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by Mark Fisher

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British Theatre Guide

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With a foreword by Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune




22 May 2017 The Guardian

Music is Torture

By Louise Quinn. A Tromolo/Tron theatre review

THINGS were going well for Jake Rae in 1998. His band Test Card were on the way to the top and their single was even a Jo Whiley record of the week. Today, however, the fictional musician is running a malfunctioning recording studio while struggling to pay the bills. It doesn’t help that the band he’s now producing, Dawnings (played by real-life group A Band Called Quinn), have still not completed their album after 15 years. The name of the studio, realised in grubby detail by designer Emily James, is Limbo, a fitting description of the inertia and repetition of the early part of Louise Quinn’s play. In the lead role, Andy Clark is morose and defeated, trying to hang on to the purity of his artistic vision, but squashed by a system interested only in success.


11 May 2017 The Guardian

The 306: Day

By Oliver Emanuel. An NTS/Perth/Stellar Quines theatre review

ONE day last summer, thanks to the artist Jeremy Deller, silent soldiers from the first world war mysteriously appeared on UK streets like ghosts urging us to reflect on our collective past. Around the same time – and as part of the same 14-18 Now cultural programme – the National Theatre of Scotland presented The 306: Dawn, a tribute to those men who lost their lives during the conflict not as heroes but as “cowards”. Whether through fear, pacifism or trauma, they were soldiers who had fled their positions and paid the price at the hands of their own side. In the second part of his trilogy, playwright Oliver Emanuel brings us home, to the munitions factories, post offices and street corners of Britain, where a domestic army of women are keeping the country going. But these are not the happy workers of patriotic myth. Rather they are the bolshie agitators of a disenfranchised sex, the suffragettes and militants who know their worth, know they are being exploited and know the futility of war.

23 April 2017 The Guardian

Out of this World

By Mark Murphy. A Mark Murphy and V-TOL theatre review.

IN 2004, Anthony Neilson staged The Wonderful World of Dissocia. It was a play of two halves. It began with an Alice in Wonderland fantasia, equal parts funny, surreal and alarming. After the interval, the scene jumped to an arid hospital ward, making us realise we’d previously been privy to a young woman’s manic episode, before her medication kicked in. Something similar happens in Mark Murphy’s ambitious Out of this World, only much earlier on. The patient this time is Ellen Jones, played by a superb Sarah Swire, athletic, downbeat and desperate. Her Wonderland is somewhere between the gravity-resistant theatre of Robert Lepage and the enigmatic symbolism of David Lynch. Eager to make sense of her surroundings, she finds herself lost in a confounding universe, hampered by officialdom, tossed into the air and dwarfed by the explosive sunbursts and shattering glass of video projections that fill the walls.

31 Oct 2016 The Guardian

Back to the rivers of blood: Enoch Powell returns to a divided Britain

Preview of What Shadows by Chris Hannan. A Royal Lyceum theatre preview.

A NATION divided. Two factions at war over foreigners. One side claims to tell it like it is. The other cries racism. Neither can agree. Brexit Britain? Well, yes, but also Birmingham in April 1968.That was when the Conservative MP for Wolverhampton South West forced immigration on to the political agenda. His name was Enoch Powell and what he called his Birmingham speech would prove even more incendiary than he’d hoped. Reacting to Labour’s Race Relations Act, Powell argued that allowing mass immigration from the Commonwealth was “literally mad” and prophesied doom in the language of the Roman poet Virgil: “Like the Roman, I seem to see the River Tiber foaming with much blood.”








by Mark Fisher

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