TV Review: The Bletchley Circle Series 1

Rachael Stirling and Anna Maxwell Martin are fantastic in Series 1 of The Bletchley Circle, which I’ve finally gotten round to watching 

“You really think that just by listening to the wireless, you can tell the police where to look for a murder victim”

I don’t really know how I have left it this late to finally watch The Bletchley Circle, just nine years since series 1 first aired in the UK. It is tailor-made for my interests too: Rachael Stirling, Anna Maxwell Martin, women in wartime(ish), oh and Rachael Stirling 😍 and with the show being on one of my streaming services, I finally took the plunge. This miniseries was written by Guy Burt and directed by Andy De Emmony, with Julie Graham and Sophie Rundle rounding out the lead cast.

And but of course, I loved it. An all-too-brief three episodes take us through the crime-solving exploits of four women who worked as codebreakers at Bletchley Park but now, in 1952, find their talents ignored by a resumption of traditional societal values. As a serial killer murders young women across London and the police fail to take their warnings sufficiently seriously, the foursome start to delve into the investigation themselves despite the intense danger that emerges. Continue reading “TV Review: The Bletchley Circle Series 1”

Review: The House That Slipped

Is a utopian future really better than a Covid present? Immersive drama The House That Slipped asks some interesting questions

“I’ve got to collect the pieces of the pieces…”

Something unexpected happened partway through The House That Slipped that completely transformed the experience for me. The simple act of being asked to encapsulate the current coronavirus situation, to describe what lockdown actually means, proved quietly profound, a moment of reflection that makes you wonder just how history will remember this time. 

Devised by the company for Teatro Vivo, the house in The House That Slipped is 12 Laburnum Drive, Brockley which has found itself in the year 2070. Through the power of a Zoom upgrade, they can now talk to us in the present day and in our small groups, we help the four residents to decide whether they want to return back to their original time. Continue reading “Review: The House That Slipped”

Film Review: Suffragette

“You want me to respect the law? Then make the law respectable”

Directed by Sarah Gavron and written by Abi Morgan, Suffragette offers a rather striking perspective on the women’s suffrage movement, inventing a working class character and following her political awakening at a key moment in the fight for women’s rights. Carey Mulligan’s Maud Watts is a dutiful wife and mother, working long, thankless hours at a Bethnal Green laundry whose chance encounter with a riotous group of suffragettes slowly rouses something within her.

This is where Morgan and Gavron’s approach pays dividends, in seeing the movement through working class eyes away from the privilege and relative freedom of the leaders. Even on a shop-floor full of much-put-upon women, suffragette is spat as a dirty word and in the close-knit neighbourhoods too, the leap that Maud has to make to merely stand up for what she believes is right is that much more difficult, more life-changingly dramatic and Mulligan is truly superb in tracing this transformation. Continue reading “Film Review: Suffragette”

Review: The Hunters Grimm, Teatro Vivo in Deptford

Once upon a time, an invitation wound its way into the inbox of an overworked online theatre reviewer, inviting him to the deepest, darkest parts of London town that few broadsheet critics ever dare to enter. The instructions laid a trail of enticing theatrical crumbs all
the way south to the townstead of Deptford where brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm find themselves in something of a pickle. Famous of course for collecting stories, they’re in desperate need of assistance on their latest hunt for new tales and it is up to us, dear reader, to help them in the task, should you too accept the summons to The Hunters Grimm.
On a dark and cloudy night, dressed stout of boot and warm of cloak as we had been advised, our band of intrepid explorers found their way to The Spinning Room, the lair where the brothers have stored their collection so far. It was a place full of curiosity and I was glad I had arrived with plenty of time (you’d be well advised to do the same, etymological knowledge and gingerbread cookies don’t just fall off trees you know) as the gravity of the situation was imparted to us and just what we could do to help. Divided into two groups of Fearless Philologists and Bold Bibliophiles, with no little trepidation we ventured forth into the wilderness.

Continue reading “Review: The Hunters Grimm, Teatro Vivo in Deptford”