Tag Archives: Katharine Farmer

The Least We Could Do



The Hope Theatre

THE LEAST WE COULD DO at the Hope Theatre


The Least We Could Do

“The trio of actors are incredibly strong, lifting the superb material even further”

This is a Greek tragedy set in the internet age. Three showbiz-adjacent characters Levi, Charlie and Kieran are pulled inevitably into a whirlpool or chaos from a chance meeting and a hubristic decision. Less Pandora’s box opened, more like Pandora’s phone.

The plot has obvious parallels with the devastating story of Caroline Flack, a presenter whose downfall coincided with aggressive press speculation about her private life. However writer Kath Haling skilfully uses this more as a tragic departure rather than a blueprint, which avoids any mawkishness. She has sensitively woven in other themes (there’s a big trigger warning for pregnancy loss) to create something new, asking deep questions about trust, integrity, and grift. Not only is it about the symbiotic relationship between fame and press, but also about the voyeuristic interest in the process from ‘nobody’ people. Even the stage set up supports this, with scenes played out an arm’s length away from the front row of the audience that closes in claustrophobically around the performance area on three sides.

Designer Tallulah Caskey’s main set feature is a curved chain curtain that sweeps the stage. This acts as a semi-permeable barrier, a metaphorical and physical reminder of liminality and choices taken or not. Characters are occasionally lit to great effect translucently through the chains, before they are once again obscured (lighting design, Hector Murray). Ghostly conversations between people on both sides of the barrier are another nod to Greek drama, the challenging voices of conscience or a chorus of online voices. There are also three reflective blocks, used well by Director Katharine Farmer to offer different levels to the performance, and keep high energy and visual interest throughout.

The trio of actors are incredibly strong, lifting the superb material even further. Dan Wolff embodies blundering naivety as he stumbles into a situation above his head. Olivia Lindsay is magnetic as TV host Levi, with the perfect ‘It’ girl vocal fry. She gets the balance just right between the approachable familiarity of a prime time presenter, steeliness, and then when she reveals her depths, there is a wanting vulnerability that leaves just enough edge to leave the audience questioning whether she has planned her trauma as an ‘angle’. Melissa Saint completes the cast as Charlie, again utterly radiant, but with the potential for slipperiness hinted by her silk blouse. Everything appears so considered that I was left wondering whether the ‘French tuck’ of her shirt was yet more symbolism, showing her half in and half out of the celebrity world, or conversely her marriage. Though that might be me getting ahead of myself, what is clear is that in many key moments, Saint’s incredibly expressive face works through complex emotions in real time, a joy to watch, even if there is little to celebrate in the plot.

Given the heavy themes, this show does an excellent job at avoiding preaching. There is enough grey area and ambiguity left to avoid painting by numbers apportioning of blame, again very Greek.

If there is any morality message to be extracted, it is the reminder to be kind, especially if you are too obscured by the internet. With that, I must leave this review on a solely positive note: this is an exceptionally well thought out production, rich with details that stay lodged in your brain long after the lights go down.

THE LEAST WE COULD DO at the Hope Theatre

Reviewed on 12th October 2023

by Rosie Thomas

Photography by Lidia Crisafulli




Previously reviewed at this venue:

Mind Full | ★★★ | March 2023
Hen | ★★★ | June 2022
100 Paintings | ★★ | May 2022
Fever Pitch | ★★★★ | September 2021

The Least We Could Do

The Least We Could Do

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Other People’s Money

Southwark Playhouse

Other People's Money

Other People’s Money

Southwark Playhouse

Reviewed – 23rd April 2019



“Lin Blakley stole the show as Bea Sullivan”


Blue Touch Paper Productions present Jerry Sterner’s 1989 drama-comedy with style and credence as audiences find out what men and women of all shapes, sizes and classes can do with Other People’s Money.

Touching base at a time when America is clawing its way back from the precipice of bankruptcy, we meet a coasting, family-run wire and cable company in New England who are about to have their business acumen and their morality tested by Wall Street tough guy Lawrence Garfinkle, a.k.a. Larry the Liquidator (Rob Locke). Friendly, neighbourhood business owner Andrew Jorgenson (Michael Brandon) and his company manager William Coles (Mark Rose) seek help from Jorgy’s secretary/no nonsense lawyer Kate Sullivan (Amy Burke) when Larry’s interest starts to cost more than smiles and doughnuts.

Director Katherine Farmer and designer Emily Leonard carefully align two contrasting offices opposite each other in traverse staging. The raked seating that straddles the stage allows the audience to spectate, jury-like as Garfinkle and Jorgenson play corporate hard ball on a sneakily camouflaged, faded tennis court flooring. As well as creating a cold, war room atmosphere, the confidently selected set throws into relief the essence of the two armies; the rich versus the poor. The modern, sleek, uncluttered desk of a tycoon facing down the, honest, simple hardwood workstation of a man’s livelihood.

Interestingly, it is easy to tell when the actors enjoy the scenes; Larry and Kate, though initially struggling to find each of their character’s presence on stage, give us a fun flavour of their chemistry together in the later scenes. However, the writing is wordy and difficult to navigate if you do not have a calculator for a brain or actors who liven up the figures.

Lin Blakley stole the show as Bea Sullivan, Jorgy’s steadfast secretary with a shining soul. Through her candid, controlled performance the audience are able to access the heart and true value of what family can mean in a company like theirs. Her relatable characterisation marries comedic timing and fierce emotion so easily making her a pleasure to watch and a home comfort to hold onto in the world of money madness.

This production successfully leads us to believe that the corporate world is killer, which begs the question: is it even possible for good people to do good business?


Reviewed by Vivienne King

Photography by Craig Sugden


Other People’s Money

Southwark Playhouse until 11th May


Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
Wasted | ★★★ | September 2018
The Sweet Science of Bruising | ★★★★ | October 2018
The Trench | ★★★ | October 2018
Seussical The Musical | ★★★★ | November 2018
The Funeral Director | ★★★★★ | November 2018
The Night Before Christmas | ★★★ | November 2018
Aspects of Love | ★★★★ | January 2019
All In A Row | ★★ | February 2019
Billy Bishop Goes To War | ★★★ | March 2019
The Rubenstein Kiss | ★★★★★ | March 2019


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