Review: Two Ladies, Bridge Theatre

A pleasure to see Zoë Wanamaker and Zrinka Cvitešić onstage but they deserve a much better play than Two Ladies at the Bridge Theatre

“I could wipe the floor with the whole fucking lot of them”

You might well cross your arms and look as grumpy as Zoë Wanamaker here. Ultimately, Nancy Harris’ new play Two Ladies proves to be symptomatic of the Bridge Theatre as a whole – brimming with quality and superficially appealing but frustrating in the end and one really is left questioning what is being brought to London’s theatre ecology here.

On the one hand,it is great that plays putting women front and centre like this are being produced in such a high profile way. And as this pair of presidential first ladies, Wanamaker and Zrinka Cvitešić (a welcome returnee after Once) both bring a powerful sense of personality to the stage as their unique political perspective is given room to flourish. Continue reading “Review: Two Ladies, Bridge Theatre”

TV Review: Cuffs Episodes 5-8

“Are you one of those? They’re everywhere in Brighton aren’t they.
‘Yeah, not so many in Halifax though, cos of the weather’”

I really enjoyed the opening half of new BBC police drama Cuffs and so whacked up a review of those four episodes whilst they were still watchable on the iPlayer. The show has now finished its run, 8 episodes being the default setting for a ‘long’ series here in the UK, and whilst it may have lost a little of the fast-paced energy that characterised its arrival, its bevy of boisterous characters ensured I was fully engaged right through to the end of the last episode.

With such a large ensemble making up the South Sussex team, Cuffs did sometimes struggle in giving each of them a fair crack of the whip. For me, it was Amanda Abbington’s Jo who got the shortest end of the stick, too much of her screen-time, especially early on, being taken up with the fallout of her illicit affair instead of showing her as the more than capable police officer we finally saw in the latter episodes. Continue reading “TV Review: Cuffs Episodes 5-8”

Short Film Review #51

The Young Vic continue their always-exciting set of short films that accompany and act as responses to their main house programming with Mayday, inspired by Happy Days from earlier in the year and starring its extraordinary lead Juliet Stevenson. Here she plays May, a women left paralysed after an accident and when freak weather occurrences leave her trapped in her bed, the Beckettian waiting begins. Written by Nancy Harris and also starring Tanya Moodie and David Beames in supporting roles, it’s a clever take on the familiar story and very much plays into notions of metropolitan loneliness. Continue reading “Short Film Review #51”

Review: Our New Girl, Bush Theatre

“Sometimes we have to take care of things we’re frightened of”

After winning London Theatre of the Year in The Stage’s awards and the considerable success of The Kitchen Sink before Christmas, expectations are certainly riding high at the Bush Theatre as Josie Rourke’s final season as Artistic Director continues. Our New Girl is a play by Nancy Harris, who’s also playing at the Gate with her Kreutzer Sonata, which on first glance bears similarities to Tom Wells’ play as it is set largely in a kitchen, though we soon come to see we’re in a whole other universe (with better plumbing).

Hazel has given up her high-flying career as a top lawyer to run an olive oil importing business from home to allow her to spend more time at home with son Daniel and an imminent new arrival; her plastic surgeon husband Richard is away in Haiti on a charitable mission and has engaged Annie, an Irish nanny to help out around the house. But the picture-perfect suburban lifestyle is showing severe cracks: no-one is buying olive oil, Daniel is something of a problem child to say the least and Richard neglected to tell Hazel about the fact that he was getting professional help for her. That the nanny is seemingly perfect at her job only raises Hazel’s hackles further and as things begin to take a more sinister turn, it seems her suspicions may not be entirely baseless. Continue reading “Review: Our New Girl, Bush Theatre”