Tag Archives: Sarah Kosar


The Yard Theatre



The Yard Theatre

Reviewed – 5th June 2019



“at an unsettling, anxiety-inducing pitch, the play takes us to the darkest corners of our society”


In small town America, Sam (Michelle Fox) and her husband John (Mark Quartley) have a thing for guns. ‘Thing’ as in obsession: they can’t leave the house or sleep without one. ‘Thing’ also as in fetish: the cold steel plays a prominent role in their sex life. Sam was kidnapped when she was thirteen. Someone with a gun rescued her. Guns are her comfort and her safety.

But one night, John accidentally shoots Sam in the arm during a sex game, and they decide to cut guns out of their lives completely. This is easier said than done when Sam’s brother Scotty (Nima Taleghani) comes to stay with a full arsenal, and the news reports a local girl, Jessica, has been kidnapped. All of Sam’s unresolved emotions come flooding back. Under the pressure, cracks spread through Sam and John’s marriage, Sam’s mental stability, and their gun-abstinence pact.

Far from being simple gun control propaganda, Sarah Kosar’s Armadillo is bold enough to delve into an issue most of us want to see as black and white. At an unsettling, anxiety-inducing pitch, the play takes us to the darkest corners of our society: where young girls are kidnapped, sexually abused, and murdered. Where even the staunchest anti-gun activists might catch themselves thinking, ‘if I’d had a gun…’

The design team submerges us into the nightmare, creating a paranoid fever-dream of flashing neon lights and pulsing, hallucinatory blackouts (Jessica Hung Han Yun), sharp sounds (Anna Clock), and disrupted media projections (Ash J Woodward). Like ticking bombs, the constant, ominous presence of guns keeps the audience on edge throughout the ninety minutes. Stuffed in couch cushions, under pillows, in the freezer, firearms are littered throughout Jasmine Swan’s clever, intriguing set. Raised platforms display a deconstructed house (a mattress, a toilet), encircled by calf-deep water.

Kosar impressively interrogates the complexity of Sam’s trauma as she struggles with whether she’s justified in being as damaged as she is. “Nothing really even happened!” people love telling her, since her kidnapper threatened but never touched her. However, John and Scotty are noticeably shallower characters. The dialogue between the three of them is uneven, awkward, and unnatural, which carries over into Fox, Quartley, and Taleghani’s delivery. It may be a stylistic choice by Kosar and director Sara Joyce as part of the uncomfortable, surreal aesthetic, but the stilted lines prevent the characters (even Sam) from feeling like real people, which makes them difficult to connect with.

There’s plenty of sharp observation in the play’s themes of addiction, enabling (and the guilt that motivates it), coping with trauma, toxic relationships, fetishising violence, and self-destructive behaviour. Armadillos famously jump when scared, which often results in them being hit by cars that would have harmlessly passed over them. Their defence ironically puts them in more danger. It’s a shrewd analogy for the way Americans reach for automatic weapons in search of safety.


Reviewed by Addison Waite

Photography by Maurizio Martorana



The Yard Theatre until 22nd June


Previously reviewed at this venue:
Hotter Than A Pan | ★★★★ | January 2019
Plastic Soul | ★★★★ | January 2019
A Sea Of Troubles | ★★★★★ | February 2019
Cuteness Forensics | ★★½ | February 2019
Sex Sex Men Men | ★★★★★ | February 2019
To Move In Time | ★★½ | February 2019
Ways To Submit | ★★★★ | February 2019


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Mumburger thespyinthestalls


The Old Red Lion Theatre

Opening Night – 30th June 2017




“an exciting, moving, hilarious and provocative piece of theatre”


The first thing we hear from Tiffany (Rosie Wyatt) is an extended burp, caused by her opening and downing a can of Diet Coke on stage. It’s a good introduction to this immensely visceral play, in which the playwright, Sarah Kosar, explores the pain that stems from grief and emotional isolation by putting the body centre stage.

The metaphorical is made concrete. It’s a simple, but effective theatrical concept, and is cleverly offset by the striking visual projections behind the action, which serve as a continual reminder of the online world which we all increasingly inhabit.

Photography courtesy of Lidia Crisafulli

Kosar is a playful playwright, both in her willingness to embrace the surreal, and the evident pleasure she takes in the spoken word. There are some wonderful Ortonesque moments – ‘And I just lost my mum. My parent. I’m a half-orphan now’, Tiffany spits at her dad (Andrew Frame) towards the beginning of the show. I also loved the sections of Kate Tempest inspired spoken word in the piece, in which Tiffany tries to make sense of her painful emotional landscape.

Despite the subject matter, the play is also extremely funny, and it’s a testament to both the playwright and the two performers that this reviewer both cried with laughter and was moved to tears within the show’s 75 minute time frame. Andrew Frame’s Hugh was a poignant portrait of a man initially paralysed by the loss of his wife, slowly returning to the world and re-finding his relationship with his daughter.

Witnessing him open up, both physically and vocally, over the course of the play, was a delight. Although I could have done with a little more tonal variation, Rosie Wyatt was convincing too as the neurotic 25 year old Tiffany, weighed down by the loss of her mother, inching towards the light. Tommo Fowler’s able and subtle direction allowed each character to breathe, and the design team (Robbie Butler – lighting; Odinn Orn Hilmarsson – sound; Charlotte Henery – set and costume; Fed – projection) created an arresting visual and aural world.

Mumburger is an exciting, moving, hilarious and provocative piece of theatre. Kosar is clearly a talent to watch.


Reviewed by Rebecca Crankshaw


Mumburger thespyinthestalls


plays at The Old Red Lion until July 22nd