Tag Archives: Paul Brotherston

Medicine – 3 Stars



The Hope Theatre

Reviewed – 16th August 2018


“There are some terrific, sharp exchanges between mother and daughter which both ring true and are very funny indeed”


Meghan Tyler, who wrote Medicine, and also plays Moira-Bridget Byrne in this production, tells us in the programme notes that she was inspired to write the play after listening to the song Medicine, by Daughter. It is a haunting song, and its influence is clearly felt in Paul Brotherston’s beautiful, spare production. The set is bare, other than an old park bench, but the subtle and insistent sound design (terrific work from Iida Aino) and the perfect, nuanced lighting (credit here to Will Alder) work in tandem to provide the ideal, understated backdrop for Ms Tyler’s three-hander.

The play takes place on a clifftop in Northern Ireland, and mainly consists of a long conversation between Ma Byrne and her daughter Moira-Bridget, who has fetched up there after a drunken night out. Tyler has a good ear, and the dialogue initially zips along, ably treading the tight line between believability and theatrical interest. There are some terrific, sharp exchanges between mother and daughter which both ring true and are very funny indeed, and the moon-cup section (yes, ladies and gentlemen, you did read that correctly) was a particular high-spot.

The play does lose pace about a third of the way through, and the writing begins to become slightly repetitive, but the ball is kept in the air by Lynsey-Anne Moffat, who excels as Ma Byrne, and is heartbreakingly convincing throughout. Possibly because, as the writer, she is very close to the piece, Meghan Tyler’s Moira-Bridget doesn’t ring as true, and the character seems less fully realised than those of her parents. The play’s denouement reveals a level of seriousness to Moira-Bridget’s plight which does not come across when we see her on stage, and it takes the achingly poignant final scene between Ma and Da Byrne to lend some emotional gravitas. Adam Best was wonderful as Da Byrne; it seemed a shame not to use his talents more fully. Ultimately though, the play is Ma’s story, which puts flesh on the bones of the song lyric: ‘You’ve got a warm heart, you’ve got a beautiful brain/But it’s disintegrating from all the medicine’.

Medicine marks a very good writing debut for Meghan Tyler, and there is clearly a wealth of talent in the cast and creatives who have realised it. It is a diverting hour for theatre lovers and proof that The Hope continues to thrive under Matthew Parker, as the OFFIES recognised last year, awarding him the Best Artistic Director title. Long may it continue.


Reviewed by Rebecca Crankshaw

Photography by Alex Fine



The Hope Theatre until 1st September


Previous production from Off The Middle
In Other Words | ★★★★★ | The Hope Theatre | March 2017


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



In Other Words

In Other Words




28 Feb – 18 Mar | The Hope Theatre


“I’d always fancied myself as a bit of a Sinatra.
And that song, at a moment like that.
Well, it just doesn’t get much more perfect, does it?”

They call it ‘the incident’ now. What happened, when they first met. He always said it was part of his romantic plan, but they both know that’s rubbish. Join Arthur and Jane, at the beginning, as they tell us their story. 

Fresh from a residency at the Lyric Hammersmith as part of their Emerging Artists Programme, Off the Middle are excited to present Matthew Seager’s debut play IN OTHER WORDS, directed by Paul Brotherston.

This intimate, humorous, and deeply moving love story, explores the effects of Alzheimer’s disease and the incredible power that music has in helping us to remember the past, connect to the present, and hope for the future.

Brought to life by two actors, we are led through fifty years of Arthur and Jane’s relationship, jumping in and out of memories and experiencing, for brief moments, a failing mind as it loses its grip on reality.



Arthur – Matthew Seager
Jane – TBC


Producer – Stephanie Withers
Director – Paul Brotherston
Assistant Director – Euan Tyre
Designer – Paul Brotherston
Sound Designer – Iida Aino
Stage Manager – Stephanie Withers


Off the Middle are an exciting new company currently presenting two original shows. In Other Words was developed as part of the Lyric Hammersmith’s Emerging Artists Residency, and Lead Suspect was awarded the Farnham Maltings No Strings Attached grant. For In Other Words, Off the Middle are also proud to be working in association with The Alzheimer’s Society and Playlist for Life, and under the mentorship of Hartshorn – Hook Productions. Lead Suspect will tour in Autumn 2017.



by Matthew Seager

28 Feb – 18 Mar
Tuesday – Saturday 7.45pm


The Hope Theatre
207 Upper Street
London N1 1RL

Tickets £15 & £12 concs
Box Office: 0333 666 3366




Share this article