Tag Archives: Mwen



The Turbine Theatre

WRECKAGE at The Turbine Theatre



“Rikki Beadle-Blair directs with a flair that matches the heightened narrative”


In Anthony Minghella’s film ‘Truly, Madly, Deeply’, Alan Rickman’s character returns from the dead specifically to help Juliet Stevenson get over him by tarnishing her idealised memory of him. As a ghost, he irritates her and behaves in ways that infuriate her. In Tom Ratcliffe’s “Wreckage”, now playing at the Turbine Theatre, a similar concept is deployed, but without the poignancy of Rickman’s intention. The two characters, dead or alive, seem to spend a lot of time irritating each other, dredging up past (and future) frustrations and misdemeanours. Although in between there are abundant declarations of love and we eventually understand that the shouty tantrums are, in effect, signifiers of grief.

Ratcliffe’s script is finely crafted and chronologically complex, moving between the past, present and future. Sam (Tom Ratcliffe) and Noel (Michael Walters) are in the perfect relationship. Noel, being older, more laid back and assured, is often the one to smooth out Sam’s rattled and jumpy mind. This is established at the outset during which Noel agrees to rush out on an errand to placate Sam, grabbing the car keys, promising to be back in twenty minutes. The scene, and its tragic consequence, is played out multiple times, reflecting the torturous “if only…” reaction that loops in Sam’s mind – possibly forever.

Separated by death, the couple become paradoxically inseparable and what ensues is an exploration of guilt and grief. Ratcliffe effectively portrays the torment of how to cope with loss as he battles with what to cling on to and what (or rather when) to move on. The ‘reality’ of Noel’s ghost in his mind is powerful enough for Noel to take over and control the narrative. The passion brought out in the performances is undeniable, but any true sense of heartbreak is undermined by a complete lack of subtlety. We long for more poignancy and silence amidst the shouting and screaming and writhing.

Despite a reluctance to tone down the performances, Rikki Beadle-Blair directs with a flair that matches the heightened narrative, and with the clever use of video projections and Rachel Sampley’s lighting we are guided clearly through the shifts in time. We witness the couple meeting for the first time, and we are privy to posthumous revelations of infidelity. The influence of in-laws and wranglings of property and possessions are explored in an ingenious fashion by the writing, casting fresh perspective on what would normally be a run of the mill relationship. We are asked to think, and to challenge our preconceptions about how we might cope. But ultimately, as compelling as it is on paper, the emotional connection is left wanting.

The idea is not new, but the execution is innovative. The tag line is “I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you”. Sam is young when he loses the love of his life and he goes on to live a long, fulfilling life. The message is that ‘love never dies’, and they will eventually be reunited. In a hurried finale, we are treated to a slideshow of Sam’s three-score-years-and-ten that lead up to their reunion. It is a lifetime, during which Sam does move on. But is he living a lie all along?

“Wreckage” draws you in, and whirls you around in its turmoil with two (for the most part) terrific performances. But it is strangely unmoving. Petulance too often pushes grief out of the way, while the mixed message gets in the way. The character you most feel for is the underwritten Christian – Sam’s new, lifelong, partner (very briefly played by Walters). He puts up with Sam for life, while all along Sam is yearning for the day that he can join Noel again – for eternity. Really? Come on – you spent most of your time arguing!



Reviewed on 11th January 2023

by Jonathan Evans

Photography courtesy Harlow Playhouse




Previously reviewed at this venue:

My Son’s A Queer But What Can You Do | ★★★½ | June 2021
My Night With Reg | ★★★★ | July 2021
Diva: Live From Hell | ★★★★★ | August 2022

Click here to read all our latest reviews


Who's Holiday

Who’s Holiday


Southwark Playhouse Borough

WHO’S HOLIDAY at the Southwark Playhouse Borough


Who's Holiday

Fans of Miz Cracker will be thrilled with the highly personal nature of Who’s Holiday


Theatrical reimaginings of some of fiction’s greatest villains from the Wicked Witch of the West to the six wives of Henry VIII have become increasingly popular in the last few decades. So, naturally, why not do the same for Dr. Seuss’ Christmas-stealing Grinch as told by a grown-up Cindy-Lou Who, now a raunchy ex-con who couldn’t be more different than her sweetly hopeful younger self.

Matthew Lombardo’s Who’s Holiday puts a naughty spin on the popular Christmas tale as Cindy-Lou – played by Miz Cracker, a fan favourite from the tenth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race – regales the audience with the story of her tumultuous love affair with the cantankerous old Grinch whilst waiting for her friends to arrive at her holiday party.

The sixty-minute, one-woman show fully embraces the rhyming speech of Dr Seuss’ novels with many hilariously naughty pairings throughout. Directed by Kirk Jameson, Who’s Holiday treats its audience to an intimate chat with Cindy-Lou alongside audience participation and regular movement into the stands which is sure to delight any fan of the talented drag queen.

Miz Cracker does well to hold the audience’s attention throughout the performance and impressively does not err once during the show’s extensive monologue nor a short rap number. She is however at her best when allowed to deviate from the script’s strict rhythm – her little asides to a reluctant participant brought on stage and her witty retorts to overexcited audience members being just some opportunities for her to display her fantastic humour. Brilliantly funny though these moments are, they, unfortunately, also leave the audience wishing that our star was permitted to have some more freedom with the script.

The plot is captivating enough but long sections of speech would perhaps be better received if broken up by other entertainment – it is a shame that there is only one musical number, for instance. Moreover, rather unexpectedly, our (anti)hero’s tale is largely tragic and an audience can expect to go ‘awh’ just as many times as one laughs. The tone is thus slightly confusing and though the play ends on a positive note it is hard to forget the depressing journey it takes to get there.

Successfully lifting the mood throughout however is Justin Williams’ gloriously sparkly set – the interior of Cindy-Lou’s beaten-up old trailer. A real highlight and appropriately festive. The only strange artistic choice is to not have a working door at the back of the stage to allow Miz Cracker to enter her own home – instead she is forced to come from stage left at the play’s opening and do a faux exit at the end.

The lighting (Kieron Johnson) brings a welcomed playfulness to the performance – a wonderful snowing effect in the play’s final scenes is particularly entrancing. The sound design (Mwen) is also strong and situates the audience right in Cindy-Lou’s kitchen from her phone ringing to Whoville locals pelting her door with snowballs.

Fans of Miz Cracker will be thrilled with the highly personal nature of Who’s Holiday and impartial viewers will be easily charmed by the queen’s natural stage presence. The confused and rigid script is however a significant let down and won’t leave most audience members feeling particularly festive at all.



Reviewed on 10th December 2022

by Flora Doble

Photography by Mark Senior



Previously reviewed at this venue:


The Woods | ★★★ | March 2022
Anyone Can Whistle | ★★★★ | April 2022
I Know I Know I Know | ★★★★ | April 2022
The Lion | ★★★ | May 2022
Evelyn | ★★★ | June 2022
Tasting Notes | ★★ | July 2022
The Prince | ★★★ | September 2022
Doctor Faustus | ★★★★★ | September 2022


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