Tag Archives: Lidless Theatre

Moonfleece – 3 Stars



Pleasance Theatre

Reviewed – 27th March 2018


“Jaz Hutchins gives a stunning performance and makes the most of Ridley’s writing”


Novelist and playwright Philip Ridley has been cited as a pioneer of ‘in-yer-face’ theatre. Indeed his 1991 debut play The Pitchfork Disney was considered by many to have influenced the development of that style of work. In 2010 Ridley’s Moonfleece caused controversy when a Dudley arts centre cancelled a run as it felt the content “includes characters and themes of a political and potentially discriminatory nature”. The premise of the work is based around a gay relationship plus the advocates and victims of racism and homophobia. It traces a family with far right politics and the highly destructive and damaging results it eventually has on them.

Fast forward to 2018 and the Lidless Theatre are reviving Moonfleece in the compact stagespace studio at The Pleasance, London. Part of the project is supported by the Islington Youth Council who are serious about tackling the adverse impact hate crime has had on their community.

Upon entering the theatre it is clear the audience is going to feel part of the action, being up close and personal to the characters in the dilapidated East End tower block squat flat that the action will centre in. The set has two graffiti covered walls and the room is littered with debris and the seating is on two sides of the stage.

We are quickly introduced to the main character of the play – Curtis (Jamie Downie) a troubled young man who is part of a family hell-bent on spreading their fascist views to the surrounding neighbourhood. He returns uninvited to his old home with two of his henchman Tommy (Josh Horrocks) and the shaven headed unstable Gavin (Joshua Dolphin). They are dressed smartly, yet menacingly, in sharp grey suits with St George’s cross lapel badges on them. They are there for a séance in search of his lost brother’s ghost and over the next ninety minutes, we are introduced to a total of eleven characters who slowly add to the story that swings from shock violence to touching sadness. The main story is that of a dead brother who was banished by Curtis’ stepfather because of his sexual orientation. Though as with many Ridley plays, all is not what it initially seems.

When eventually the green haired wheelchair bound spiritual medium Nina (Adeline Waby) arrives the stage is ready for a showdown. There are a few characters that are arguably superfluous to the story but no doubt Ridley felt a reasonable need to include these to add both humour and further tension. The pace and substance of the play change when Zak arrives. Jaz Hutchins gives a stunning performance and makes the most of Ridley’s writing. It not only clarifies the story but it changes the pace and substance of the play.

Director Max Harrison has done well to revive this important piece of work, to fit so many characters into such a small space and to keep the pace moving well throughout. Designer Kit Hinchcliffe’s set makes the audience feel as though they really are in a squat. The lighting from Katy Gerard is basic though effective as is the sound design by Annie May Fletcher.

Overall this was a good showing of the play and as usual with Philip Ridley there is much to consider about the content when leaving the theatre.


Reviewed by Steve Sparrow

Photography by Gregory Birks



Pleasance Theatre until 15th April


Vincent River | ★★★★ | Park Theatre | March 2018


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



Review of Pebbles – 4 Stars




Reviewed – 24th October 2017



“Sanders confidently drove the story, transitioning from being controlled and restrained into a delightful emotional mess”


I had come to see Pebbles, the new play from Lidless Theatre, under the pretence that I was in for a night of hard-hitting, sombre bleakness, as I knew the play focussed on the theme of loneliness. How wrong I could have been. I was delightfully surprised to find myself belly laughing out loud to this witty, heart-warming tale of friendship and the humorous idiosyncrasies that come from a life in isolation.

Written by company member Bebe Sanders, Pebbles tells the story of Jonie (played by Sanders herself) who was born with some mysterious illness that makes her dangerous, and life threatening to other human beings she has contact with. For her own, and humankind’s safety, Jonie is sent up into space to live in isolation on an uninhabited, pebble-strewn planet. After hundreds of days out in the cosmos, Jonie keeps a strict, regimented structure to her day, noting observations into her Dictaphone about the minute changes to her desolate environment. Seemingly content with this way of life, it is not until Jonie’s path is crossed with fellow quarantined earthling Bryon (Charlotte Beaumont) that things start to fall apart, forcing Jonie to confront some of the emotions and memories that she had kept buried for so long.

Sanders and Beaumont give very strong performances as conflicting characters – Bryon’s happy-go-lucky, eccentric airs infuriates uptight, forward-focused Jonie. An opposing duo on a quest is a familiar template we have seen before, whether it is Vladamir and Estragon in Waiting For Godot, to even Shrek and Donkey. However, Pebbles still came across fresh as this inter-galactic caper focussed on the interactions of two young women, very far away from home. Charlotte Beaumont as Bryon was hilariously brilliant, full of quirks and extraordinary one-liners, whilst Bebe Sanders confidently drove the story, transitioning from being controlled and restrained into a delightful emotional mess, figuring out the power and relief talking to another person can bring.

There may have not been anything that profound within the play, however there were certainly some thought-provoking comments, for example, when Bryon ruminates over the idea of how we could be holding the hand of someone we deeply love and still feel utterly lonely – a reaction many of us have come to feel at some point in our lives I am sure. Sanders depicts with precision the antics of the human condition, bringing to life universal feelings such as hope, fear, emptiness and comfort that we can all relate to. This is what made Pebbles such a strong piece.

As light and jovial as the production was (note: running at only an hour long, it did not have the time to dig too deep) I came out feeling heart-warmingly touched by Jonie and Bryon’s friendship, proving that even out in space you don’t have to feel alone.



Reviewed by Phoebe Cole





is at Katzpace until 25th October



Click here to see a list of the latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com