorises the innocent mid-westerners.

God of Hell cast thespyinthestallsHelen Foster & Craig Edgley

The star of the show is without doubt Helen Foster who plays Emma and commands the stage taking her character from homely to hysterical as the play progresses. Her accent was spot on and her performance is worth the price of admission alone.

Ryan Prescott

Craig Edgley plays Frank, a dependable man who loves looking after his heifers and Ryan Prescott is a watchable as Haynes with his unpredictable and often violent behaviour. Less convincing is Thomas Throe as Welch, who failed to hit the spot with either his accent or portrayal of what is a sinister character.

The play does become quite bizarre towards the end particularly when Haynes was paraded in a gimp mask with an electric lead attached to his genitals. This dark production demands attention throughout and leaves the audience with much to think about. It is a fast paced hour long show brought to the stage by critically acclaimed fringe theatre company Craft Theatre, the first piece in a 12 month season of four shows.



Photography courtesy of Craft Theatre



is at Theatre N16 until  5th August



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