Senior assistant designer
Gareth Damian Martin
Programmer and associate designer
Assistant programmer and automation tracking
Leo Warner & Nick Hytner
Lyttelton Theatre, NT, June 2014
Richard Bean’s fast and furious new play is an anarchic satire about the press, the police and the political establishment. Billie Piper plays Paige Britain, ambitious young news editor of The Free Press, a tabloid newspaper locked in a never-ending battle for more readers.
'Written with real verve...a production by Nicholas Hytner that is as well marshalled as a military campaign.'
'Nicholas Hytner’s production is pacy and busy. Giant video screens dominate Tim Hatley’s design, relaying snippets from other papers — no prizes for recognising the Daily Wail or the Guardener — and as the images flash past we experience the fluidity of the news agenda as well as its limits.
Bean’s satire is deliberately grotesque. The cartoonish elements are richly enjoyable, laced with political incorrectness, yet they’re interleaved with some altogether more subtle jokes. Even if the show feels a little too broad and could do with a trim, it’s barbed, dense and very funny.'
'Directed with terrific niftiness by Nicholas Hytner, the play weaves between politically incorrect humour and something darker and more troubling as it raised awkward questions about the divisions between honourable and disgusting journalistic muck-raking. It suggests that, while a great many of our institutions may be found wanting at the moment, the NT is on exhilarating and exemplary form.'
'Some fantastic acting work across the board and slick direction from Nicholas Hytner'.
'This is a big play, and Nicholas Hytner gives it one of his big productions, with huge video screens acting as stage “wipes” while showing mocked-up headlines and TV news clips, even supposed YouTube mash-ups of the hapless police commissioner (a rare character with no obvious biographical basis) and his repertoire of foot-in-mouthisms.'
'Elegantly staged using mobile glass walls that double as video screens, plus a smart mix of pre-filmed material....But the real scene-stealer is Aaron Neil's gay London police chief Sully Kassam, whose majestically stupid press briefings provide some of the play's most hilarious lines, especially when recycled into Youtube-style parody video clips screened on the glass walls between scenes. This is an inspired use of contemporary social media conventions to amplify comic impact.'
'There is plenty to enjoy in Nicholas Hytner’s vigorous and charming production.'