Miss Margarida’s Way by 5GoTheatreCo – ‘delightfully dark’


Miss Magarida’s Way is a text I had not come across before, and I should make a point of thanking 5goTheatreCo for bringing it to my attention. It’s a charged and fundamentally satirical piece by the Brazillian playwright Roberto Athayde, and it suits the small-scale realm of the Canal Café Theatre excellently. Its writing style boasts aspects similar to that of Pinter, Darke and Bond, though it admittedly seems a little overly reliant on sexual gags when there often appears to be room for more creative takes. That said, it is, of course, not Athayde’s writing alone that I’m reviewing, but this particular realisation of it, too.

The play is, in essence, some nightmarish attempt at a secondary school lesson, delivered through a dualized realisation of the ‘teacher’, Miss Margarida, depicted by Hanna Luna and Leena Makoff. Both performers are incredibly commanding, and the disembodiment of the educator’s role is wonderfully played out through their intense dictation. This is a real strength of the piece overall: the allegorical assertion that whatever the teacher says is fact, and nothing else, regardless of any evidence or sense that suggests otherwise. The complex (and often chaotic) speeches are beautifully communicated, and much of the actor’s movements are quite detailed. The minimal design elements work well in this intimate setting, though the over-reliance on red lighting states for moments of distortion seems a bit clichéd. The addition of a (understandably quite scared) student at the side of the stage is a fantastic touch, and stage manager Hugo Linton gives a great muted performance here, with lovely moments of silent comedy in their Gromit-esque expressions. The fact that the play’s structure is so inherently surreal makes this character’s rooted presence even funnier and more relatable – another great dramaturgical move is the suggestion that all of us in the audience are students, too (we’re even provided with worksheets).

‘You must obey. You must be silent’, dictates Margarida, and this seems a good summary of the overarching message of the piece. It is, indeed, a piece of ‘musts’ and not ‘shoulds’; an absolutist manifesto for control and submission. When at its best, it aptly comments on education and human nature with a delightfully dark sense of fun.

There’s some great ideas within the direction, but, at times, whilst layered with promise, they are loose in their execution. A wonderful skit highlighting the dangers of drugs has an incredibly promising start, with the student brandishing a comically huge joint, dancing to a loud musical underscore. This was, in my opinion, one of the funniest images of the whole evening, but then the moment ceased to go anywhere else. The dancing continued for around some twenty seconds more, and that was it; the start to something great faded. This is a running issue with the piece’s realisation.

There are uncomfortable moments. Despite the content warnings in the programme (which I very much appreciated), I struggle to see the need to deliver lines which contain thoroughly outdated and offensive homophobic language, or indeed, perhaps more importantly, their relevance to the here and now (the text is indeed billed as being ‘extremely relevant today’ in the company’s marketing). Sure, it’s clear that these words are being satirised, but their presence creates a certain cold aura that is hard to get on side with. There is a moment of slightly uncomfortable audience interaction, too, that involves physical touching and could go down badly with the ‘wrong’ participant – I somewhat hope that a plant was used for this.

I left The Canal Café quite content, but a bit perplexed. On the one hand, the promise of an interesting realisation of an older playscript had been greatly fulfilled, but I struggle to agree that Athayde’s text is as aligned to the here and now as the company suggests. It’s worth the evening, as a great introduction to this playwright’s work, and, too, that of the brilliant actors and creatives. Otherwise, though, due to the source material itself and, at times, certain creative choices, the experience feels a little misfired. That said, Miss Margarida’s Way still makes for a charming, humorous and thought-provoking evening at the theatre, and I’d thoroughly recommend supporting this company in their future work.

Miss Margarida’s Way ran from 24th-28th May at The Canal Café Theatre. More info on 5GoTheatreCo can be found here.


Talk by Kill The Cat – a company ‘at the top of their game’


Kill The Cat are not your ordinary theatre company. Their inherently immersive take on the medium is quite separate to all of the previous work I have seen at Theatre Royal Plymouth. So, in many ways, it was no surprise that, upon being invited into the space to experience (and certainly not ‘watch’) Talk, there was no front of house staff member to check seat numbers, wish us an enjoyable show or inform us of running times. Instead, co-artistic director and performer Dylan Frankland burst through the doors in full scientist get-up, frantically asking us to follow him into a small room equipped with cupboards and chairs, where the ‘experiment’ would begin.

Indeed, this is how Talk is framed – ‘theatre’ is amusingly absent from any of the performer’s descriptions of what is happening. We are all here to practice and experience science (for this is what Kill The Cat have apparently re-trained to do, following government guidance). And so, the experiments begin. Firstly, a hard to follow, but very friendly chat with our immediate neighbour, prompted by questions labelled on items within the cupboards in front of us. In an allotted time, we must make each other a hot drink with the provided ingredients, and keep up conversation whilst doing so. This proves to be both a stimulating and amusing experience, if not a tad overwhelming. The only real downside is – such is the time-sensitive nature of the experiments – we can’t actually stick around to drink our mugs of tea/coffee. (This is very much a personal gripe though, and not a genuinely held one. Science must be the focus.)

The entirety of the cast are truly excellent performers and improvisers, and the weaving together of rehearsed material, recorded segments and workshop-based scenarios is masterful. This is an immersive company at the top of their game. The rooms beneath TRP’s main venue have been immaculately re-designed to create a promenade-like experience of different ‘scientific’ spaces; everything from a ‘laser’ zone (beautifully realised with string and balloons), a town planning table (near innumberable lego sets for this) and a battle field (pick your cardboard pieces and construct your partner’s armour, in preparation for a final test of the greatest fighter present).

The spirit of Talk is made clear by the title – every experiment revolves around constant communication and opening up to the people around you. This is, for someone like me, quite overwhelming, and I hesitate to say that people who aren’t used to pushing themselves out of their comfort zone may find it a little difficult to comply with, but the friendly and wryly humorous atmosphere does wonders for lessening the pressure. And even I, a strangely awkward example of someone who works in the creative industries, felt compelled and encouraged to be myself, enjoy the experience, and totally lose track of time.

So, could I recommend this piece to anyone? My initial answer would be ‘not fairly’ – surely, you need to be up for enjoying its liveness, for contributing and talking, and going with the flow. It’s only fair to acknowledge that that might be offputting at first for many. But then I think again – Talk’s ability to articulate something quite profound about the lack of communication so many of us have faced in recent years makes it curiously and encouragingly universal. If one can get past that initial fear, a joyous and empowering experience can be had.

I never open up to others easily. I tend to keep conversation to a minimum in unfamiliar social situations. And yet, by the end of Talk, I had made a new friend I talked so freely with that another audience member thought we must have arrived at the show together. That, for me, proves the worth of this production. Put simply, it works.

TALK was created by Madeleine Allardice and Dylan Frankland, co-artistic directors of Kill The Cat. I watched TALK at Theatre Royal Plymouth. The show has now finished its current run, but further info about the piece and the company can be found on KTC’s website.

Rainer by Max Wilkinson – ‘masterful’


The Arcola’s Outside space, a wonderful wooden-clad hut off a side street in Dalston, boasts an intriguingly bare stage. As the audience trickles in, I wonder how the show will begin. My question is answered with wonderful immediacy when performer Sorcha Kennedy excitedly bounds into the makeshift auditorium, energised and charged, as she continues to be throughout this impressive seventy-minute monologue.

Kennedy plays our guide for the evening, Rainer, who is here to tell us a story, of many things, it seems, but most of her anecdotes centre around a turbulent spell working as a delivery driver in London. There is no projection, set features or other visual aids to place the piece geographically; instead, Kennedy paints the scene with her words – words so skilfully written and precisely placed by Max Wilkinson’s masterful script. This is a show rooted in the UK capital, both in terms of its encyclopedic knowledge of literal places and its subtle commentary on and observations of London’s varied and often troubling culture. ‘This is London – when it’s good, it’s great’, proclaims Rainer at one particular juncture, and this seems to be a running belief throughout the show. Perhaps inevitably, the play touches on some incredibly serious aspects too, some of which could perhaps benefit from more specific content warnings, but these are nonetheless dealt with through admirable accuracy and sincerity. The piece, despite beginning in a gleeful and witty tone, ultimately reaches its conclusion through exploring subjects that are decidedly laugh-free, which contrast greatly from the opening (in which Kennedy announces that everyone is locked in for the whole show, and is welcome unless they’re ‘a racist’). The balancing of these two moods is at a perfect equilibrium, and neither feels out of tune with the central character.

Kennedy’s ability as a performer simply has to be commended. Her incredible physical and vocal ability, not only as Rainer but also as every other person she comes into contact with in the story, switching entire postures and accents in the blink of an eye, makes her the ideal storyteller for this complex monologue. The direction, from Nico Pimpare, is incredibly assured, clearly having worked closely with Kennedy to create this fascinating protagonist with immense detail and respect. The piece has some lovely music, too, from composer Johanna Burnheart (the live violin was a particular treat).

It is easy to get lost in this piece, largely due to the expertise of Wilkinson’s storytelling, but as Rainer says at the conclusion ‘This play doesn’t really have a message’, and I quite like it that way. Perhaps that’s my taste in theatre talking, but arguably some of the strongest monologues are those that weave a story together without seeming to try. They are more akin to an engaging and detailed conversation with a good friend, or an unprompted and slightly unnerving speech from a talkative stranger you only met five minutes ago. They only appear to be absent of a message on the surface – below this, there is an incredible amount to unpack. This play certainly feels like a monologue of such quality, and, despite having some parts that could benefit from further edits or deeper exploration, the writing stays beautifully afloat.

Rainer is also a perfect piece for this exterior venue. At times I felt like the natural sounds of passing ambulances, or bikes, were too perfectly timed to not be intentional sound design, but maybe that’s just the magic of it. Because, in Rainer, something does sparkle.

-Toby Moran Mylett

Rainer ran from 4th-9th October 2021 at The Arcola Outside space.

The House Never Wins by Kill The Cat Theatre – ‘fantastically executed’



Kill The Cat’s The House Never Wins entices from the get-go with its own intriguing promises of delivering ‘unparalleled sophistication’ and ‘interactive game theatre’. Its intelligent observations on the current climate crisis are clear from the start, as Dylan Frankland and Madeleine Allardice’s masterful dramaturgy weaves the audience along a deeply engaging path of darkly witty commentary, facilitation and game-play. It proves a perfect experience for all those currently feeling starved of innovative, exciting new fringe work by such well-respected UK artists.

This is a show for those who enjoy immersive theatre – participation is inescapable, and in many ways that seems to be the very point. To keep ‘The House’ alive, the audience have to gamble for its well-being – as we all do in reality for the planet, whether we realise it or not. The piece intoxicates you with its meticulously crafted competitive setup and, through this, makes you a near-selfish player in a game that only thinly veils its strong parallels to everyday life. Barrages of advertisements, messages, and questions flood your phone as you play the game using The House’s WhatsApp number and its dystopian Naive branding. The experience is somewhat overwhelming – as if deciding your next move in a game of Blackjack in front of twenty-plus total strangers doesn’t pile on the pressure enough already – and it is because of these mounting pressures that the production proves so impactful and immersive in equal measure.

Frankland and Allardice have refined their dramaturgy into a clear and distilled line of thinking – only gentle nods to the show’s subtext are required for the audience to fully grasp the underlying messages. What is also truly commendable is their use of Zoom, which proves utterly masterful, and for any participants unfamiliar with the programme, Frankland clearly talks the audience through its functionality at the beginning of the proceedings in a humorous, entertaining manner. Wonderfully creative uses of backgrounds and camera angles are also implemented throughout; the birds eye view of the card table is an inspired touch which makes the game far more interesting and accessible, especially for those less familiar with Blackjack itself (which, too, is explained with patience and clarity by Allardice’s quick-witted and composed Dealer). Both performers work truly convincingly in the context of the show as their stern casino-worker characters, and it is abundantly clear from this uniquely planned and fantastically executed production that Kill The Cat is an artistic duo capable of excellent theatre.

Perhaps the only criticism I would offer is that at times, as the audience member (or perhaps, just myself) focuses on the specifics of the literal card game, due to the inherent need to contribute to it, it becomes harder to pay attention to anything more, and thus all the wonderfully satirical and detailed adverts, news-flashes and even an offer of a Carbon offsetting scheme from ‘Brian Air’ that progressively ping onto your phone become harder to appreciate. Suddenly, the experience loses some of its depth and seems to become more simply just a card game, although still a very complex one. This is saved however by the frequent spoken reminders of The House’s health and new rules for the game, which reminds the participant of the context of events, bringing them back to earth. This curious effect that the game has, however, does somewhat contribute to its own dramaturgy – our own real-life house is genuinely burning, and grasping all the reasons why is nothing short of completely overwhelming, too.

The House Never Wins is a riveting and incredibly immersive experience which promises perfect lockdown entertainment for any artistically-deprived theatre enthusiasts. Whilst the competitive nature of the game itself weaves you in, the cleverly worded messages regarding fire, capacity and sustainability tell a much darker story of the time in which we currently live. We must all keep The House afloat; it is our duty.

The House Never Wins ran from the 12th-23rd of May 2020. It was produced by Turtle Key Arts. Visit Kill The Cat’s website here for details on upcoming work. 

– Toby Moran Mylett

NEW SHOW – ‘The Possibilities’

Well, new-ish. It’s a Howard Barker classic; a selection of short plays depicting unsettling situations, presented by our wonderful team as an examination of the forensically-written text. Co-direction by myself and Taz Long again (if you saw Crave in late 2018, we also worked together on that, so if you thought that was at least okay, then you will probably think the same, or even something more positive, about this, too).

Performed at The Grove, Middlesex University this Thursday and Friday. Free tickets available still via the link here.

See you there!

Toby Moran Mylett


Poster: Ken Nakajima


Well, this is getting repetitive…

Okay, I know I keep doing this, and genuinely I really am sorry, but…

I’m going to take a bit of a break from the proper blog posting. Things are very, very busy at the moment and I’m working in a lot of different disciplines at the same time. Will still use this website to keep you updated with any arty things I do though, so it won’t go to complete waste, and I may well re-start it at some point in the future.

Thanks lots for all the support, as always.

-Toby Moran Mylett

Louis Theroux’s Altered States – ‘Spellbinding television’

Theroux triumphs once again in this quiet analysis of the uncomfortable and forgotten cells of modern day US society.

Not that I really need to say it, but Louis Theroux is quite a gem of a documentary presenter. Measured and rarely explicitly biased, with an admirable ability to hold back on intense emotion, and an equal willingness to get nipple-deep into truly bizarre situations, make him the perfect quiet, ever-so-slightly critical, though at all times evaluative, observer for such difficult topics as those explored in his most recent BBC series, Altered States (said topics in question being open adoption, polygamous relationships, and assisted suicide). Following on from his previous travels in the US with his 2017 series Dark States, Altered States provides a solid, confident and effortless comeback with equally important and heavy subject matter.

ltEach of the trio of programmes make for difficult yet beautiful viewing in their own right, with the opening episode of ‘Love Without Limits’ highlighting both the ongoing euphoria of polyamoury coupled with its paradoxically crushing effects on those who are unwillingly caught up in the middle of it’s bizarre, undefined wrath, alongside the potential selfishness or selflessness people can treat it with (and allow to manifest within them with regards to it). The third episode, ‘Take My Baby’, is harrowing in places but perhaps at the same time the most uplifting – it’s hard not to break out into a smile when watching a calmly gleeful young boy setting conscious eyes onto his mother for the first time in a US shopping mall, before running towards her and eagerly embracing. But it’s the midpoint of the trio that really knocks it out of the metaphorical park: ‘Choosing Death’ (with contrastingly perhaps the weakest name) is a deeply moving and perfectly handled exploration into the almost subterranean world of assisted suicide in the US. Something about the progression of the episode – mirroring the few people it follows – who you get to know so very well – but still not half as well as their loved ones did – and seeing them eventually reach the inevitable, is nothing short of devastating. It raises a lot of questions, and I think for Theroux this is also the case; clearly at points he is greatly struggling to measure and manage the literal nature of the occurrences he documents. Nonetheless, as always, Louis doesn’t let this colour his presenting, always rounding off to an open conclusion with no declared ‘right’ answer, which seems only fair – how are you possibly supposed to land on one for such a topic?

The cinematography of the series should also be commended for its gentle, observational and personal feel – and Wesley Pollitt consequently does a great job as Series Cinematographer and Assistant Director. Overall the gentle, sincere feel further highlights just why such documentaries are so deeply important to watch – because the people within them are treated just as sincerely by others in their lives. Theroux, as always, captures a very special neutral sentimentality, and through nudging it gently a tiny bit closer to the camera lense, yet refraining from shameless exploitation, he creates spellbinding television.

‘Altered States’ aired on BBC 2 from 23rd November – 22nd December 2018. It’s available to watch on BBC Iplayer until April 2019.

-Toby Moran Mylett

The Top 3 Best Shows I Saw in 2018

From the hilarious to the harrowing, twenty-eighteen brought some incredible performances to the UK theatre scene, both on a fringe and mainstream level.

I always find it hard to summarise my opinions on all the shows I see in one year, and it seems that each calendar-recycling day I end up feeling more and more daunted by such a task. In twenty-eighteen I watched thirty-seven shows, and so, unsurprisingly, narrowing this list down to what I believe to be the three best was no easy task, though as always, possibly more-so with theatre than any other art form, subjectivity plays a terrifically important role in ranking such artistic experiences; indeed, there is no arbitrary way to grade or organise art in terms of competence, relevancy or quality – the beauty is totally in the eye of the beholder. These are just my personal favourites – but my god did I like them.

3. The Body – Cider With Rosie



By Nick Darke. Performed at The Cider Works, Crediton 10-12th July 2018. Directed by Racheal Vowles.

I am truly ashamed to say that, before stumbling upon this wonderfully bizarre text and production by the Cornish play-write, politician, beachcomber and all round general fucking legend Nick Darke, I was completely unaware of him or his wonderful texts. I understand he has a tendency to divide opinion – and certainly, I will acknowledge that the brutally surreal and relentlessly unpredictable nature of this farcical play isn’t for everyone, but I for one loved it. Not only did this unlikely rural production uncover a true partly forgotten gem of British play-writing, its energised, committed and frankly hilarious cast bought to it a very distinct charm, competency, silliness and subtle darkness that created the perfect dichotomy in which to present the text and its backwards narrative. Not forgetting of course the wonderful setting – a working Cider mill; airy, cold, and full of dangerous but slightly funny possibilities, much like the story itself, The Body dragged the word ‘theatre’ kicking and screaming into the world of twenty-first century community arts projects, and stuck a conking great red nose on it. This production was a true bit of gold-dust – incredibly hard to fault at all, bar some perhaps slightly drawn out segments more due to the nature of the script and not the performance – I would unreservedly recommend seeing it again if its revived, or indeed anything by Cider With Rosie in the future. Racheal Vowles’ direction has been proved by this show to be truly spellbinding and wickedly hilarious. A triumph of small-scale theatre.

2. Labels – Worklight Theatre



By Joe Sellman-Leava. On tour 15th – 21st July 2018.

Labels was paradoxically both technically simple and logistically complicated, whilst retaining a beautifully multi-faceted and real story-line. With Joe Seaman-Leava’s performance leaving a brilliantly frank and assured comment upon race politics in our current social climate, it’s no wonder that Worklight have received widely positive responses to the production. A poignant way to conclude the running of Exeter’s most unusual theatre, The Bike Shed (may its legacy rest in such pieces), the show’s tendency to hope for the better seemed both admirable and indeed minorly depressing – that we haven’t already achieved better, that is. Much of the piece revolves around Joe’s own anecdotes from growing up in rural England as a mixed race man, and at times, despite his jovial style, amazing capability for impressions and effortless stage presence, the piece can be incredibly hard to watch. It paints a sad yet incredibly truthful picture of the racism we can so easily forget about unless we are directly faced with it. A stellar performance only slightly let down by structural aspects and at times perhaps a slight over-reliance on comedy; in reality the issues at hand are so grave, important and genuine, there’s no need for such engagement tactics. People should listen regardless, and indeed it seems that they do, if only because of Joe’s no-nonsense, ego-less attitude to the topic and performance. It feels more like a conversation with a friend than a solo piece, and at that, a very important one.

1. Amadeus – National Theatre

By Peter Shaffer. Performed at The National Theatre, London (Olivier Stage) 22nd January-24th April.



The very thought of Amadeus still gives me goosebumps to this day as I write this, even though it’s been a fucking year since I watched it. Lucian Msamati’s depiction of Salieri is masterful, and Adam Gillen’s Mozart, whilst at first potentially hard to get into and perhaps overly clownish at certain moments, proves otherwise pitch perfect and manically gorgeous. The Southbank Sinfonia’s violently precise movements, re-mixing classical tunes into rock-steady beats of strings and serenity add another incredible aspect to this wonderful realisation of Peter Shaffer’s text. It goes without saying that any future performances crafted by seemingly much-under-watched award-winning director Micheal Longhurst are absolutely worth trying to experience, as this incredible monster of storytelling proves undoubtedly his incredible capabilities in forming theatre that can be as architecturally complex as it is relatable. With an effortless passage through time and tale there is, in my opinion, only one word that summarises the production and indeed the man himself who it is so covertly named after: Magnificent.

-Toby Moran Mylett

My prolonged lack of a recycling bin has plunged me into another semi-serious existential crisis. Predictably.

There’s little in my life that doesn’t involve a bit of mess, and I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.

Earlier this week one of my rightly disgruntled house-mates politely pleaded with me to contact our local borough council to ascertain why we were yet to receive the recycling bin that we had ordered (and paid for) soon after moving in earlier this autumn. Upon phoning, and after a string of overly-enthused recorded messages that even a Sainsbury’s Self-Checkout would be put to shame by, I eventually got to talk to a real life human being, and I was told that the department in question had quite simply ‘run out of bins’. They assured me that we would however receive our order within the next month and profusely apologised. I aimed to reassure the staff member explaining the conundrum but I fear someone else asked her just the same question about 2.7 seconds before I hung up. It must have been a tough day.

Upon ending the phone call I found myself pondering an amusing yet highly perplexing modern day dilemma; on the one hand I found it completely hilarious that the sole office of official bin resourcing in our local area could run out of the very thing that gives them their fucking name, but at the same time I felt bad about even considering having any feelings of irritation towards them, because perhaps it meant that an increasing number of people in the local area were beginning to recycle their household waste, which surely isn’t by any means a bad thing. Indeed, there must have been some sort of increase in demand for such a shortage to occur? I’d at least like to think that this entire department of our certain North Londinium council isn’t run with quite the same low level of competency as the highways on Craggy Island, anyway.

Maybe however the problem is more-so that there is simply too much waste – everywhere – and as humans we only are increasing the constant production of this bollocking stuff, even if it is recyclable. I’ve lost count of the amount of times my girlfriend and I have sat over a cup of tea and ranted about the ever declining state of this little blue planet which none of us humans are truly even slightly worthy of, no matter how much we convince ourselves so. Maybe this situation I encountered is no laughing matter. Predictably, however, me being me, I ended up pissing myself regardless.

Living in the city I feel like mess is everywhere. It’s very easy to fixate on things like fly tipping, slurry pits and squashed pheasants when you live in a rural area, but in a city it isn’t just literal waste that causes the mess – you also have constant, noisy traffic to contend with, alongside tightly packed buildings, migraine-inducing advertising on every corner, building sites on any precious area of unoccupied non-greenbelt land and, of course, fucktons of actual rubbish too. I adore London, don’t get me wrong, but just like any other city, this side to it is surely unignorable. It fuzzes the brain and confuses the everything else. Even my own personal living spaces become just as bad once I’ve moved back in to my University area. My room. My wardrobe. The bloody drying rack by the sink. And even my timetable – that which seemingly has no regularity and sees me already knackered by ten-thirty on a Monday morning – seems, whilst no doubt productive, incredibly messy.

It appears clear to me that, from re-reading my last opinion post on this blog, I am someone who craves order. I write lists endlessly. I can’t function without a wall calendar. I only can post on this blog once a month and no more. I don’t always like the rule of three. I am someone who desperately wants to be organised – whether I always fulfill this wish is of course another matter entirely – but maybe this is perhaps the prevailing reason as to why the concept of mess so frequently troubles me.

I’m currently on a train home to Devon to pick up my crappy little car to take it back to my new place in London. Within 3 days no doubt its back seats will house a complete mini landfill, but I will be happier for having my vehicle nonetheless. I’ll try to forget its exhaust pipe’s impact on the planet a little and just remember how many wonderful places it can take me in the meantime – places I can organise the schedules for far far in advance to my heart’s content. In the meantime I aim to focus my attention on vast green fields and the general absence of capitalistic slogans every three-out-of-five locations that my gaze clumsily lands on. It may help, and if not, it will certainly distract.

-Toby Moran Mylett