Tag Archives: Max Perryment



Southwark Playhouse



Southwark Playhouse

Reviewed – 28th November 2019



“It’s Wren’s warm and engaging delivery that makes this so delightful to observe”


What would you do if your older brother was the lead singer of one of the world’s biggest rock bands? Ride on their name, or strive to carve out your own career, purely on the merit of your own talent? Well, Nicola Wren faced such a dilemma. In an entertaining divulgence into her life, Wren ‘writes what she knows’ into a frank autobiographical one woman show that is tantalising.

Nicola was an accident. A few too many sherries on Christmas Day type of accident, where nine months later she was welcomed unexpectedly into the Martin household. The youngest of four other offspring, she was constantly playing catch up. Each of her siblings had found their ‘thing’ and it wasn’t until Nicola was on stage as Rabbit No.3 in her local village play that she knew she had found her calling. She was going to be an actor. No, a superstar. Everyone said so. Although, there was one thing that kept getting in the way. Her brother was the lead singer of this band called Coldplay and for some reason he kept getting all this attention… Through the ups and downs of crushed dreams and little triumphs, Nicola faces major reality checks and time to question her purpose in life.

Wren may have been driven to the point of changing her surname to stop the questions about Chris Martin, but this isn’t a play just about begrudging a celebrity brother’s fame. Instead, all of Nicola’s siblings feature as she shifts the narrative to the more universal and relatable theme of how it feels being the youngest, always having to prove themselves.

There’s plenty of in-jokes for the fellow struggling performers or theatre luvvies in the audience, which may go over the heads of the uninitiated, but this shouldn’t lessen any of the enjoyment or laughs through this show. Wren is as adept with physical comedy as she is finding the moments of thoughtful reflection and poignancy.

The set (Cara Evans) is reminiscent of what an eight-year old dreaming of fame would want: Flashing lights and tinsel curtains a la Saturday night TV game shows. A single clothes rail gives Nicola relished moments to put on costumes and reminisce over her previous ‘stellar’ acting roles, which sounds more pretentious than it turns out to be. Fortunately. That aside, the stage is fairly barren, giving space for Nicola’s brazen persona to bounce around.

The style of a show within a show has been used countless times by many solo performers, yet Wren does it solidly well, finding a way of making it her own and being completely self-aware about it. Other solo show staples like audience participation slip their way in, but are executed in an unobtrusive and natural manner.

Nicola is an extremely watchable entity. Full of charismatic charm, she wins you over and makes it impossible to dislike. Her life story is not hard-hitting or gritty, her predicaments hardly challenging, but it’s Wren’s warm and engaging delivery that makes this so delightful to observe.


Reviewed by Phoebe Cole

Photography by Karla Gowlett



Southwark Playhouse until 21st December


Previously reviewed at this venue:
The Rubenstein Kiss | ★★★★★ | March 2019
Other People’s Money | ★★★ | April 2019
Oneness | ★★★ | May 2019
The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button | ★★★★★ | May 2019
Afterglow | ★★★½ | June 2019
Fiver | ★★★★ | July 2019
Dogfight | ★★★★ | August 2019
Once On This Island | ★★★ | August 2019
Preludes | ★★★★ | September 2019
Islander | ★★★★★ | October 2019


Click here to see our most recent reviews




Theatre Royal Brighton & UK Tour



Theatre Royal Brighton

Reviewed – 8th July 2019



“each song and dance number is filled with unfathomable skill”


Sex, drugs, sex, psychedelic tabs, more sex and a rather peculiar UV Scene. Hair bounces into Brighton as part of its 50th anniversary tour.

Picture this, itʼs 1967 and a group of hippie youngsters are longing to change the world in which they find themselves. They question every aspect of authority and unite through protest and song, under the gloomy shadow of the Vietnam War.

The story of Hair jumps so sporadically from one character and story to another which confuses, leaving us little to no time to really form an emotional connection with each character and the threadbare storyline.

The cast is laden with TV celebrities. X-Factor Duo Jake Quickenden (modelling a rather revealing thong throughout) and Marcus Collins (as Hud) are both interesting talents. Both do well throughout but are underserved by the script and direction from Jonathan O’Boyle. Quickendenʼs energetic conversations with the audience are infectious and makes his Berger completely loveable; someone youʼd take home to your mum.

Vocally, Aiesha Pease, playing Dionne, and Daisy Wood-Davis, as Shelia, are simply stunning, both commanding the stage with pitch-perfect clarity. However beautiful harmonies and exceptional examples of physical theatre canʼt forgive the poor diction from most of the cast throughout the sub-par plot.

I have one big gripe about this production as a whole and thatʼs how it fairs in the current political climate. Although Hair tries all the tricks to appeal to our packed to the rafters Brighton audience but the lack of ‘shockingʼ content merely makes it a well-produced museum piece. With the director’s choice of implementing Trump speeches at the beginning, the show manages to say nothing new whilst remaining some-what relevant but this is cheap and easy. If you had put Erdogan or Putin speeches in place of Trump, or performed the show in Russia or Brunei for example, where homosexuality and nudity on stage is still illegal, then the impact would be colossal.

Putting the incoherent story aside, Hair, put simply, is a spectacle and an event. Once intended to shock and change laws, Hair unintentionally falls flat in its flamboyant charm. Although each song and dance number is filled with unfathomable skill, energy and wit the seemingly endless number of songs forces us to yearn for more of the thin narrative.


Reviewed by Nathan Collins

Photography by Johan Persson


Hair the Musical


Theatre Royal Brighton until 13th July then UK tour continues


Previously reviewed at this venue:
Rocky Horror Show | ★★★★ | December 2018
Benidorm Live! | ★★★★ | February 2019
Noughts And Crosses | ★★ | March 2019
Rotterdam | ★★★★ | April 2019
The Girl on the Train | ★★ | June 2019


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