Tag Archives: Tori Allen-Martin




VAULT Festival 2020



Crescent – The Vaults

Reviewed – 21st February 2020



“A more nuanced approach to this narrative would’ve made this script by Sarah Henley, far more successful”


Elyot (Timothy O’Hara) is living a life of strict routine, a life that avoids external forces. He rotates wordless records that he plays on his gramophone, his alarm is going off constantly, moving him on to the next thing, keeping him in motion (sound design by Ally Poole). He is counting down his life with a week by week tally. He has two plants that he spritzes regularly, and he is building a boat. He’s here and ready to improve. Until Laquaya (Nina Barker-Francis) climbs through his window, dancing into the stage space, and kicking over his plant. She’s 14, she’s a feminist and until recently, a young carer – and she’s here to meet her father. Over the course of the play the two very different characters find commonality, sharing a loneliness that the other might be the cure for.

The themes of ‘Essence’ are well worth exploring – loneliness, grief, difference, separated family members – but the writing is too heavy handed. Elyot’s transformation feels like flipping a switch it happens so fast, and as a result doesn’t feel believable. And his process of acceptance is too literally presented to the audience. A more nuanced approach to this narrative would’ve made this script by Sarah Henley, far more successful. Whilst the final scene is lovely, the best in the play, it feels like an obvious destination for the narrative.

Nina Barker-Francis is a brilliant presence on stage, full of energy and warmth and honesty. Her entrance lifts the piece and it is her we are rooting for through out. Timothy O’Hara is also strong, but he has a harder job with such an insular character that doesn’t bring much energy to the stage. He is particularly lovely in the final scene as we see the character begin to come out of himself and let go. Henley creates two very different characters and in doing so puts an unusual and interesting dynamic onstage.

The stage, set up as Elyot’s home, features all the components for his routine. As he begins to accept Laquaya in his life, these components evolve as he does. The themes and the characters are the strength of this show, delivered by our two actors. But the narrative itself lacks the nuance that this story requires.


Reviewed by Albert Owl


VAULT Festival 2020



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H.R.Haitch – 4 Stars



Union Theatre

Reviewed – 14th May 2018


“Never mind Harry and Meghan’s upcoming nuptials, Union Theatre, Southwark is hosting the Wedding of the Year!”


If your invitation to Harry and Meghan’s wedding has been lost in the post, there is an alternative being staged. No need to worry about paparazzi as the theatre is tucked away discreetly off Union Street in Southwark.

This new musical has a brilliantly witty script, although at times the storyline is predictable, it keeps you laughing from beginning to end. The songs by Luke Bateman are funny, original and are seamlessly weaved into the production. The actors are accompanied in song by a talented pianist (Oli George Rew) who is on set for the duration. There are so many great songs but to name a few stand outs … Tomorrow – Who Knows?, Bertie’s Love Song and Just Try Stopping Me.

The year is 2011, we have a new Prime Minister, the country is anticipating hosting the Olympics to be a disaster and the press is full of speculation about Prince Albert who has been in hiding for the last twenty years. The incredibly loveable Chelsea, played expertly by Tori Allen-Martin, has been dating the unassuming Bertie since their eyes met whilst boning a trout at catering college. Chelsea, fond of snapping “Chelfies” at every opportunity, has a deep hatred of the monarchy and a deep love for Bertie. As the speculation of who is Prince Albert mounts in the press, Bertie’s white lies get tangled and an amusing love story unfolds.

Prince Richard played by Christopher Lyne is highly entertaining as the hapless King in waiting desperately for Queen Mary to either pop her clogs or abdicate. Emily Jane Kerr is the crazed princess who will go to great lengths to secure her place on the throne.

This is a truly entertaining and unique piece of theatre that has you laughing out loud and hoping that the social media chav Chelsea becomes the next people’s princess. I would possibly lose the recurring “taxi” joke as the first time it was funny but by the fifth it was annoying.

Never mind Harry and Meghan’s upcoming nuptials, Union Theatre, Southwark is hosting the Wedding of the Year!


Reviewed by Angela East

Photography by Nick Rutter



Union Theatre until 2nd June


Previously reviewed at this venue
Carmen 1808 | ★★★★★ | February 2018
The Cherry Orchard | ★★★★ | March 2018
Twang!! | ★★★★ | April 2018


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