THE PILLOWMAN at the Oxford Playhouse

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The stories which create a framework for the play are horrible and brilliant at the same time. Reminiscent of the writings of T. C. Boyle, there are very few happy endings in Katurian’s stories, but they raise the fascinating questions of how the creative mind works, and what factors can bring out the dark heart of literature, and of humanity. Martin McDonagh is a superb writer, and has created stories to hold together the narrative arc of the play which captivate the audience from the beginning.

ETO’s LIFE ON THE MOON at Bath Theatre Royal

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“From the first moment, when a smiling Ronan Busfield (Cecco) regales us from the front of the stage to explain the synopsis, to “those of you who haven’t been generous enough to buy the programme,” and confides with us that “Soprano Jane Harrington is still in her dressing room worrying about the size of her hips”, we are under no illusion that we are witness to ‘something slightly different’. . . It was always director Cal McCrystal’s intention to tease out belly laughs from this preposterous tale of misogyny, delusion, love and come-uppance.”

The Hypochondriac at the Everyman Cheltenham

The Hypochondriac - Tony Robinson as Argan and Imogen Stubbs as Beline - Photo credit Simon Annand - (ref193)

“Tony Robinson was very watchable and entertaining but was not given his head and allowed to run with the performance in a way in which I am sure he would have been capable. David Collings, as the cutely named Diafoirehoea, was also good in a restrained way but it was only Imogen Stubbs as the pushy, money-grabbing wife Beline, who showed what could have been done. Her performance had elements of farce which were sadly missing from the rest of the production.”

ECHO BEACH at Cooper’s Loft at the Bristol Old Vic

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” . . Her personal style is engaging and fluid and not without a sense of humour. . . . It’s a brave thing to do to think you can entertain a bunch of people in this way, but Hannah Sullivan does it in some style. Here is novelty and innovation on the unclaimed land between dance and mime presented with confidence and skill – rare talents. Where she goes next we shall have to wait and see and content ourselves for the time being with this little nugget.”

THE WINDOW at the Bristol Old Vic Studio

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“. . . Charlotte Melia, as the storyteller, turns in a commanding performance. Her style is the very lack of style in that she could be any intelligent, opinionated woman suffering anguish at what some may describe as low-level sexual harassment. She is in that sense, ‘everywoman’. However, what Semerciyan successfully succeeds in showing is that ‘even’ this kind of behaviour is not without consequences. . . Melia’s no frills, matter-of-fact, woman-next-door approach, provide the necessary ballast in the character’s journey from, ‘a kind of love’, for lonely neighbour, Ted (seen originally through ‘the window’), to a kind of hate after the sequence of events she relates.”

SOLOMAN AND MARION at Birmingham Rep Studio

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“. . . [Suzman] is an undeniably accomplished stage presence, emanating warmth in even her steeliest moments . . . it is Anthony who makes the greater impression here. Charming yet volatile, the speech in which Solomon finally gives “Miss Marion” full disclosure for his reasons for watching her is a masterclass in emotive storytelling . . . Quiet and disquieting, Solomon and Marion is a story of discursive revelation, one where a pineapple atop a television makes a strong case for hopefulness.”