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16 June 2023Blog

Erica Smith on 'a perfect production' at London's Finborough Theatre

Benjamin Lay is having a renaissance – thanks largely to American professor and writer Marcus Rediker. His biography The fearless Benjamin Lay was first published in 2017 and more recently he has collaborated with David Lester to produce a graphic novel, Prophet against slavery.

Now he has collaborated  with playwright Naomi Wallace on the…

14 June 2023Blog

Henrietta Cullinan reviews Orisun Productions recent performance of Playfight at the Pleasance Theatre, Islington (29 May - 3 June)

TJ, Kai and Zara, are school friends who have been inseparable since childhood. Their relationship changes as they struggle with parental expectations at the same time as their own desires.

The two boys are involved in a fight, caught on cctv. Zara is physically hurt when trying to break it up.

The headmistress, instead of supporting them, divides them and disbands their friendship group. In chance meetings - in the street, in the playground - we hear from the characters two at…

12 August 2021Blog

Allen Lane, 2021; 256pp; £20

Bob Matthews was an American bomb aimer in WWII. He hit the largest air raid shelter in Kassel, Germany and killed hundreds of civilians. He said, 'I was so distraught that I stayed drunk for nine days and was the sickest drunk in the air force.'   A member of my church, I met him 50 years later and we talked several times. In the end he wrote out his story for me. A humble, family man, he was still deeply struggling with the guilt and shame of what he had participated in. He suffered ‘moral…

16 August 2018Blog

Esme Needham reviews Tessa Boase's new book Mrs Pankhurst's Purple Feather

Tessa Boase
Mrs Pankhurst's Purple Feather: Fashion, Fury and Feminism – Women's Fight for Change
Aurum Press, 2018; 336pp; £20

If you asked someone who had never read or heard anything about the origins of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) who they thought might have founded it, the chances are they would guess something along the lines of ‘some well-meaning elderly man who was opposed to the shooting of rare birds for sport’, or something like that. But…