A selection of news and updates from friends, colleagues and peers in the theatre industry.



"The 49" by Gary Thomas



Gary Thomas’ latest Arts Council funded play “The 49” recalls the massacre inside Orlando’s Pulse gay club in 2016.  With only three main characters (plus a doubling up to show us a mom) it is eerily elliptical in its opening and closing device, but also in showing us a random (and ultimately, fully developed loving) set of relationships being destroyed by a single random act of pure hatred, intended to strike fear into a liberal society where diversity across the board is the norm.


Aaron Douglass as Carlo, Yasmine Holeness Dove as Jessica & Harold Addo as Tom are fantastic.  They mingle with Thomas’s very playful script like clubgoers just out for a good time, whilst all the time, seeking The One, which brings us plenty of light and shade into the dialogue, tone and pace.  Impressively, they are not afraid to make (and hold) direct eye contact with the audience, sometimes searching, others accusing, angry or merely acknowledging your presence.  This is a story that involves us all, we are all mankind, capable of extreme horror, but more importantly, experts at love and compassion.  Seamlessly directed by Courtney Larkin, her direction is forensic, yet gently teases out the real human story at the heart of this appalling tragedy, like a sympathetic detective trying to uncover the motive for the murder.  We cannot fail to ask questions.  


Nothing can take away the heart breaking reality of the events as they unfolded in The Pulse, Orlando on 12th June, 2016 when 49 innocent and beautifully hearted people were so mercilessly mown down as the result of an ideological rage.  Playing until 17th June at the N16 Theatre, Balham, this is a timely piece that is finely observed and brought to immediacy by Thomas and despite its overarchingly sad premise, it’s a play full of love and joy – and hope.  That’s Thomas’ big weapon in his arsenal and it’s surely the only way to go in order to defeat terrorism in all its deadly forms.  Please see this.


Theatre N16