Tag Archives: Nathan Lucky Wood



VAULT Festival




The Vaults

Reviewed – 2nd March 2019



“A relevant, well-acted play with brilliant story concept. If Wood can work out the kinks in the script, Alcatraz could be a powerful show”


On Christmas Eve, 11-year-old Sandy embarks on a rescue mission: she’s going to break her granny out of the care home where they’ve locked her up. Sandy’s seen Escape from Alcatraz enough times – if Clint Eastwood can do it, so can she. The exasperated head nurse and a well-meaning new staff member are just two of the many obstacles between Sandy, her gran, and freedom.

Alcatraz, written by Nathan Lucky Wood and directed by Emily Collins, questions the state of elderly care in modern society. It’s an excellent premise for a vital topic. A child equating her grandmother’s care home with Alcatraz, and carrying out a plan to rescue her, is a scintillating approach to the social commentary. It’s a promising concept that hasn’t quite reached its potential.

The beginning of the play is confusing. Sandy (Katherine Carlton) monologues about papier-mâché, and narrates her journey breaking into ‘Alcatraz’ while reciting the plot of Escape from Alcatraz. These sections feel as long as it inevitably does when an overeager person is describing their favourite film. It’s difficult to care, and Wood hasn’t given us a reason to. Unless you’ve read the programme (which the script should not require), it’s unclear what Sandy’s doing or where she is. The disorientation creates a sense of detachment: if we don’t know her mission, we cannot be invested in whether she’ll achieve it. Additionally, a child breaking into a prison (or care home) has little stakes. What will happen if she’s caught? A reprimand and a call home. The scenario doesn’t inspire the sort of apprehension necessary to hold interest without any context to support it.

The story picks up when Sandy reaches her gran, and they make their escape. There’s good interaction between the characters and solid acting all around. The adult Carlton is impressively convincing as an 11-year-old. Josh Asaré is charming as flustered trainee-carer Peter. Ellie Dickens brings adept lightness to Donna, Sandy’s grandmother who is suffering from dementia. Although described as “not nice”, Lainy Boyle brings humanity to burned-out head nurse Arden.

The script continues to hit snags. The faltering pace makes the play feel far longer than its 60-minute runtime. An abundance of opportunities for humour aren’t fully capitalised on. There’s an attempt to pack what could be a second full-length play into the final ten minutes: Sandy’s father (Alec Nicholls) is introduced, along with a barrage of information about his relationship with Sandy and Donna, and Sandy’s absent mother. The scene quickly escalates to melodrama that isn’t necessarily earned, considering we’re just meeting the father. We don’t have the connection to him we need to feel his devastation as he confronts his failings. This is an intriguing, complicated family. It’s a shame the play only scratches their surface at the very end.

Alcatraz is a relevant, well-acted play with brilliant story concept. If Wood can work out the kinks in the script, Alcatraz could be a powerful show.


Reviewed by Addison Waite


Vault Festival 2019


Part of VAULT Festival 2019




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A Haunting – 4*

A Haunting

Vault Festival

Press Night – 16 February 2017


“Original, chilling and hugely entertaining”

The shows we’ve seen at this year’s Vault festival have fallen neatly into two categories – those ‘needing a lot of work’, and those that are pretty pleasing already. Nathan Lucky Wood’s A Haunting falls directly into the upper ends of the latter – not altogether surprising as it had run previously to mainly positive reviews at the King’s Head Theatre.

For this transfer, A Haunting is staged in one the Vault’s most atmospheric locations, The Pit, which perfectly evokes the chilling content of the play. If you’ve never visited the Vault Theatre, it is a hidden marvel with a labyrinth like array of performance spaces belied by its slightly insalubrious looking location.

The plot of  A Haunting explores the world of teenager Mark (Roly Botha), who like so many of his generation, whiles away the hours in an online gaming world. It’s in this world he encounters ‘Ghost’ (Jake Curran – the only cast member reprising his role from the King’s Head original),  at first just a faceless game-mate on Counterstrike but soon someone we start to question the motives of, which appear to be becoming more and more sinister…

When Ghost finally succeeds in cajoling Mark into meeting, there’s a certain assumption that you know what’s going to happen next. But A Haunting throws you a curve ball, this is not a straightforward tale of a confused teenager being groomed.

With errant parents, a father barely mentioned and a mother (Izabella Urbanowicz) blinkered to what’s happening to her son, Mark’s life appears to be in danger. Lured into the woods late at night, this is edge of your seat tension at its finest.

Teasingly the show leaves some questions unanswered and its ending open to interpretation by the audience.

Jake Curran plays the creepily unstable Ghost character so convincingly at times its frightening, whilst Izabella Urbanowicz as Mark’s mother Anna comes into her own when she finally realises the mortal danger her son may be in. Stand out performance though goes to Roly Botha, one of the brightest young acting talents around at the moment; you can genuinely feel for and believe in his character.

A Haunting has an all too short run – ending Sunday 19th February. But this is one of those shows, you just know will make a return. And return it must. Original, chilling and hugely entertaining.




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