Sarah Kane’s Crave Review

Chichester Festival Theatre – until Wednesday 4th November

Reviewed by Heather Chalkley


Sarah Kane’s modern masterpiece Crave is a weirdly apt reflection of the pandemic world we are living in right now. The poetry and symmetry of her words are brought to life in a unique stage set of travelators, allowing 2 metres social distance between the actors whilst providing stillness, movement, light and dark to be seen from every angle. The capture of familiar words from old texts woven into the dialogue, gives an added richness and depth.

The individuality and interconnectedness of the characters draws you in to their worlds. Jonathan Slinger (A) delivers an astounding monologue that is so believable you live it with him as he speaks. Erin Doherty (C) creates such a sense of anguish; I could physically feel her pain. The sardonic, passive-aggressive nature of B (Alfred Enoch), carried an extreme sense of worthlessness. The tight grip of the older man and the light grip of the younger man on the objects of their love, creates a spotlight on one another. 

I identified with Wendy Kweh’s ‘M’ in as much as we are a similar age, however I know I will be thinking for days about this character and feel like I need to see it all again to get to grips with it! Throughout the performance, what seem like throw away lines from the characters, that cause the audience to titter or send a shock of uncomfortableness, are well placed to weave and connect.

The use of pre-recorded and live filming on the backdrop increased the intensity, helping you to get right inside each characters’ longing for a deep connection with another person. Inevitably you will recognise yourself inside their somewhere.

ISM comment on the increased support for self-employed workers

ISM comment on the increased support for self-employed workers

Maintaining a higher level of grant, expanding the eligibility criteria and developing a clear roadmap for the return of live performance are now essential

In a statement in the House of Commons today (2 November), Prime Minster Boris Johnson announced that for the month-long lockdown in November, the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme SEISS) is increasing funding from 40% to 80% of average trading profits.

The SEISS is calculated over 3 months so this increases the total grant from 40% to 55% of trading profits for November to January and the maximum grant increases to £5,160.

The claims window for the SEISS grants will now be opening at the end of November rather than the middle of December as originally planned.

Chief Executive of the ISM, Deborah Annetts said:
‘We are pleased that the government is supporting the self-employed with 80% of trading profits for November, which increases the total grant to 55% of trading profits across the November to January period. Today’s announcement, coming so soon after previous changes to the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS), follows the ISM’s tireless campaigning on this issue. This is a further acknowledgement from the government that its initial approach was insufficient and that more had to be done to support the self-employed, including the thousands of musicians who cannot work while performance venues remain closed.
‘However, the increased rate of SEISS is only for the first month of the three-month grant period and three million self-employed workers continue to be excluded from receiving it at all. So maintaining a higher level of grant, expanding the eligibility criteria and developing a clear roadmap for the return of live performance are all now essential for preventing an exodus of highly skilled talent from our world-leading arts sector.’

COPENHAGEN postponed due to impending national lockdown

Theatre Royal Bath production of COPENHAGEN to be postponed

  • Second production in the WELCOME BACK SEASON to be rescheduled following Government announcement

The Theatre Royal Bath has today confirmed that COPENHAGEN, the second production in its successful Welcome Back Season will be postponed, following the Government’s weekend announcement regarding an impending second national lockdown.

Michael Frayn’s multi award-winning play starring Haydn Gwynne, Malcolm Sinclair and Philip Arditti, was scheduled to open on Wednesday evening (4 November), just hours before the country is now widely expected to return to national lockdown measures targeted at combatting the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases.

Plans are underway to reschedule the performances, and as soon as these are confirmed, the Theatre Royal will contact ticketholders. Existing tickets will remain valid for the rescheduled dates, and credit notes, exchanges and refunds will be available should ticketholders be unable to attend the new dates.

COPENHAGEN is the second of three plays in the Theatre Royal Bath’s highly acclaimed Welcome Back Season, which began last month with Harold Pinter’s BETRAYAL. The Theatre’s COVID secure measures and socially distanced auditorium had received much praise from audience, critics and staff alike, generating many positive comments – “Without a doubt, this was safer than any train I’ve used in these times”… “Thank you all for the lovely experience. It was so wonderful to be back in the theatre again and we enjoyed the play immensely”… “Coming to the socially distanced theatre was easy and the experience fully satisfying. Just wonderful to be back”. 

COPENHAGEN was originally scheduled to run from Wednesday 4 – Saturday 21 November.

One queer couple explore expanding their family in an intimate show live from their home | Unfamiliar at Home, online tour

Unfamiliar at Home embarks on online tour
Digital tour: 10th– 25th November 2020

Unfamiliar at Home embraces the new digital landscape to break down traditional performance boundaries as Victor Esses and Yorgos Petrou share their autobiographical piece from their home direct to audiences’ own. This intimate and moving production combines Victor’s theatre and performance making techniques with Yorgos’ background as a visual artist. Unfamiliar is a product of them working together, to explore how they can expand their family.

Victor and Yorgos want to have children. They think. Maybe? Yes! Unfamiliar uses familiar household objects and confessional text to play with language and movement as it interrogates domesticity. They share a meal as a pre-recorded conversation talks about what a family consists of for them, they listen to interviews with members of queer families, and they speak of the unsolicited advice they received about becoming parents. As Yorgos and Victor explore their memories, fears and relationship, they reclaim the term family and build themselves the role models that they missed out on as they grew up

Beautifully intimate, full of gentle humour and tender moments, Unfamiliar is a stripped back autobiographical piece about being queer, wanting children and, ultimately, the human desire to create a legacy. Presented in association with theatres across the UK, this online tour will be performed live for audiences on Zoom each night as Unfamiliar at Home.

Victor Esses and Yorgos Petrou comment, Unfamiliar at Home is the natural progression for our stage piece Unfamiliar: we took the domestic into the performance space, now we bring the performance into the domestic. It’s an exciting thing to bring the audience on a journey with us in our real home, to make something so comfortable to us become strange and unfamiliar. It allows us to explore the feelings, the unsaid, the hard to communicate stuff that surfaces in and occupies our home in this quest to get ready to become dads. It feels like an important moment to touch on choice and to empower ourselves to believe that we are deserving, especially at a time of crisis and struggle.

Unfamiliar was developed in residencies at Battersea Arts Centre, The Pleasance, The Marlborough, Applecart Arts and The Finnish Institute London. It was selected for Brighton Dome’s The Works where it received dramaturgical support. Since then, it has received funding from ACE and the High Commission of Cyprus (UK) to be developed into an online performance

Frank, intimate […] layered and highly emotional (Camden New Journal).

In Tandem Review

Paines Plough – The Place I Call Home Festival

Monday 26th to Saturday 25th of October – also available 3 to 5 November

Reviewed by Sally Richmond


How did you react during lockdown? Did you go from a survival mode to growth? In Tandem is an online play that shows how some people reacted during their quarantine period as we hear about their individual experiences, feelings and struggles. In Tandem is part of the The Place I Call Home film festival and gives us post-card type film clips of a stunted and bored couple in Krakow and a woman on her own who is chatting to her mother. The brilliant cast: Sharon D. Clarke, Patrycja Durska, Leanne Henlon and Pawel Kumiega give authentic and realistic portrayals of ordinary people enduring life but and finding new ways of living.

Self-isolating Ella metaphorically talks about plants (house plants) to her mother and through this, explores her thoughts on inner strength and what we need in order to keep going, survive and thrive. Through these chats she begins to start a new kind of relationship with her mother, as the only things they have to discuss is the past as nothing new is happening due to isolation and the fact that no one is going anywhere.

The couple living in Poland find that they have quite different approaches to the lockdown situation and this obviously has a big impact on their relationship. She goes into ‘growth’ – wanting to learn new things and take up pursuits that will give her new outlooks and experiences, whereas he is just stuck in ‘survival’ with some acceptance but goes into an internal existence of TV shows and doesn’t expand his mind. This doesn’t bode well for them as a couple and ends up as part comedy and part disaster.

Receiving emails was exciting and as a viewer it made me feel intrigued with a slightly voyeuristic vibe; as you’re being let into someone’s life – able to observe their behaviour and thoughts. Smartly directed by Charlotte Bennett and Katie Posner with joint Artistic Directors of Paines Plough, this drama certainly makes you think about what ‘you’ did during lockdown and your own personal relationships as you watch these character’s lives unfold.

Guildford Fringe revises its schedule for Jim Cartwright’s Two – now including ONLINE broadcast, alongside live shows

Two by Jim Cartwright

Following the recent lockdown announcement,  

Guildford Fringe Theatre Company revises its performance schedule for 

Jim Cartwright’s play Two 

including ONLINE broadcast, alongside live performances 

Monday 2 – Wednesday 4 November live at The Back Room of the Star Inn, Guildford  

Thursday 5 – Saturday 7 November, streamed ONLINE nightly at 8pm 

Performed by Laurie Duncan and Claire Marlein 

Following the recent lockdown announcement, Guildford Fringe Theatre Company has revised this week’s performance schedule for its professional production of Jim Cartwright’s, TwoThe play will be performed live to socially distanced audiences at the Back Room of the Star Inn, Quarry Street, Guildford from Monday 2 – Wednesday 4 November at 8pm, with an additional 4pm Wednesday matinée (NB the only in-person tickets still available are for this new performance). The show will now be live streamed online from Thursday 5 – Saturday 7 November at 8pm. Book tickets at  

Director and Producer, Nick Wyschna, said: “Just when we thought we were going to be producing a week of live, in-person theatre, we received that news! I can’t lie, I’m gutted. This is probably the best play we’ve produced at Guildford Fringe. It’s certainly the best piece of theatre I have personally directed, I’m beaming with pride for it. Anyway, enough of the negative. On the positive side, we get to perform the show live in front of an audience for three days, which is better than nothing. And then we open the show up to the world by streaming it from Thursday until Saturday. My worst nightmare would be for no one to see this incredible show with these two actors who are just sublime and that is not happening, so all is well!” 

Laurie Duncan and Claire Marlein will play the Landlord and Landlady, respectively.  Two is directed and produced by Nick Wyschna for Guildford Fringe Theatre Company.  The production comes hot on the heels of Guildford Fringe’s successful short tours of John Godber’s multi-role plays Teechers and Bouncers last year, as well as their recent online adult pantomime, Pinocchio Gets Wood.  

First performed in 1989 at the Octagon Theatre in Bolton, Two follows the simple concept of two actors playing fourteen different characters between them. The action is set entirely in the local pub – in this case, The Back Room of The Star Inn of course! The Landlord and Landlady’s cheery greetings and friendly banter barely disguise their contempt for each other. Having met outside the pub when they were kids, they now own the place. During the course of the evening, assorted customers pass through and we are given a small snapshot into each of their lives. Two is storytelling at its best.  

To book tickets for Two, visit or call the Box Office on 01483 361101. Running time: approx. 1 hour (no interval). The venue will be operating at a reduced capacity to allow for social distancing measures, and face coverings will be mandatory. For full details of health and safety measures in place for the live shows, visit the Guildford Fringe website.  


Following the Government’s announcement on a national lockdown for England and taking into consideration the safety of all staff and cast, the producers of THE GREAT GATSBY will be cancelling performances at IMMERSIVE LDN from Wednesday 4 November until Wednesday 2 December 2020.

The return performance will be Thursday 3 December 2020, and the booking period for the show has been extended through to Sunday 28 February 2021.

Ticket holders for cancelled performances will be contacted asap by Arts Tickets to confirm next steps.

Producers Louis Hartshorn and Brian Hook said, “We are proud of everyone who took up that call to arms and everyone who has taken this second lockdown on the chin. Getting our venue reopened was a massive feat, a pathfinding, a learning and a humbling experience. We look forward to welcoming back our patrons into the socially distanced version of the production as soon as we are able, when the R rate is under control and times are a little kinder. We are grateful for the continued support of our co-producers and investors. We also hope for a greater stimulus package and necessary support from DCMS for the sector and those who form some of the 3 million #ExcludedUK. Our heart goes out to other producers, theatre owners, casts and crews during this time. The fightback to the stages is an important cultural moment and we are very proud of everyone who has taken up the call.

THE GREAT GATSBY reopened in the West End on 1 October and has been welcoming audiences back with socially distanced performances at IMMERSIVE LDN, a Covid-Secure venue, with full adherence to government health and safety regulations.

The Aurora Award for Rising Stars

Although 2020 has been a trying year with regards to theatre, we are absolutely delighted to announce the winner of the Aurora Award 2020 is Oscar Conlon-Morrey.

Our reviewers nominated him because “I don’t think anyone has done as much to keep our spirits high as Oscar – Love him”

So a huge congratulations to Oscar and thank you for his amazing contribution to keeping us entertained and aware during 2020

Theatres Trust respond to news of November lockdown

Following the announcement last night that we are heading into a second lockdown, I am now sharing a statement from the Theatres Trust.

Jon Morgan, director of Theatres Trust, comments:

While we understand the absolute necessity of protecting lives at this critical time, Theatres Trust is disappointed that theatres will have to close for a further month during the November lockdown. Many theatres were only just managing to reopen or were preparing to reopen with Christmas shows and this news will come as a further blow to an already struggling sector.  We are seeking urgent clarification whether theatre rehearsals, alongside television and film production, can continue as without this Christmas shows will not go ahead.   This further setback means theatres will need to further delay their reopenings and many will still be unable to do so viably under the three tier system.  While we are grateful that the government has extended the furlough scheme for a further month to cover lockdown, theatres still need further sector specific support beyond the end of November to ensure this latest blow does not lead to more closures.

ISM comment on the new coronavirus restrictions for England

ISM comment on the new coronavirus restrictions for England

While safety must a priority, today’s announcement will have devastating consequences for the music industry

On 31 October, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new public health restrictions for England. He was joined by England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty and the government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.

Non-essential shops and hospitality will have to close for a month for England but educational institutions will be allowed to stay open. The lockdown also includes restrictions on travel and will last from 5 November to 2 December.

Chief Executive of the ISM, Deborah Annetts said:

‘While protecting the population must be a priority, today’s announcement by the Prime Minister will have devastating consequences for our world-leading music industry, which is already suffering from the impact of earlier restrictions. For months we have warned the government that self-employed musicians are in desperate financial difficulty whilst venues remain closed, with our highly-skilled workforce struggling to survive without an income since March and excluded from government support.

‘Now, with no prospect of future work on the horizon, the government has a moral duty to reform the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, maintaining the level of support at 70%, and expanding the eligibility criteria to include the estimated three million who have been excluded.

‘Before this crisis, music and the creative industries made an essential contribution to the health, wealth and culture of our nation. Unless the government introduces meaningful support, we are looking at the devastation of the performing arts and a permanent exodus of talent.’