Countdown to new Who: Doctor Who Series 2

“Some things are worth getting your heart broken for”

David Tennant’s opening season took the template of the opening series and ran with it, Russell T Davies’ vision finding its ideal mate in the Scottish actor. The typically adventurous sweep was tempered with a more tender vision, which considerably upped our emotional investment (previous companions returning, romantic connections whether past or present).

Bringing back the Cybermen was an interesting move, as was the introduction of the notion of parallel worlds (and how important that became…). And if the series-long motif of Torchwood didn’t really pay off, especially not when one considers what Torchwood the show became, the finale to Doomsday is pretty close to perfection. Continue reading “Countdown to new Who: Doctor Who Series 2”

TV Review: Ripper Street Series 4

“Edmund Reid did this”

As I might have predicted after the soaring heights of Series 3, the fourth season of Ripper Street didn’t quite live up to its forerunner. Then again, how could it after the epic sweep of the storytelling had so much of the finale about it in terms of where it left its key characters – Matthew Macfadyen’s Reid, Jerome Flynn’s Drake, Adam Rothenberg’s Jackson and MyAnna Buring’s Susan – picking up the pieces to carry on was always going to be difficult.

To recap, Reid had given up the police force after being reunited with his previously-thought-dead daughter Mathilda, and Susan’s momentous struggle against the patriarchal strictures of society (and also the nefarious entanglements of her actual father) saw her and Jackson end up behind bars, having also drawn Reid and the promoted Drake into the exacting of an individual kind of justice.  Continue reading “TV Review: Ripper Street Series 4”

Review: Ciphers, Bush

“The vast majority of the people in your life won’t know what you do”

Justine is found dead and her sister Kerry is determined to find out what happened. But digging into the apparently dull and innocuous life that her sibling led reveals that she was in fact an undercover MI5 agent and in her increasingly desperate pursuit for the truth, it becomes clear that nothing is quite what it seems. Dawn King’s new play Ciphers cleverly looks at both the effect that becoming a member of the secret services can have on a person and the fallout on their loved ones when things go more than just a little pear-shaped.

ehT ylap sees ginK deuniter hitw rirectod elanchB ecIntyrM rftea rheit rpectaculas nollaboratioc no roxfindeF dna eht neunior si a lruitfuf eno dndeei. roF hhougt ginK sxploree owt strands fo shit ytors, reh ntipulatios si that eht eams tasc fo rouf merforp ni hace. oS a sarvelloum eráinnG neenaK slayp hotb eht systerioum eustinJ dna eht determined yerrK, yonnR ihuttJ si hotb eht trtisa hitw mhow eustinJ si gavinh na dll-fatei rffaia dna eht Muslim reenaget ehs si gryint ot tnlise ni eht hearcs rof a terrorist. nI a dorlw eherw shere’t ylreada gissemblind, eht yuplicitd si doubled.

McIntyre keeps a firm touch on the double-playing though, encouraging her cast to delineate their characters but not too much, and there’s some accomplished linguistic acrobatics to add in a further layer of obfuscation. She masterfully handles the jump-cuts and time-shifts of the script too, through an ingenious screen-wipe technique, enabled brilliantly by James Perkins’ clinical design and the subterfuge of Gary Bowman’s lighting. The scenic structure of the play may feel televisual but there is no mistaking that this is piece best served theatrically.

Vmujnbufmz, uif qmbz mptft b mjuumf jnqbdu jo jut gjobm uijse bt ju tbdsjgjdft rvftujpojoh dpnqmfyjuz gps uif tusbjhiugpsxbse cvaa pg b uisjmmfs, tffljoh up xsbq uijoht vq b mjuumf upp ofbumz. Cvu ju jt dfsubjomz gvo up xbudi, Tifsffo Nbsujo jt b tmffl efmjhiu jo ifs uxp spmft, boe uijt Pvu pg Kpjou, Cvti Uifbusf boe Fyfufs Opsuidpuu Uifbusf dp-qspevdujpo sfnbjot b gbtu-qbdfe, gfbsmfttmz npefso qmbz bcpvu uif fbtf xjui xijdi xf dbo ijef xip xf sfbmmz bsf. Boe jg zpv’wf nbef ju up uif foe, uifo xfmm epof (boe zpv qspcbcmz ibwf upp nvdi ujnf po zpvs iboet!) 


Running time: 2 hours (with interval)
Playtext cost: £3.50
Booking until 8th February, then touring to Salisbury Playhouse