Review – An Enemy of the People – Nottingham Playhouse

This review by Emily Holyoake was originally published by Exeunt Magazine on 20 September 2019.

In Nottingham Playhouse’s An Enemy of the People, Dr Stockmann asserts that she has truth on her side. I think about that well-worn catchphrase of right-wing online commentators: facts don’t care about your feelings.

Of course, when the so-called sceptics of the internet say it, they’re claiming that the facts are objective, and the truth doesn’t change just because there’s something at stake for an individual or a community. But in Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s new version of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, the truth – that the water flowing through the baths of a spa town is poisoned – is secondary to how people feel about it.

Played by Alex Kingston, Dr Stockmann believes that her proven report about the baths will be welcomed, and that she will be praised for averting a catastrophe. But her brother, the mayor (Malcolm Sinclair), tells her instead that a complete overhaul of the water supply is impossible, that it will cripple the town’s economy, and that he believes it’s unnecessary anyway. When Stockmann stands by her report, the mayor paints her as a fantasist and a traitor, and turns the town against her.

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Review – ‘All The Little Lights’ – Fifth Word

This piece by Emily Holyoake was originally published at The F-Word on 3 May 2017.

ALL THE LITTLE LIGHTS by Jane Upton
Presented by Fifth Word and Nottingham Playhouse
Saturday 22 April 2017, Theatre Royal Plymouth

Performed by: Esther-Grace Button, Sarah Hoare, Tessie Orange-Turner
Directed by: Laura Ford

It is a relatively quiet final night of Fifth Word and Nottingham Playhouse’s All The Little Lights tour. The Drum, Theatre Royal Plymouth’s black box space, is just over half full and there is an atmosphere of caution among the audience. Jane Upton’s play about “young lives lived under the radar” is brightly, brilliantly funny in parts. But it’s very easy to laugh a split-second too late. This is a birthday party on a knife-edge.

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