Tag Archives: Jacob Ward

Goodnight Mr Spindrift

Old Red Lion Theatre

Goodnight Mr Spindrift

Goodnight Mr Spindrift

Old Red Lion Theatre

Reviewed – 24th April 2019



“Netherwood’s writing is wonderfully descriptive and could fill the space alone”


Tucked away upstairs at the Old Red Lion Theatre, Goodnight Mr Spindrift showcased the writing of Nancy Netherwood. The play introduces us to Archie (Joshua Asaré) and Isaac (Jacob Ward) who are awaiting government testing which, if successful will improve their standard of living. Their ability to pass the test rests solely on the strength of their relationship but as they move along the process, cracks begin to show. The venue certainly provided a space fitting for the two lovers as they nervously wait inside their apartment.

If you research the writer and the play, there is much to be found connecting the work with the genre of horror and as a horror fan myself, I was prepared to be thrilled for seventy minutes as the action unravelled. Sadly, this piece missed the mark. Voiceover and audio work featured quite heavily in this production which appeared to be an attempt at the sinister. Coming through the speakers were the taunting words of Mr Spindrift (Angus Bower Brown) himself which were interwoven with the action on stage. At times it became inaudible leaving me somewhat unable to determine why Mr Spindrift’s character was important to the overall plot line. You begin to have questions which remain unanswered, leaving certain aspects of the play a little ambiguous.

The set (Nancy Dawson) was very simple yet creative. The kitchen area comprising of an oven and sink were crafted from metal wiring in addition to a large window which hung downstage. Aesthetically the design looked great but sadly the kitchen collapsed mid performance when knocked by a performer so perhaps was more creative than practical. Stage-right featured an amalgamation of wiring and shards of broken mirror all connected to form an interesting and slightly intimidating creation that spread up towards the lighting rig.

The writing is an exploration of love and relationships, bringing in to question just how far someone is willing to go for the person they love. Netherwood’s writing is wonderfully descriptive and could fill the space alone so I’m not sure the production needed the props that dotted the stage as there were clunky set changes which detracted from the work. The horror and thriller I had hoped for just didn’t deliver on this occasion and was a little rough around the edges.


Reviewed by Lucy Bennett


Goodnight Mr Spindrift

Old Red Lion Theatre until 27th April


Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
Hedgehogs & Porcupines | ★★★ | October 2018
Phantasmagorical | ★★★ | October 2018
The Agency | ★★ | October 2018
Indebted to Chance | ★★★★ | November 2018
Voices From Home | ★★★½ | November 2018
Anomaly | ★★★★ | January 2019
In Search Of Applause | ★★ | February 2019
Circa | ★★★★ | March 2019
Little Potatoes | ★★★ | April 2019
The Noises | ★★★★ | April 2019


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Asking for a Raise – 2 Stars


Asking for a Raise

The Space

Reviewed – 3rd July 2018


“The ensemble work produced by this cast was of the highest calibre, and the skill required to pull off this type of work should not be underestimated”


Asking for a Raise is a devised comedy which explores one of the central and perennial demands of office culture; exactly how do you pluck up the courage to ask for a raise? It’s a situation familiar to many of us, although the ‘universal office’ in the piece had more in common with offices of the past than with contemporary work spaces. One of the performers – the excellent Poppy Lawless – mentions her time at a call centre in her programme biography, and this reviewer couldn’t help feeling that the piece would have been taken to the next level by properly drawing on the experiences of these young actors, rather than rehashing an office setting that essentially hasn’t changed since the 1950s.

There’s no doubt that Hugo Aguirre (designer/director) and Franciska Éry (director), ably assisted by Liam Murphy (music), have produced a slick piece of theatre. It is visually arresting and tightly choreographed, with some well-orchestrated set pieces. Stylistically, it is reminiscent of the wonderful formative years of Theatre de Complicité, and there is still a lot of fun to be had within that absurdist European tradition. Again however, there was a feeling of disconnect. It felt like a well-mastered technique, as opposed to an organically-developed theatrical language, unique to this company, and as such, was lacking in soul. The office is, of course, an alienating soulless space, but the subject shouldn’t affect the performance quality. The ensemble work produced by this cast was of the highest calibre, and the skill required to pull off this type of work should not be underestimated. It was just a shame that the substance of the piece was not there for them to work with, and that they were not more present as individuals.

Fifty minutes is an awful lot of time for one relatively flimsy scenario to fill, no matter how much flair there is in its execution, and the script would have benefited from the same attention to detail as its performative realisation. Congratulations though to Poppy Lawless, Imogen Parker (with special mention to her wonderful solo smoky jazz pastiche), Jacob Ward, Jack Westgate and Gemma Wray. It would be exciting to see this gang work together again, taking a few more risks and bringing in some heart.


Reviewed by Rebecca Crankshaw

Photography by LivLeopard Photography


Asking to a Raise

The Space until 7th July


Previously reviewed at this venue
One Festival | ★★★ | January 2018
Citizen | ★★★★ | April 2018
Be Born | | June 2018


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