TV Review: The Split Series 3

The third and final series of The Split is hugely enjoyable, a wonderful showcase for Nicola Walker, Deborah Findlay and more 

“What is the secret to the good divorce?”

The glossy soap stylings of The Split are the kind of things that often get referred to as guilty pleasures but I would argue that there’s nothing guilty about enjoying Abi Morgan’s legal drama which has now finished its third and final series. And throwing in death, deception and yes, divorce, it ups the ante most successfully, delivering a satisfying set of conclusions for the Defoe family.

With Hannah hoping that divorce to Nathan might not actually be the end, Nina balancing new motherhood with an affair, and Rose about to adopt with James, the first episode throws its balls up in the air. And by the end, we’ve met Nathan’s new – pregnant – girlfriend, seen Nina tumble too deep and also watched someone die, setting the path for the three sisters to unwind with tears and recrimination aplenty, plus a whole lotta family love too. Continue reading “TV Review: The Split Series 3”

TV Review: The Split Series 3 Episode 1

Nicola Walker! Deborah Findlay! Lara Pulver! Annabel Scholey! Bonus Jemima Rooper! Anna Chancellor still to come! The return of The Split gets me overexcited

“She’s on the divorce front line”

Just a quickie to welcome back this delightful nonsense to our screens. The first episode of Series 3 of The Split picks up a few months down the line from the aftermath of the last series, with Nicola Walker’s Hannah and Stephen Mangan’s Nathan now negotiating the terms of their divorce and aiming – at first at least – to do it as amicably as possible given their intense family entanglements.

Of course, it’s never as simple as all that and in a heartbreakingly well done scene, Hannah’s hopes of reconciliation are dashed when Nathan sneaks in his swanky new girlfriend Kate (a brilliantly brittle Lara Pulver) to a big reunion party. And as the Defoe family are always marking some occasion or other, there’s a family bash in which so much awkwardness has to be endured. Continue reading “TV Review: The Split Series 3 Episode 1”

TV Review: Silent Witness Series 22

Series 22 of Silent Witness continues a rich vein of form as it hits 200 episodes of hot button topics

“Things don’t always conform to expectation”

Series 22 of Silent Witness sees the crime procedural hit the impressive landmark of 200 episodes and after the highs of the previous season, it maintains a strong standard of storytelling that keeps it feeling fresh, even if it does tend to fall back on its regular crutches as it refuses to let hardly any characters recur beyond their single stories. 

Even with Nikki having found love and managing to maintain a transatlantic relationship with Michael Landes’ US diplomat Matt from last time around, keeping him in Washington means he’s barely there. And new intern Alice, who gets to play a big part in the final case, is only introduced just beforehand which feels like a waste of Kiran Sonia Sawar (and also reduces the story’s emotional impact since she’s practically a stranger, qv Mexican intern Luisa from last season’s finale…). Continue reading “TV Review: Silent Witness Series 22”

TV Review: Silent Witness Series 10

Series 10 of Silent Witness, aka the one where they add episodes, make Harry a wannabe stand-up and Harry and Nikki do it, or do they?

“I went as far as I believed I could”

Because in TV-land, a young(ish) man and woman couldn’t possibly work together without shagging, Series 10 of Silent Witness sees the inevitable hooking-up of Nikki and Harry. Although to its credit, it instantly puts a fly in the ointment and in the harrowing final story, really earns the affection between this pair. 

As we flit from people-trafficking to performance art, angsty teenagers to animal rights activists, this emerges as a solid rather than spectacular series. Adding in a fifth story adds to the sense of general competence without really raising the stakes, until ‘Schism’ at least, though I’d question just how much mortal danger we ever thought ‘someone’ was in. Continue reading “TV Review: Silent Witness Series 10”

2021 Offie & ONCOMM Award Winners

In this ‘special circumstances’ year, the Offies 2021 Awards Ceremony celebrated the creativity and resilience of artists in fringe, alternative and independent theatre in a time of crisis who have found new ways to produce fresh and inventive work for thousands of stay-at-home audiences.

The Offies are OffWestEnd’s main awards, for shows with at least 10 performances, and awards were given to the best of the shows presented before lockdown and the few who managed to go ahead in the summer
months.

The OnComm is the new award for online shows from across the UK (and beyond) and was introduced in May 2020. Additionally, the winner of the OffFest award for theatre shows in festivals was also announced, alongside extra OneOff awards for innovative work and initiatives in 2020, especially in the light of the Covid lockdown. Continue reading “2021 Offie & ONCOMM Award Winners”

The finalists of The ONCOMMs 2021

The OnComm is the new award for online shows from across the UK (and beyond) and was introduced in
May 2020. 

1. Recording pre-lockdown (direct)
(i.e. with little or no editing)
Going Viral / Daniel Bye
Hysteria / Spymonkey
Jane Clegg / Finborough Theatre
The House Of Bernarda Alba / Graeae

2. Recording pre-lockdown (edited)
(i.e. with significant editing)
Bubble / Theatre Uncut
Cyprus Avenue / Royal Court & Abbey Theatre
SeaWall / Simon Stephens
The Encounter / Complicité Continue reading “The finalists of The ONCOMMs 2021”

10 top theatrical moments of 2020

In lieu of trying to make sense of this shitshow of a year through the normal year-end lists, I thought I’d just stick with an unranked list of 10 of my top theatrically based productions of the year

For reference, here’s my 2019 list, 2018 list, 2017 list2016 list2015 list and 2014 list.

Uncle Vanya, Harold Pinter Theatre

A rather exhilaratingly good take on the familiar Chekhov classic, a worthy presence in the West End.

The Wicker Husband, Watermill Theatre

One of the last things I saw before lockdown and what a gorgeous lingering memory to have, I pray that this is not the last we hear of this beautiful new musical. Continue reading “10 top theatrical moments of 2020”

Review: 15 Heroines – The War

Sophia Eleni, Ann Ogbomo, Rebekah Murrell, Jemima Rooper and Gemma Whelan star in 15 Heroines – The War, featuring writing from Charlotte Jones, Lettie Precious, Sabrina Mahfouz, Abi Zakarian and Hannah Khalil

“It’s always been said this is a man’s world

Read my overview of 15 Heroines here

Stories of the Trojan War
⭐️Laodamia: Our Own Private Love Island by Charlotte Jones, starring Sophia Eleni
⭐️Oenone: The Cost of Red Wine by Lettie Precious, starring Ann Ogbomo
⭐️Hermione: Will You? by Sabrina Mahfouz, starring Rebekah Murrell
⭐️Briseis: Perfect Myth Allegory by Abi Zakarian, starring Jemima Rooper
⭐️Penelope: Watching The Grass Grow, by Hannah Khalil, starring Gemma Whelan

Running time: each 5 play part of 15 Heroines is around 80 minutes
Photos: Sonay Shote/Marc Brenner 
15 Heroines is streaming Monday 9 – Saturday 14 November at 7.30pm / 3.00pm
The Desert Tuesday 10th 3.00pm; Wednesday 11th 7.30pm; Friday 13th 7.30pm
The War Monday 9th 7.30pm; Thursday 12th 7.30pm; Saturday 14th 3.00pm
The Labyrinth Tuesday 10th 7.30pm; Thursday 12th 3.00pm; Saturday 14th 7.30pm

Review: 15 Heroines

Reinterpreting the women of Greek mythology for today, the theatrical enterprise of 15 Heroines is a major achievement and a highlight of the year, digital or otherwise

“The gods should protect me”

15 Heroines comes to us in collaboration between the Jermyn Street Theatre and Digital Theatre as fifteen female and non-binary playwrights tackle Ovid’s Heroides, giving voice to the women of classical mythology anew. Split into three groups of five 15-minute monologues – The Labyrinth, The War, The Desert – this is a major theatrical enterprise that offers startlingly fresh perspective on these tales of old and serves as a reminder, as if it were needed, that men are trash.

Or more specifically, the men that we often describe as heros have serious issues when it comes to the women in their lives. There may be some excuse for the women left behind by The Trojan War –  Sophia Eleni’s Love Island-esque but still sweet Laodamia is the wife of the first soldier killed as explored by Charlotte Jones – but more often than not it is just men being (fuck)boys. Lettie Precious delves beautifully into Oenone’s feelings about being abandoned by Paris for Helen, Ann Ogbomo’s righteous fury scalds the screen. Continue reading “Review: 15 Heroines”

News: Jermyn Street Theatre’s 15 Heroines announces a truly heroic cast

Jermyn Street Theatre are thinking big once again, as their previously announced 15 Heroines project, in collaboration with Digital Theatre, reveals a titanic cast of actors to join the 15 female and non-binary playwrights commissioned to retell the stories of the women of classical myth. And not just that, Adjoa Andoh will be co-directing alongside Tom Littler and Cat Robey. Hook. Me. Up!

Full casting comprises Gemma Whelan, Jemima RooperAnn Ogbomo, Rebekah Murrell and Sophia Eleni in The War
Indra Ové, Rosalind Eleazar, Nicholle Cherrie, Eleanor Tomlinson and Martina Laird in The Desert and 
Olivia Williams, Nadine Marshall, Doña Croll, Nathalie Armin and Patsy Ferran in The Labyrinth. Continue reading “News: Jermyn Street Theatre’s 15 Heroines announces a truly heroic cast”