Tag Archives: Nathaniel Wade

The Canterville Ghost


Unicorn Theatre

The Canterville Ghost

The Canterville Ghost

 Unicorn Theatre

Reviewed – 20th November 2019



“this spirited show in London Bridge is going to bring a smile to a good many people’s faces over the next few weeks”


Oscar Wilde’s 1887 short story is given a 21st century makeover at one of the capital’s leading theatres for young audiences.

Diplomat Hiram Otis is posted to England with his rabble family. They rent an old Gothic mansion that turns out to have a resident ghost, one Sir Simon Canterville. Attempts to spook the Otis’s by Sir Simon are ignored by the streetwise New Yorkers and this ghost who has been looking for a resting place for over three hundred years is in utter despair, until baby of the family Virginia, takes him seriously, listens to him and helps solve the riddle that will allow him to rest in peace.

This tale is presented with the aid of illusion and magic, Sir Simon having his head under his arm, objects appearing and disappearing, flying furniture and even a body being sawn in half. A simple set (Rosie Elnile) consisting of a blood stained carpet, two large tables and a model house symbolising the mansion are all utilised to the maximum and moved about with an impressive slickness. Lighting (Prema Mehta) is immensely impressive, the windows in the model house all lighting up and the illusions neatly disguised.

This is a highly amusing adaptation, every neatly constructed line seems to contain no words with less than six syllables and the characterisations are pitched perfectly for a young audience, with the humour appreciated greatly by the children, without it being childish. This is a thoughtfully directed piece by Justin Audibert, a huge amount of energy has been injected into the play and so much of the action is delivered with a real flourish.

All the cast are strong, the twin boys, played by girls (Rose-Marie Christian & Mae Munuo) always in unison, Nathaniel Wade enthusiastically playing elder son Washington who is inventing a hat containing an umbrella and Safiyya Ingar charming as green fingered Virginia. Maple syrup loving Dad (Nana Amoo-Gottfried) and interior designed obsessed Mum (Beth Cordingly) are spot on with their relationship and handling of their slightly troublesome offspring. Paul McEwan has a ball playing Sir Simon, I was concerned that the way he slurs a lot of his lines could make it difficult for youngsters, who are hanging on his every word, to decipher what he’s saying. Annie Fitzmaurice as the Scottish housemaid is a positive delight, it was like lifting Private Frazer from Dad’s Army into a female body, all doom, gloom and threats of varicose veins, she was hilarious.

The pace slackened a little in the second act, but the packed audience, consisting mainly of children, absolutely loved it. The young lad sitting next to me rushed back from the interval and announced that he couldn’t wait to see what would happen next.

With Unicorn’s magic and a ghost, I think that this spirited show in London Bridge is going to bring a smile to a good many people’s faces over the next few weeks and is perfect material for all the family.


Reviewed by Chris White

Photography by Manuel Harlan


The Canterville Ghost

 Unicorn Theatre until 5th January


Chris White’s last ten reviews:
Citysong | ★★★★ | Soho Theatre | June 2019
Little Light | ★★★ | The Tower Theatre | June 2019
Feel The Love | ★★★★ | Chickenshed Theatre | July 2019
Parenthood | ★★★½ | The Space | July 2019
Form | ★★★★★ | Camden People’s Theatre | August 2019
Title Of Show | ★★★ | Moors Bar | August 2019
A Great Big Sigh | ★★★ | Hen & Chickens Theatre | September 2019
Moth Hunting | ★★★★ | Cockpit Theatre | September 2019
Chasing Ghosts | ★★★½ | Etcetera Theatre | October 2019
Some Like It Hip Hop | ★★★★★ | Peacock Theatre | October 2019


Click here to see our most recent reviews


Checkpoint Chana – 4 Stars


Checkpoint Chana

Finborough Theatre

Reviewed – 5th March 2018


“Somerville’s command of the stage is exemplary and brings an added intensity to an already complex terrain”


Stepping into the intimate and distinguished Finborough Theatre, we are immediately transported to the milieu of poet Bev Hemmings, under public scrutiny for an apparently anti-Semitic comparison in a recent poem. Jeff Page’s ‘Checkpoint Chana’ not only questions the grey area between pro-Palestinian criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism but also manages to emphasise the creative questions of self-expression and individual interpretation within sensitive boundaries.

Before the play begins, Daisy Blower’s artfully designed room, scattered with carefully selected props and evocative seventies music do more than simply set the scene; the details cleverly hint at the poet’s past and paint a picture of the seemingly carefree, bohemian life she leads. The lighting (Jamie Platt), subtly used throughout the play to intensify but not intrude, adds a warm, comfortable glow.

Out of this evolves the agony of being misunderstood and fear of losing everything, with a brilliant performance by Geraldine Somerville as Bev, whose emotions sway from disbelief to anger, frustration and resignation, deepened by the guilty grief over her dying father. Her command of the stage is exemplary and brings an added intensity to an already complex terrain. Ulrika Krishnamurti (Tamsin) portrays Bev’s PA who has the difficult job of persuading her to apologise as well as managing her erratic behaviour. However, her youth and the strength of her personality show as nervous earnestness which consequently depicts a detached working relationship, lacking plausible closeness, rather than a strong, familiar bond built up over the years. David, played by Matt Mella, the journalist prepared to help with the recovery of Bev’s reputation, surprises us with his twists of character and a moving account of painful memories. Nathaniel Wade is excellent as Michael, establishing an identity from the moment he appears, and building a rapport with the poet from very little interaction.

The script is an interesting comment on tiptoeing around political correctness by doing just that. With a pointedly politically-correct cast it lays down the various opinions as a debate with no conclusion, as opposed to a standpoint. Apart from a few unneeded jokes the drama works well as layers of complication thicken the argument. Director, Manuel Bau, concentrates on the trauma Bev is going through, leaving the changes of scene as subtle as possible and showing how one wrong step could turn her world about.

Thoughtful writing, a beautifully detailed set and some powerful performances make this a compelling production intellectually, aesthetically and emotionally.


Reviewed by Joanna Hetherington 

Photography by Samuel Kirkman


Checkpoint Chana

Finborough Theatre until 20th March



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