🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 The Play with Speeches - a brand-new hit!

 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 The Play with Speeches

It could be said that I’ve been beyond remiss in not seeing James Woolf’s  breathtakingly funny concept, even immersive play, The Play with Speeches, only as it crosses South of the river and, in its fourth incarnation. This says a lot about the play and clearly proves, in the simplest way, how brilliant the piece is, how it’s grown and matured and, roll on the fifth, sixth and seventh versions. This is a play with speeches, legs and undoubted theatrical longevity!

As is the norm, a brief resume of the piece is customary at this point but breaking with tradition I am only giving the scantest outline for fear of spoiling some of the joyous twists, turns, surprises, serious laugh-out-loud moments that spring from James Woolf’s ingenious mind.

Suffice for the moment is the show’s blurb, ‘Penny and Anthony were once an item, but things went pear shaped and they broke up. Now Penny has accepted a job directing Anthony’s play and they’re all set to hold auditions. Anthony is wounded and Penny’s soon wondering whether working with her ex was her best idea. And then the actors arrive with enough emotional baggage to fill the dressing room. What could possibly go wrong?’ Clearly plenty and my unflinching justification for five stars!

I must also highlight the fact that this is undoubtedly a company on top form – Matthew Parker, Katherine Reilly, Joshua Jewkes, Mark Parsons, Mayuresh Mishra, Anna Blackburn, Camilla O’Grady, Ursula Campbell and Michael Perlmutter – who give all round electric performances under the astute, incisive and sharply observed direction of Katherine Reilly and Ursula Campbell – both in fact with roles in the play!

Special mention must go to Katherine Reilly and Matthew Parker as bickering exes and playing The Play with Speeches’ director and writer respectively. It is also a vehicle for Matthew Parker to unleash a theatrical being that redefines the meaning of tour de force and, like the rest of the ensemble, are unmissable in this gorgeous demonstration of a brand new hit! Bravo!

The Play With Speeches Listings Information
Venue: Upstairs at the Gatehouse, Highgate Village, N6 4BD

Box office: www.upstairsatthegatehouse.com or Box Office: 020 8340 3488

Dates: Tuesday 13 June – Saturday 17 June 2023 | 7.30pm + Sunday 18 June | 4.00pm
Tickets: £22, £20 concessions (14+)
Running time: One hour and fifty minutes, including a fifteen-minute interval
Theatre website: https://www.upstairsatthegatehouse.com/
Company website: https://www.oliveandstavros.com/The Creative Team

Writer| James Woolf
Director| Ursula Campbell and Katherine Reilly
Lighting Design | Nick Peel
Producer | Olive & Stavros

The Cast { Matthew Parker, Katherine Reilly, Joshua Jewkes, Mark Parsons, Mayuresh Mishra, Michael Perlmutter, Anna Blackburn, Camilia O’Grady, Ursula Campbell.


  1. Fantastic play with fantastic performances.

  2. Entertaining, and moving too; a delight to sit through


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