Theatre Review: The River

Published by One&Other Creative | 28th April 2018

I’ll admit, I walked into Friargate Theatre last night with next to no knowledge of Jez Butterworth’s The River, or any of his other work for that matter. I had no expectations of what Wildgoose Theatre’s latest offering would be, other than an enigmatic mystery with a fishing theme.

As the lights came up, revealing the fantastic set built by director Andy Love himself, we were immediately transported to Butterworth’s cliffside cabin. The spell had begun, with the words of W.B. Yeats washing over us and adding to the magic.

The River takes us into the world of The Man (George Stagnall) – the owner of the aforementioned cabin who returns once a year on a moonless night to fish for his beloved sea trout. To his dismay, his new girlfriend, The Woman (Claire Morley), seems much less enthusiastic about the prospect of hunting for fish.

The anticipated enigma begins from this point, as The Man frantically calls the police in search of his missing girlfriend, only for her to appear in a surprising new form. To reveal more would be to ruin the enticing mystery of the play, but it’s absolutely one that must be experienced.

Andy Love has done a fantastic job of capturing what is quite clearly a beautifully crafted script, full of poetic lyricism and rich with deep, layered metaphor that few writers would be capable of carrying off. Every member of this small cast – including Anna Rogers and Amy Fincham as well as Stagnall and Morley – carry this off with such professional poise as to make it seem effortless. Every word delivered is savoured, and it is absolutely clear that Wildgoose Theatre’s take on The River has been a true labour of love, and the audience reaps the rewards of this in abundance. The true success of this play is in its’ ability to let everyone go home with their own unique interpretation, and I guarantee it’ll leave you pondering long after you’ve left the theatre.

It’s easy to throw about the “must-see” banner these days but I assure you, this production absolutely deserves that title. The River is undoubtedly one of the most beautifully crafted productions York has seen this year, and its’ only downside is the short run (this weekend only here in York, with another night in Leeds on 3 May).

Lost toys and broken wings

They placed them there.
Where they should never
have been.
Blind broken toys,

Crows can become doves,
under the right light.
Where moths swoop,
and swoon:
The summer’s death-kiss.
Where hate replaces

And the body
Impossible projections.
Where imagined potential
The truth,
of broken toys.

One fixed,
one forgotten:
Left dancing.
Alone with autumn’s butterflies.

Wicked Inventions | Discovery Science

Scriptwriter for Wicked Inventions, season’s 1, 2, 3 and 4.

This was a great series to write for, which involved researching the history of inventions including everything from jet engines to margarine! I’ve always loved projects such as these, which come with the added bonus of learning something new as I write.



Wasted Votes?

Written for The Green Party | Published 22/05/15 |

We see it so often – regular voters wary of a party they don’t want in power, therefore choosing to vote for their most preferred of the larger parties. On paper, it seems like the most logical decision. Why waste a vote on a smaller party with no chance of gaining power and having to spend another 5 years under a party whose manifesto goes against everything you believe?

While this may make some sense, it is nothing but a quick fix; making the most of a political system in desperate need of a shake-up. Parliament today, generally speaking, offers no real democratic discussion and a total lack of representation of what regular voters actually want and care about. There are simply not enough opposing views and individual voices there to influence Labour and the current Lib-Con government.

UKIP’s rise in the past few years has shown, for better or for worse, just how a small party can begin to influence big party politics and therefore grow as a result. They have managed to make immigration one of the key topics of debate in parliament. The Conservative-led government has adapted their policy to suit this zeitgeist and hold on to voters that may be swayed by Farage. UKIP  won’t get into power come May, but they’ve certainly left their mark, and will no doubt get the referendum they’ve demanded for so long.

Imagine this for another party. Imagine if all those potential voters of the Green Party, for example, decided not to worry about wasting their vote and to choose the party they really cared about. It may not happen instantaneously, but it is entirely plausible that the big parties will one day be absorbing the policies of the Greens and other parties too – and that can only be a good thing.

We need broader representation. Democracy is about everybody having a voice – not adapting that voice in fear of the least favourite man getting into power. Whilst the First Past the Post system really does inhibit smaller parties, encouraging voters to vote honestly and not tactically will certainly help give them a voice.

I live my life in movie scenes

I live my life in movie scenes.
A childhood spent wrapped,
In a bright red cape,
With dreams of flight within my means.
“Use the force” they’d say at church;
It’s real if you’ll only feel it.
Well the force was weak it seems, in me,
There’s something else that I can’t quite see.
Playground battles crying “Rufio”,
Lost boys in their bliss.
And like in every coming of age,
We’d clash into clichés and miss,
The fact that we were
Kings of a Summer,
That couldn’t carry on.
Unspoken romances in a hotel room;
A simple touch of affection.
What did he whisper?
And does she know,
That the love was Lost in Translation?
We heard all about,
The blameless vestal’s lot.
But the Eternal Sunshine,
in your Spotless Mind,
Doesn’t mean that I forgot.
A head filled with a fantasy,
Of going back in time,
With no DeLorean to drive.
So I’d stray into American Beauty,
Where I was destined not to thrive.
But the movies always end great, right?
The credits roll and they turn on the light.
So this is How I Live Now.
I’ve left my seat,
Into the day
Enjoying the real,
Letting the pictures fade away.

A Mark

I can taste it now; teasing at the tip,
Of my tongue as I drink greedily in,
With one hungry gulp of self-serving sin.
I waited at first, for chance to unzip,
The secret you held just close to your hip.
A mark that showed me where I could begin
And lead me to a place in which you’d pin
Me to you with an unknowing firm grip.
It’s grown stronger now so don’t let it become,
A reason by which to forget how sweet,
An elixir we shared; free of jitter,
A medicine to rouse the secret numb.
I know though in time, drowning in effete,
The last sip I take, wincing; is bitter.