Review: Yerma

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I recently saw Yerma at the Young Vic, directed by Simon Stone. I’m a little late with this review (the play has been running since late July and recently closed) but it had a significant impact on me, and I wanted to share my thoughts nonetheless.

As Spanish speaker, I was nervous. Lorca is notoriously difficult to translate. His texts are rich with strong imagery and cultural resonances, and the rhythm of the lines heightens the emotional intensity of the language. His plays are beautiful to read aloud in Spanish; even if you can’t understand the words, meaning is conveyed through the flow of consonants.

I needn’t have worried; watching Yerma, I was thrown straight into the world of the play. Despite being written and set in Catholic Spain in the 1930s, it felt unnervingly fresh and relevant.

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Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

As the play has now officially opened, I thought it was safe to share my thoughts on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I’ve tried to #KeepTheSecrets as much as possible, but if you’d prefer to remain 100% spoiler free, please look away now!

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As we approached the theatre, it was immediately obvious that we’d come to the right place. The queue stretching round the block was packed with beaming faces and bodies covered top-to-toe in Hogwarts paraphernalia – striped scarves in red and gold, ties in green and silver, billowing black robes, t-shirts printed with familiar quotes and even a handful of pointed hats. Then there were the accents – voices from states across America, from New Zealand, Australia, Japan. It seems there’s no ocean a Potter fan won’t cross for a fresh dose of The Boy Who Lived.

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On Bookshops

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Bookshops are my happy place.

Nothing delights me more than perusing shelves, reading title after title, pausing to select the ones that intrigue me, to examine covers and read opening sentences, feeling the weight of the stories they contain, taking a moment to appreciate the work that’s gone into each and every edition.

Bookshops are my panacea, the mysterious elixir with the power to uplift, intrigue, excite and reassure. There’s nothing like the familiar sight of rows and rows of Penguin classics to settle my anxious mind.

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Review: Richard III

Ralph-Fiennes Richard III

Photo by Miles Aldridge

I have never devoted much time to Shakespeare’s history plays. When given the choice between the Bard’s real and fictional kings, I instinctively opt for the latter. Yet, despite my broader reservations, Richard III has always intrigued me; the first time I read the play, his curved back, seductive rhetoric and malevolent deeds captured the darkest recesses of my imagination. Naturally, then, when the Almeida announced their prestigious new production, with Ralph Fiennes in the title role, I happily spent a lengthy period on hold with the box office, desperate to secure a ticket. Thanks to their Under 25s scheme, I got lucky.

It takes a remarkable production to make three and a half hours of classical theatre feel like half that time. Fortunately, that’s exactly what director Rupert Goold achieves here, with the help of an outstanding cast and creative team.

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On Cooking

Joey Gif

I’m thinking about food.

Dinner. Buttery crab-stuffed ravioli swimming in a creamy tomato sauce. Breakfast. The salty, smoky taste of bacon, smothered in orange yolk. Copious hot, bitter cups of coffee. Lunch. Piles of brightly-coloured vegetables drowning in olive oil. The sharp tang of balsamic vinegar. God, I love balsamic vinegar.

My gluttony is relentless. If writing is my first love, food comes a very close second. Writing about food? Well, that’s the dream.

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On being alone

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Recently I’ve been spending a lot of time alone.

If that sounds bleak, it isn’t. At least, not for me. Most of the time, I like being alone.

There’s something inherently taboo about enjoying your own company. The carpe diem attitude championed by the self-help industry implies that choosing to be alone is somehow a cop-out, that in order to be making the most of our lives we need to be stuffing every second with brunches and first dates and weekends away and big nights out.

The truth is I get the same satisfaction from the prospect of a weekend without plans as I do from a brand new notebook and a collection of freshly-sharpened pencils. Both contain the delicious sense of possibility.

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On irrational hatred

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‘Consider the scenario. You’re sitting in the pub, waiting for a friend. They’ve texted you to ask if it’s ok if they bring someone else along and you’ve happily agreed. They arrive and your friend introduces you to their companion. As you shake their hand, you experience an instant, hot, totally irrational rush of dislike…’

[To read my full piece, please visit the good folk at Lndnr.com]