Review: Correspondence, Old Red Lion

“This isn’t bunking off to Stockport, to play Laser Quest at Grand Central. This is the kind of activity that sets us apart from the dross.”

And what activity it is. Clever enough to not really need to revise for his upcoming GCSEs, 16-year-old Ben spends most of his spare time on Xbox Live but when his Syrian friend Jibreel disappears from his contact list, he decides to launch a rescue mission from his Stockport bedroom. But it’s not quite as simple as all that, Torn between squabbling divorced parents, Ben’s home life has been significantly troubled and as it is 2011, the murmurings of civil unrest abroad herald what would soon be known as the Arab Spring.

Lucinda Burnett’s Correspondence thus straddles two immensely weighty subjects. The power and potential of mass protest in a nascent revolution and how we connect to it as global citizens, but also the complexity and cruelty of incipient psychosis and again, the difficulties it poses in connecting with others. Over a running time of just 80 minutes, the play doesn’t always manage to engage and interrogate fully the enormity of these issues, relying on a plot contrivance or two too many to convince that they’re being explored efficaciously. Continue reading “Review: Correspondence, Old Red Lion”

TV Review: Luther (Series 4, Episode 1)

“What do we do with something like this?”

It doesn’t quite seem right, calling this a new series of Luther when it is just two episodes, but the return of Idris Elba’s maverick DCI is something to be celebrated nonetheless. Neil Cross’ two-parter finds John Luther on a leave of absence from the Met (as opposed to having jacked it all in as we might have thought), sequestered in a coastal cottage hideaway and still reckoning with the loss of his cop partner DS Ripley after the events of the last series. Almost straightaway though, the show runs into the problems that mark the whole episode.

the first ever episode way back when). They’re both new to the franchise (though weirdly not unfamiliar to Luther) but as there’s so little time, we have to assume an instant familiarity with them, and with the circumstances of Alice’s death and a new serial killer who is eating his way through East London.  Continue reading “TV Review: Luther (Series 4, Episode 1)”