Tag Archives: Riad Richie




Jermyn Street Theatre

INFAMOUS at Jermyn Street Theatre



“There are wonderful moments of humour and wit”

Lady Emma Hamilton was a truly fascinating figure. Reading her Wikipedia page is akin to a modern gossip column – salacious affairs, a secret love child and an obsession with keeping up appearances for the media. Emma is perhaps most well-known for her ‘attitudes’ – alluring tableaux vivants in which she portrayed sculptures and paintings – made her an international superstar and started a fashion for a draped Grecian style of dress.

Directed by Michael Oakley and written by April De Angelis, Infamous delivers a neat summary of it all whilst asking its audience to consider whether a woman can really be famous and respectable.

Using a hand time skip, Infamous presents Emma at two different points in her life: 1798 and 1815. In the former, Emma is played by Rose Quentin and her mother-cum-housekeeper, Mrs Cadogan, played by her real-life mother Caroline Quentin. Here, Emma is vivacious, at the peak of her fame. Married to Sir William Hamilton, she lives in the beautiful Palazzo Sessa overlooking Mount Vesuvius. However, Emma has her sights set on becoming the mistress or indeed wife of the great Lord Horatio Nelson and climb further up the social and political ladder.

Yet, by 1815, Emma (now played by Caroline) is near-destitute living with her daughter by Nelson – Horatia (Rose) – in a barn in Calais. Abandoned by Nelson’s family after his death, the duo has nothing to her name. Emma, consumed by drink, encourages Horatia to pursue the local mayor’s son in hopes that her daughter will repeat her own success in rising to high society. Horatia serves a similar purpose to Saffy from Absolutely Fabulous – the sensible foil to her eccentric mother.

There is great chemistry between the two Quentens. Caroline is expectedly wonderful – demonstrating her incredible range by playing two entirely different characters with such ease. Rose is good too – best as Horatia. Rose’s young Emma is a bit overblown at points – her accent a bit too overblown. The younger Quenten also appears to be a fan of a knowing glance to the audience which at points unfortunately undercuts her performance and our immersion in the play. Riad Richie provides great support despite most of his lines being in French or Italian for his respective roles – Vincenzo and Jacques Fournier – in the two halves.

There are wonderful moments of humour and wit. Caroline excels as mad old Emma and her rendition of the attitudes for a confused Jacques garners the most laughs. The second half has a quicker pace and more interest of the two – we are at first amused by our selfish lead’s fall from grace but then feel tremendous pathos at her death, in no small part to Caroline’s amazing performance.

The set is excellently designed by Fotini Dimou. The painted wall panels of the Italian villa transform seamlessly into the haphazard wooden slats of the French barn in which Emma and Horatia are forced to reside. Christopher Naire provides gentle but effective lighting – the soft but vibrant light of dusk and dawn rendered beautifully.

Lady Emma Hamilton was a woman of pure ambition. Lampooned in the media and gathering equal number enemies and supports wherever she went, it is hard not to admire her dedication to fame, fortune and influence. Infamous shows a bit of everything, never feeling too rushed or too slow, and has a great acting duo at its heart. Well worth a watch.

INFAMOUS at Jermyn Street Theatre

Reviewed on 12th September 2023

by Flora Doble

Photography by Steve Gregson


Previously reviewed at this venue:

Spiral | ★★ | August 2023
Farm Hall | ★★★★ | March 2023
Love All | ★★★★ | September 2022
Cancelling Socrates | ★★★★ | June 2022
Orlando | ★★★★ | May 2022
Footfalls and Rockaby | ★★★★★ | November 2021
The Tempest | ★★★ | November 2021
This Beautiful Future | ★★★ | August 2021



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A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Arundel and Ladbroke Gardens

A Midsummer Nights Dream

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Arundel and Ladbroke Gardens

Reviewed – 25th June 2019



“this setting could have been made for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with Tatty Hennessy born to direct”


Stepping into a normally locked, private garden a few long days after the Summer Solstice is the perfect entry to Shakespeare’s fantastic interplay of human passions and fairy spells. Arundel and Ladbroke Gardens supplies a cluster of trees and shrubs, to be adorned with bunting and soft lighting and it’s not long before this Shakespeare in the Squares production transports you sufficiently to block out the Notting Hill noise beyond the hedge.

This is Tatty Hennessy’s third production with the company, her last being a 1970s Music Festival setting for As you Like It, an interpretation that played better than most because it followed the cultural, fashion and musical spirit of the work rather than indulging a historical theory. Indeed, the idea of a 1920s Midsummer Night’s Dream initially suggests some convoluted connection being made, between two eras of post-war fallout. Thankfully, it is again the decade’s cultural resonances that are reflected, with costume (Emma Lindsey) and music (Richard Baker) bringing out the play’s themes of attraction, love, magic and bacchanalia with effortless aptness. The aesthetics of burlesque and 1920s Music Hall are a fine fit for the lusts and jealousies of Hermia, Lysander, Demetrius and Helena, just as suited to the Mechanicals’ ham-fisted style of entertainment and afford the fairy characters a louche, decadent manner whether carelessly casting spells or settling back with popcorn to enjoy the emotional carnage they’ve caused.

The casting for this troupe of players, most of whom must double up as musicians and singers as well as other characters, is a triumph of talent logistics. Paul Giddings trisects Theseus, Oberon and Quince, bringing a quizzical authority that plays differently but superbly to each. Gemma Barnett’s combination of delicacy and bravery works as well to fair Hermia as to the Fairy as to Snug’s hilariously pathetic lion. Yet the versatility comes with no loss of individual stamp as Hannah Sinclair Robinson elevates Helena to a point where she competes for notional title of Comedy Lead with James Tobin’s left eyebrow, which cocks winningly as it brings some drag queen insouciance to Puck.

Ensemble playing is hearty and energetic with the cast’s movement (Yarit Dor) reaching into and around the audience, enhanced by the cast’s ad libs and some witty design details (Emily Stuart with Eleanor Tipler). If sometimes laughs are pursued too ardently it’s an understandable side-effect of the show’s mission to help even a child in the back row enjoy Shakespeare.

Finding new ways to access Shakespeare never grows old and, aside from the Portaloos and sirens, this setting could have been made for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with Tatty Hennessy born to direct.


Reviewed by Dominic Gettins

Photography by James Miller


A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Various London Squares and Gardens until 11th July


Last ten shows covered by this reviewer:
Fool Britannia | ★★★ | The Vaults | January 2019
Cheating Death | ★★ | Cockpit Theatre | February 2019
The South Afreakins | ★★★★★ | The Space | February 2019
Tobacco Road | ★★★★ | Network Theatre | February 2019
How Eva Von Schnippisch Won WWII | ★★★★ | The Vaults | March 2019
Butterfly Powder: A Very Modern Play | ★★★★ | Rosemary Branch Theatre | April 2019
The Fatal Eggs | ★★★★★ | Barons Court Theatre | April 2019
Tony’s Last Tape | ★★★★ | Omnibus Theatre | April 2019
Fuck You Pay Me | ★★★★ | The Bunker | May 2019
Much Ado About Not(h)Ing | ★★★ | Cockpit Theatre | June 2019


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