TV Review: Trigger Point

Almost as if Spooks or 24 was back, just a little bit sillier. Vicky McClure helms bomb disposal thriller Trigger Point in great style

“I just can’t believe everything that’s happened to me”

Oh I loved this. From the pen of TV newcomer Daniel Brierly, Trigger Point took a vivid approach to the life of a bomb disposal expert who finds herself in charge of a troubling case of a serial bomber. And in the absolute way of these things [spoiler alert], there’s an increasingly personal agenda with Vicky McClure’s Lana Washington losing both her best friend and her brother by the midpoint of the series, oops!

But because the tone is ever so slightly campy and heightened (it is an ITV show after all), it never really comes across as traumatic as the emphasis is on the high-octane thrill of the chase as Lana starts to question even her friends and colleagues as what is made to look like an Islamist threat turns out to be something more fundamentally dangerous and closer to home. Does it end up being a bit predictable? Who cares, pass the popcorn! Continue reading “TV Review: Trigger Point”

#AdventwithClowns Day 23 – ear for eye (BBC iPlayer)

debbie tucker green’s extraordinary ear for eye receives a striking cinematic treatment 

“You shouldn’t have to be unshakeable son”

I was blown away by debbie tucker green’s ear for eye when I saw it at the Royal Court back in 2018 and was highly intrigued to hear that she would be adapting it for the screen. tucker green has previous – Random was similarly reworked and filmed – and there’s an episodic structure to this new piece that means it transfers well.  

It’s a blistering look at the Black experience in both the UK and the US, split into three parts. A communal sharing of stories, a two-hander that rips into white privileges, a video installation that simply presents us with the US laws that codified slavery. Unstinting in its essential truths that are so often ignored, it is uncompromising and unmissable.

ear for eye is available to watch on BBC iPlayer

Film Review: Second Coming (2014)

Second Coming makes for an atmospheric if challenging cinematic debut for writer/director debbie tucker green with another cracking lead role for Nadine Marshall

“Have you had any more visions?”

Following her TV adaptation of her own play random, Second Coming sees writer-director debbie tucker green making her big screen debut. And perhaps unsurprisingly, it is an uncompromising artistic statement – again showcasing Black British lives – from this idiosyncratic and intriguing artist. 

The film centres on Nadine Marshall’s Jackie, a social worker and mother-of-one who finds herself pregnant despite having been told she couldn’t carry  again. Not only that, she hasn’t had intercourse with her husband Mark for quite some time, despite him being Idris Elba. So far so immaculate. Continue reading “Film Review: Second Coming (2014)”

Film Review: random (2011)

I revisit debbie tucker green’s random, this time on screen, 13 years after seeing it onstage, and am still blown away by Nadine Marshall’s talent and the delicious Mariah Carey shade

“Never trouble trouble til trouble trouble you”

debbie tucker green’s play random has a special place in my heart as it was the first show I ever saw at the Royal Court, back in 2008. I may have liked rather than loved it at the time but the urgency of Nadine Marshall’s solo delivery lingered long in the mind, particularly in the way her performance encapsulated several members of the same family, first going about their daily business and then reeling from a traumatic shock, a random act of violence.

tucker green directs her own adaptation here and finds an intriguing way to blend that monologue form with a wider visual representation of the world it depicts. Marshall returns as Sister, who once again inhabits all the dramatis personae of the story, but tucker green intersperses her backstage-set delivery with on-location shots featuring those characters, sometimes even letting them speak their own lines. Continue reading “Film Review: random (2011)”

News: debbie tucker green’s ear for eye gets release date

ear for eye will world premiere at BFI Southbank on 16 October and exclusively the same evening on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer

The 65th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express has announced a groundbreaking joint launch with the BBC for the much anticipated second feature from filmmaker and playwright debbie tucker green. Her latest film, ear for eye, will world premiere at the BFI Southbank on Saturday 16 October and exclusively the same evening on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer. 

tucker green has adapted her highly acclaimed 2018 Royal Court stage production for the screen, with backing from BBC Film, BBC Two and the BFI, awarding funds from the National Lottery. It’s the second feature film from the BAFTA and Olivier Award-winning writer and director.

Continue reading “News: debbie tucker green’s ear for eye gets release date”

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”

TV Review: Small Axe

Steve McQueen’s anthology flm series Small Axe is an absolute triumph as it depicts the West Indian experience in London but tells us all so much about the UK

“We mustn’t be victims, but protagonists of our stories. And what better way of representing ourselves than self-representing ourselves”

Not too much to say about Small Axe that hasn’t been said much more eloquently and appropriately by many others. But I just wanted to applaud some stirring acting work across all 5 films – in particular Shaun Parkes and Letitia Wright in Mangrove and John Boyega in Red White and Blue. And writer/director Steve McQueen, with co-writing work from Alastair Siddons and Courttia Newland, who plants racism, and racist activity, so undeniably in front of a Sunday night BBC1 audience in a way that has so rarely been done before.

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”