Tag Archives: Stephen Riddle



White Bear Theatre



“the potential for an exciting clash of cultures in this piece never transpires”

Just Stop Extinction Rebellion is a hopeful play about finding romance, and finding yourself, in the autumn of life whilst the world is burning. An overtly political play this is not – admitted by the playwright, Brad Sutherland, in a note on the programme. The context in which the central pair meet, at an upper-middle class, West London climate activist group, is little more than incidental and could as easily have been a church choir. However, the meet cute does reflect the pair’s need to find meaning beyond their own little lives – seeking hope that more people can be saved from the actions they take.

The two leads are the effervescent Millicent Forbes-Frobischer of Barnes, patron of the Globe and regular at Waitrose, played with aplomb by Louise Bangay, and plain old Ben, soppy and staid James Price. Millicent is seven months separated from her husband under circumstances left unresolved. Ben is equally frustrated in his marriage, having been pushed out by his wife, Petra (Orsolya Nagy) who calls herself an ‘evil bitch’. Over the course of many months, the two grow closer as they share in their marriage woes and plot with fellow activists Gaia (also Nagy), George (Stephen Riddle) and Mrs Warboys (Hilary Field). Whilst there is sweetness to the pairs developing relationship after so many years out of the dating game, Price’s Ben is wet and left wanting beside Bangay as the dazzling Millicent. And whereas Millicent benefits from a clearly defined character arc, Ben is walked all over by his cruel wife and ends pretty much back where he started.

More interesting is the relationship between Millicent and George as their ideas for addressing the climate emergency rub up against each other. George raises motions to use guerrilla tactics of egg bombing cars and lying down in the road to halt traffic. Millicent wants to affect change through policy, and proposes a motion as such at her first meeting. His patronising quotation of Mark Twain ‘if I don’t read newspapers I’m I’ll informed, if I read them I’m uninformed’ receives a quipped at equally belittling reply from Millicent and we realise George may have met his match.

“Kenneth Michaels makes some odd directorial choices”

Whilst the plays author, Brad Sutherland, may apologise for trying to write a balanced play airing both sides, in my view, that’s a strength. Both approaches are necessary – activism for raising consciousness and demanding change and policymaking for driving the change. The characters’ perspectives are perhaps influenced by their power – Millicent as an upper middle class woman with connections in the media and government can demand and achieve attention for her policy ideas. George, whose daughter has recently died, just wants immediate action.

Kenneth Michaels makes some odd directorial choices, namely the cheesy dancing sequences to ‘Walking on Sunshine’ the extended chanting and breathwork sequences by the spiritual Gaia. Nagy’s caricatured performance in a rainbow streaked wig and billowing costumes (Samantha Parry) makes a mockery of activism without any redeeming features.

Despite the strong performance of Louise Bangay and a chameleonic turn from Stephen Riddle as Millicent’s dapper husband Henry, the potential for an exciting clash of cultures in this piece never transpires and instead the play’s emotional heart is left wanting by weak characters and parodied performances.


Reviewed on 1st February 2024

by Amber Woodward

Photography by Paddy Gormley




Previously reviewed at this venue:

I FOUND MY HORN | ★★★★ | February 2023
THE MIDNIGHT SNACK | ★★★ | December 2022
THE SILENT WOMAN | ★★★★ | April 2022
US | ★★★★ | February 2022
MARLOWE’S FATE | ★★★ | November 2021
LUCK BE A LADY | ★★★ | June 2021



Eros – 2 Stars



White Bear Theatre

Reviewed – 30th August 2018


“There are certainly moments that have potential, where the dramatic tension begins to draw you in, but unfortunately, these are few”


Click. Flash. Boom. A picture is worth a thousand words. As the saying goes. With a press of a button, a moment can be encapsulated forever – a piece of reality on film. But what happens when reality has been manipulated to supply a fantasy? What happens when the fantasy wants to take over? Eros makes a good attempt at dealing with the notion of consent within the art world, but fails to delve as far as it could have gone.

Ross was once a well-known photographer, capturing stunning women. He says he took photos to depict the art of beauty. Kate, a previous model and love affair of Ross remembers things differently, in front of the lens. Kate makes a surprise visit to Ross’ studio, after twenty years apart, and now she is looking for answers and justice for what he did. Terri, a young runaway who has recently been living in the studio in exchange for doing odd jobs, finds it hard to believe the past of a man she has come to know as only showing her pure kindness.

Living in an era where historical sexual assault or ‘sexploitation’ cases have risen to the surface, Eros seems, on paper, to be a highly relevant piece of theatre. Playwright Kevin Mandry makes a thought-provoking decision of setting the play in the nineties, a good twenty years before the recent eruption of people bravely stepping forward, illustrating our change in attitude to dealing with such matters of physical or mental abuse. Back then, only small steps were being made. If the play was set in present day, I’m sure the character Kate would go to the police.

What comes across as odd within the play is the dynamic between Kate and Ross. One minute Kate is filled with hatred towards Ross for his past behaviour, the next, she is reminiscing the old times, drinking, dancing, laughing. It would be understandable if this was a tactic Kate uses to push Ross into a false sense of security. If this was Mandry’s intention, it certainly does not come across this way. Instead, the character arc just seems confused with Kate’s motives not ever being clear.

Felicity Jolly as Terri offers the most genuine performance, giving a believable turn as a naïve, confused, young woman, seeing only the best in people. Stephen Riddle and Anna Tymoshenko as Ross and Kate have moments of true connection, which you can’t take your eyes off of, however, most of the time, dialogue feels forced, as they stiffly move about the stage as placed by the director (Stephen Bailey).

As previously mentioned, Eros seems to tick the right boxes on paper, yet fails to deliver the goods in its execution. What could have been a tense, high-stakes psychological drama, set in the claustrophobic studio, ends up being rather lack-lustre. There are certainly moments that have potential, where the dramatic tension begins to draw you in, but unfortunately, these are few. A provocative idea that misses the mark.


Reviewed by Phoebe Cole

Photography by Stephanie Claire Photography



White Bear Theatre until 15th September



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