Tag Archives: Jenny Dee



Park Theatre



Park Theatre

Reviewed – 10th December 2018


“streamlining and simplified stagecraft would make it breathe more easily; but it is still a worthy piece of theatre”


It is refreshing to see the Park’s studio space used so inventively. Dialektikon entices with its visual tricks, enticing and varied staging, and exceptional live music. Occasionally obfuscatory, the drama loses itself in a combination of intellectual verbosity and abstract storytelling. However, exploding with ideas, and with plenty of power and substance, this premiere is well worth watching.

Conceptually, Dialektikon is vast. Unifying myth with real debate, and endeavouring to find the common truth in both, it does well to sustain the audience’s interest without an interval. This is primarily down to the exceptional design of Carl Robertshaw and Jonathan Samuels in particular. Porous fabrics throwing shapes on the walls, every colour in the spectrum reflecting off diamond surfaces and the leaping, undulating bodies of the company. The use of shadow theatre was compelling and beautiful, and the top of the show was one of the best I’ve seen in a long while. The puppetry also was a visual treat, and a much needed diversion from the intense atmosphere created by the cast of nine. Kate Luxmoore, composer and instrumentalist, and Stanley Ohios on drums, brought the whole play up a notch. It was a joy to have live music used so nimbly, creatively and expertly to interplay with the stage action. The company must be commended for working so well as a team, enshrining many theatrical practices whilst adding their own flavour of innovation.

Adébayo Bolaji’s ambitious directing showcased some very visually striking moments. The cast of male, ‘real’ people – among them Allen Ginsberg and R.D. Laing – formed a dynamic chorus, stamping and chanting, performing with passion, conviction, and the genuine support of a committed ensemble. Benjamin Victor’s lithe and energetic performance was the perfect combination of entrancing and unsettling. Mary Nyambura as the eyes-wide-open Miranda was calm, elegant and an excellent fulcrum. Ayuda Wedo’s commanding stage presence elevated the drama.

That said, though the piece had strong performances and many watchable set movement pieces, the transitions in, out of and between them were sometimes rough around the edges, such that staging did not always compliment what was said. When they supported one another, the text and the directing were marvellous. But they frequently clashed in an overindulgent spree, leaving the emotional vigour and weight of the play flattened. The relationships between characters were sacrificed for soundbites and punchy political messages, which left both rather wanting, and the play’s ultimate impact less hard-hitting than it deserved to be.

Dialektikon has many strengths. It coalesces a lot of matter into something which, at its best, truly exhilarates. Dramaturgical streamlining and simplified stagecraft would make it breathe more easily; but it is still a worthy piece of theatre.

Reviewed by Eloïse Poulton

Photography by Amoroso Films



Park Theatre until 29th December


Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
Pressure | ★★★★ | April 2018
Building the Wall | ★★★★ | May 2018
End of the Pier | ★★★★ | July 2018
The Rise & Fall of Little Voice | ★★★★ | August 2018
Distance | ★★★★ | September 2018
The Other Place | ★★★ | September 2018
And Before I Forget I Love You, I Love You | ★★★★ | October 2018
Dangerous Giant Animals | ★★★ | October 2018
Honour | ★★★ | October 2018
A Pupil | ★★★★ | November 2018


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


Review of Richard III – 3 Stars


Richard III

The Cockpit Theatre

Reviewed – 18th October 2017



“the real stand out performances lie with the females in this play”


Richard III is one of Shakespeare’s longest plays. This fact does not hold back Front Foot Theatre’s production of the classic text. From the beginning it’s easy to follow and captivating.

All of the acting in this production is strong with a few performers being quite exceptional. Kim Hardy portrays Richard as a subtly menacing villain. His physicality of Richard’s deformity is visible but doesn’t ever border on being too much. The Duke of Buckingham, played by Guy Faith, acts wonderfully as his sinister right hand man. However, the real stand out performances lie with the females in this play, particularly Helen Rose Hampton as Queen Elizabeth and Fiona Tong as the Duchess of York. The strength of their characters easily shines through even when placed in terrible situations.

The use of space in this adaption is extremely clever. We’re brought closer in to the action by a thrust staging and the unused seating bank is utilised as a piece of set (designed by Amanda Mascarenhas) throughout the play. The balcony above the stage is used for numerous scenes. However, using the section directly above a large portion of the audience led to most being unable to watch the action and quickly becoming disengaged. Lighting (Kiaran Kesby) adds a lot to the space: uplighting the actors gives them a sinister glow and dark spaces allow characters to lurk in shadows.

One of the cleverest parts of this production is the use of puppets (made by Jenny Dee) to portray the infamous Princes in the Tower. These work well due to the actors both operating and voicing them. It would have been easy for this to come across as silly, but they manage to avoid that completely.

Throughout the play the setting remained confused; it was a little too muddled between modern and historical. All of the battles were fought with swords and shields yet someone listens to a radio and another pins up photographs. It’s quite jarring. Although from an aesthetical perspective the monochromatic theme of the piece with only small splashes of colour is effective.

Directed by Lawrence Carmichael, this is a strong production. For the majority of the time it’s extremely engaging which is a major achievement considering its length. With Shakespeare it’s easy to get too carried away and caught up in things but this adaption remains grounded and easily understandable.


Reviewed by Katie Douglas

Photography by David Monteith-Hodge




is at The Cockpit Theatre until 4th November



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