Past Productions - click on Image to go to Review.

 

Other plays I have directed include: The Dinner Party by Neil Simon; Leaves of Glass by Philip Ridley and Interior:Panic by Tennessee Williams.

 

Nominated for OffWestEnd Award

 

Best Supporting Actor:

Max Saunders Singer (Potts)

" The Meisner Technique brings an amazing naturalism and connectivity to this production of the Seagull...it was amazing and Kim Hardy was superb as Konstantin"

 

Francesca Annis - Actress and Judge for Ian Charleson Award.

Nominated for OffWestEnd Award

 

Best Supporting Actor:

Mario Demetriou (Wally)

Critics Choice 

Timeout

Michael Billington

 
 
 
 

The Glasshouse by Max Singer Saunders

The Tristan Batres

November 2014

 

SYNOPSIS

 

Confined in a cramped, makeshift prison on the back line of the Somme, two men stand charged with cowardice and desertion. Trapped inside the damp, cold and oppressive walls of this ‘Glasshouse’, a beautiful friendship crystallizes between them.  But how long can friendship last? And how much can a man withstand before he breaks?

 

In the 100th anniversary year of the outbreak of World War I, acclaimed emerging company Grindstone presents the world premiere of Max Saunders-Singer’s emotional new drama THE GLASSHOUSE. Based on extensive research into true stories of soldiers on the front lines, this powerful new work explores a rarely seen side of trench warfare.

 

Following the intertwined stories of the misfits, idealists and tragic victims who pass through this hastily constructed trench prison cell, THE GLASSHOUSE is a moving, blood-pumping and powerfully original new play. Through these stories, it also shines a stark new light on the effects of 'Shell Shock' and failures in the treatment of so called 'Cowards' and 'Conchies' who were unable or refused to fight.

CAST

 

PIP - Max Saunders Singer

MOON - Sam Adamson

HARPER - Simon Naylor

BLYTHE - John Askew

MARY BORDEN - Sonnie Beckett

 

REVIEWS

 

★★★★★ 

The New Current

 

'A remarkable achievement'

 

 

★★★★ 

Entertainment Focus

 

'Don't miss'

 

★★★★★ 

View From The Gods

 

'A play which exists lest we forget'

 

★★★★

What's On Stage

 

'Visceral and eye-wateringly honest' 

 

 

★★★★ 

Play's To See

 

'A triumph' 

 

MOJO by Jez Butterworth

The White Bear Theatre

September, 2014

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: 

Savagely funny but equally poignant, Mojo takes us back to a Soho club in the Rock and Roll 50’s where a bunch of gangster wanna-be’s must confront reality with the untimely cutting-in-half of their employer- Ezra. As the drugs and paranoia take hold; the bins with the body brought in and the toffee apples purchased Ezra’s Atlantic becomes a castle under siege and a pressure cooker of deceit, power grabbing and fear. Butterworth uses this ‘wonderful collision’ of rock and roll and desperate, damaged characters to present a story which is darkly comic but contained within his visceral dialogue is an unflinching commentary on the nature of a patriarchal society and the desperate lengths that many go to disguise their pain and feelings - this swaggering machismo which masks the fear and doubt beneath.

 

 

Cast and Creatives: 

 

Baby - Luke Trebilcock. Potts - Max Saunders Singer.  

Skinny - Max Warrick.  Sweets - Jack Heath. Mickey - Oscar Blend.  

Silver Johnny - Oliver Hall.

 

Set Design - Jo Dias

Costume Design - Jane Rankine

Music Design - Chris Roe

Operator / Stage Manger - Nathalie Gunzle

 

 

REVIEWS

 

***** 5 Stars

WhatsOnStage

To put it quite simply; Mojo is a knockout of a show. At home in the almost disturbingly intimate White Bear Theatre, director Sebastien Blanc's interpretation of Jez Butterworth's hit show is exactly that – a tremendous hit that will give you an even bigger high. And good luck coming down from this one on the tube home.

 

 

***** 5 Stars

GrumpayGayCritic

An intense tinder-box production that brings Jez Butterworth’s phenomenal first play into quarters so close that the tension is unbearable. 

Shows like this are the reason I’ll always love the fringe... in the hands of Blanc and his company, stuffing it into the intimate space of the White Bear Theatre, it turns into an unbearably tense and nerve-shredding thriller of epic proportions. I don’t want to see another toffee apple for a long time!

 

 

 

***** 5 Stars

A Younger Theatre

The detail and thought that have gone into this production mean that it does full justice to Butterworth’s snarling script, acknowledging its moments of tenderness and sharpening its edge of menace. The result is an invigorating show with the rock and roll power of Little Richard’s “awopbopaloobop-alopbamboom”.

 

***** 5 Stars

The New Current

Mojo is not an easy play to produce and certainly not one that can be taken lightly. The playwrights style is unique, thoughtful, brave and challenging which requires the audience to listen carefully as important themes and clues are provided in-between conversations. 

 

Blanc has created a more honest and authentic Mojo that has at its heart six troubled men who find everything they’ve worked for wiped out by greed, jealousy and fear. His use of space and music brilliantly gives the audience a genuine feel of time and place.

 

This company raise the bar for Off West End Theatre in such a remarkable way and to say one is left speechless after this production would be an understatement.

 

***** 5 Stars

View From The Gods

You may think the cut and thrust of gangland crime would be the focal point, but that actually plays second fiddle to a study of our lead - Baby who seems written for Luke Trebilcock; he really owns it. The other actors do a sterling job in supporting him, in particularly the jumpiness of pill-popping Potts and Sweets, a nice but dim double act by Singer and Heath, but it's Trebilcock's performance which makes this Mojo so enthralling. Butterworth's defiantly disgusting script calls for it to be bubbling in the background which Blanc duly acknowledges. Still, there's enough twists and turns to keep us on tenterhooks and our director keeps the action flowing very naturally.

Verdict

While Mojo's overtly masculine (probably no surprise given the cast and subject matter) there are a few tender moments too, making for a thoroughly magnetic piece. This is one Baby you don't put in a corner.

 

 

**** 4 Stars

EveryThing Theatre

A dark and disturbing tour-de-force set in a Soho club in the Rock and Roll 50’s . As comic as it is terrifying. Absolutely outstanding performances by the entire cast, with Luke Trebilcock stealing the show as one of the most chilling and creepy characters I’ve ever seen.

The Seagull by Anton Chekhov

The White Bear

December 2013

A Front Foot Theatre Production

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis

 

The Seagull is the first of what are generally considered to be the four major plays by the Russian dramatist Anton Chekhov. It was written in 1895 and first produced in 1896. It dramatises the romantic and artistic conflicts between four characters: the famous middlebrow story writer Boris Trigorin, the ingenue Nina, the fading actress Irina Arkadina, and her son the symbolist playwright Konstantin Trepljov.

 

 

Directors Note

 

It's always interesting dealing with a play that has love and art as one of its chief concerns, as these tend to be the constant battleground for most artists. The struggle...the choices: right or wrong...people left behind - sacrificed in pursuit of something we don't necessarily truly understand but feel compelled to do. Is it egotism or altruism? Are we trying to serve ourselves or those around us?

 

But so do these choices exist in all lives...who can sit here today and say they have not suffered heart break? Or felt failure? That they would not choose have had more time with their parents or their children? Or broken promises and love for work? There is one thing we all share and that is the struggle of life. To bear our cross. To live with our choices and, for me, this is what The Seagull embody's - the soul's need for happiness and the struggle we endure, equally tragic as it is comedic, to reach for it.

 

We have dedicated ourselves to understanding the true interior life of these characters; to be free of control and conceived ideas of how one should be in a given moment and to allow instinct to govern our responses. When human beings are engaged passionately we lose ourselves, even those who profess to have control. We say and do the unexpected...a roaring argument can suddenly turn to laughter or love-making; a heartfelt hello into tears.

 

 

 

 

This unpredictability of life is what we are striving towards on stage. We have not set out to give a performance which is polished and pristine but rather one that is free, truthful and passionate; to embrace and understand the struggle of these characters and to live within that on the stage. 

 

To my mind the greatest element of theatre is that is happening now. It's alive in the moment, living and breathing in front of you. As a group, we have rehearsed not to hold onto form but to live truthfully under the given circumstances; to respond to what is happening in the moment and to, hopefully, bring to life the heart of Chekhov's Seagull.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cast And Crew

 

Stephen Cristos - Sorin

Kim Hardy - Konstantin

Julia Papp - Nina

Paul Hughes - Shamrayev

Louise Templeton - Arkadina

James Tweedy - Medvedenko

Anna Stafford - Polina

Maura Duffy - Moira

Lawrence O'Connor - Dorn

Micael Walsh - Trigorin

 

Sound Engineer/Technician - Stefan Andrews

Joana Dias - Set Design

Jane Rankine - Costume Design

Jo Rossen  - Stage Manager

 

Reviews and audience feedback:

(We struggled to get reviewers in but left a book for audience to sign)

 

**** 4 Stars

Everything Theatre

"Brilliant and compelling performances from the lead actors, and the scenic backdrop effectively captures the simplicity and stillness of the natural setting.

The acting approach used in this production makes for high quality and honest performances, and also works to further express the chief concerns of the play. ”

 

**** 4 Stars

Urban Times

“This is a very accessible production, with casual and personal delivery style instantly making the audience at home.”  

The small space makes the explosive lead performance of Kim Hardy all the more poignant. In such close quarters it is impossible not to feel real sympathy for a man whose promising life is falling apart, while his fierce outbursts leave the audience touched, feeling almost awkward to be sharing such moments of vulnerability.” 

 

*** 3 Stars

One Stop Arts

“ A very promising start for this new production company. Amongst the main roles the stand out success was the gloriously natural performance of Louise Templeton as Arkadina."

 

Audience Feedback

 

 

“Can’t recommend this enough, thoroughly absorbing and superbly acted.” – John Kelley

 

“I never seen anything quite like it. Although I confess that it was my first time seeing ‘The Seagull’ I can’t help but think that they made the long speeches much more believable and a joy to watch. You have to remember that Chekhov wrote this a long time ago and my generation is very much about the visual, having been given Iphones and sitting in front of t.v. What this play does is engages you visually and keeps you hooked by the acting which was juggernaut, making me wonder if they had assembled the best actors they could find or if all of their productions were like this. I honestly thought it was magnificent and I’m looking forward to anything else they do.” – Chris Malle

 

“I found the interplay between the characters fascinating to watch, believable, intense and in parts even humorous. Sorin’s love of both Konstantin and Arkadina, so often in conflict, left him in despair, the perfect backdrop to his own unfulfilled ambitions, wonderfully captured by Stephen Cristos. A brilliant emotional and powerful performance by Kim Hardy as Konstantin brought energy and even a little danger to the piece and Louise Templeton as Arkadina, self absorbed and majestic. beautifully portrayed. This is a must see performance of The Seagull. You should go and see it.”  – William

 

” I was totally drawn into the story – the actors were brilliant to watch and to listen to. I also thought the costumes were well done, subtle and classically perfect for this piece. I would recommend anyone wanting to see actors of this calibre to go see this before it draws to a close.”  – Cat

 

“I would highly recommend this beautifully done play – a mind blowing performance of this Chekhov’s masterpiece. The atmosphere was absorbing, the emotions, embedded in the speech of the actors, were real and inspiring! A must-see play!”  – Dilyana

 

“I saw this play on Tuesday and I thought it was brilliant . It is refreshing to see acting that is actually believable, and a joy and a relief to not be forced to watch the normal fake performances and big booming I can project voices that seem to get all the great reviews .This is a stunning production and I thought the acting was brilliant ! As far as The Meisner aspect of this production, I use this technique myself and that was why I was excited to go and watch it . I was not disappointed ! Anyone who is interested in this technique should go and see this show. This is a real chance to see some wonderful performances from a group of exciting actors.”  – Caroline Farrington

“A beautifully intimate production of a great play, filled with wonderful performances.” – Megan Hockley

 

“This beautiful play is brought to life again and thank goodness it’s in the hands of this company. They certainly know what they’re doing!” – Mary-Ann Cafferkey

“If you want to learn something about acting and want to know about the potential of Meisner technique of acting to produce a spine tingling experience for the audience, go see this.” – Anita Roddis

 

“Stunning performances, detailed, beautiful and compelling.” – Alex Vendittelli

 

“Chekhov with real people in it, a must-see.” – Geraldine Brennan

 

“I would recommend seeing this delightful play. All actors’ performances were touching and beautiful.” – Monica Del Vecchio

 

“Strong performances from the cast, great set and the atmosphere evoked is highly immersive in the intimate venue.” – Toby Osmond

The Winterling by Jez Butterworth

The White Bear Theatre

June, 2011

 

 

Synopsis

 

The Winterling is a darkly comic drama built on a myriad of startling characters and an unrelenting barrage of rapid-fire wit.

“I like London. I like pavements. I like to walk out the door and not sink up to my tits in primordial sludge. I don’t like trenchfoot. I don’t like sheep. I don’t like the country. It’s covered in shit.”

West waits in a burnt-out farmhouse, on Dartmoor, in the depths of winter, for two associates from the city. The wine has been poured and the revolver loaded. But who or what is waiting upstairs?

 

Here, Dartmoor becomes the Siberia of the south-west. Len West, an exiled gangster turfed out for untrustworthiness, gradually claims his territory off local badger-fighting hobo Draycott (Luke Trebilcock).

However, the past comes a-knocking, when Wally, West’s former associate, turns up with new recruit Patsy in tow. The choice is between two communities, neither of which society would condone. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cast and Crew

 

Luke Trebilcock - Dreycott

Mario Demetriou - Wally

Isla Ure -  Lue

Tom Vine - Patsy

Andrew Taylor - West

Operator – Nathalie Gunzle

Set Design – Kev Rice

Sound Design – Ed Lewis

 

 

Reviews

 

**** 4 Stars and Critic's Choice

Timeout

 

“Sebastien Blanc’s top-quality fringe revival hangs on the coattails of recent Broadway success, but it more than delivers in its own right… Blanc refuses to fill the blanks and so controls the atmosphere perfectly. Like dirt under the fingernails of a corpse, it’s both repulsive and puzzling.” 

 

***** 5 Stars

WhatsOnStage.

 

“Stone Junction’s production, as directed by Sebastien Blanc, is an intense, intellectual and imaginative piece of theatre, with stunning performances by his team of actors, whose claustrophobic presence is aided by a set that both defines and confines the characters and, in the White Bear space, puts us in there too.” 

 

**** 4 Stars

Remote Goat.

 

“Sebastien Blanc's savvy direction leaves the action open ended giving the audience a chance to draw their own conclusions; something Pinter would have approved of. Butterworth's language has a real bite to it, able to chill and repel yet entice at the same time. The confusion and the anxiety created by this quite alarming piece keep you questioning until well after the curtain call.” 

 

 

“Bloomin' ek.... I chewed all my nails off watching this!!! Loved it!!” Jonesy – Theatre goer.

 

“Best play I’ve ever seen on the fringe…by a long way”. Max Warrick, actor and Theatre goer.

 

Boys Life by Howard Korder

Ecetera Theatre and Kings Head Theatre

April and June 2013

11:11 Productions and One Fell Swoop Productions

 

Synopsis

 

 Korder was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize when he penned Boys' Life - his play about the battle of the sexes. Transporting us back to the sexy, 'in vogue' days of 1988 in New York, when the western economy and capitalism were riding high. Poignant, honest and acerbically funny, it tells the story of three former college pals, struggling to deal with the disillusionment and emptiness of modern life. It highlights how, in a fast changing world of sexual politics, a group of twenty-something American lads get caught in a state of arrested development and struggle with the concept of the ‘new man’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Director's Note

 

This was…such fun working alongside so many friends. It had a wonderful family feeling. On the other side of the coin, it’s always painfully poignant holding the mirror to one’s own sex but if ever we need to do it – it’s now. Most consider the miasma of misogyny behind us…feminism is triumphant …apparently. I take massive issue with this sentiment as it is readily apparent (if one takes a step back and really looks) that the spectre of sexism is far more than just a shadow. We are wreathed in it still.

Comedy can be a wonderful tool for truth… and I knew this production was a success when the line “I slept with a girl while she was unconscious” got one of the biggest laughs. I just hope the audience all questioned why they felt so uncomfortable afterwards.

 

Cast and Crew

 

Matt Crowley, Luke Trebilcock, Anna Becks Brookman, Max Warrick,

Kellie Walters, Greg Blackman, Abi Unwin Smith,

Charlotte Gascoyne and Amanda Cooper. And me for one night.

 

Set Design: Kellie Walters

Operator: Phil Hunter

 

 

Reviews:

 

Daily Mail

"The raw power and truth of Korder's work is captured superbly in this new production"

 

The Public Review

"superbly conceived and delivered, plenty of laughter" 

 

Westend Broadway 

"The cast are universally enigmatic...strongly acted and directed." 

 

Entertainment Focus 

 "There were some rip-roaringly outstanding moments, coupled with harsh doses of reality. Fun, real, utterly convincing, very cool, authentic and indie vibe" 

 

GrumpyGayCritic

"Matthew Crowley is incredibly endearing...Luke Trebilcock wonderfully desperate and morose... and Max Warrick is brilliantly distasteful, crass, and juvenile as the show's antagonist/anti-hero... a talented cast and slick production" 

 

WOW 24/7

 "Boys' Life offers some fine performances from all three leading men...their reprobate lifestyle is deftly directed by Sebastien Blanc" 

The Shallow End by Doug Lucie

The Southwark Playhouse

February, 2012

A Stone Junction Production

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

 

The Shallow End is a hilarious, biting satire that attacks the mercenary agenda in the UK’s media. Set in the 90s, amidst the wedding celebrations of a media mogul’s daughter, the axe is about to be wielded. The old-guard of a recently taken-over broadsheet paper are presented with the dilemma of yielding to the philosophy of the new regime, thus compromising their own professional and moral values, or be ousted from it.

Unmasking a heightened world of seduction and power, The Shallow End walks the stark moral battle lines that were drawn at the dawn of a new age in British media.

"Politics won't improve the world, neither will sport or any of the things you revere, no - only art and learning will do that". Alison Troop, The SE 

 

Director's Note

 

My first major test as a Director - massive cast, big venue and the mother of vicious attacks on the press in The Shallow End. Also had the honour of working alongside the playwright himself Doug Lucie - a true artist and champion for saying the bloody truth!

We went on at the height of the Leveson Inquiry and this was really a project about engaging with society ...adding to the arguments flying around the country and to remind people of the power of art as, incredibly, The Shallow End was written 15 years before the press scandal broke and predicted, with unwavering accuracy, what was to come.

We attracted a lot of flak from certain corners but audience feedback was great and Doug said it was the best production of his play yet. What we failed in, I feel, was how we marketed the play. Expectations were for a balanced discourse rather than the moral bloodletting which ensued.

“In 1997 The Shallow End was condemned across much of the media when it premiered for being hysterically negative and just plain inaccurate. “How could any successful business be so dysfunctional and borderline criminal?” they asked…  In light of recent revelations, it’s clear that it was pretty much spot on, and that my depiction of the company’s philosophy and business practice didn’t go far enough.” -Doug Lucie, Playwright of The Shallow End.

 

Cast and Crew

 

Andy Taylor, Mario Demetriou, Luke Trebilcock, Alex Nash,

Stephen Chance, Krissi Mcquillam, Seamus Newham, Daniel Benoliel,

Louise Templeton, Max Warrick, Olivier Blanc, Jim Barclay,

Nelly Kaligas and the dulcet tones of James Tweedy.

 

Operator and Stage Manager - Natalie Gunzle

Designer - Kev Rice

Lighting Designer- Jethro Compton

Sound Designer- Ed Lewis

Costume Designer- Zahra Mansouri

 

 

Reviews:

 

The Telegraph

 

“This is an entertaining and pacey production. It emphasises the ruthlessness of the executives in charge (‘I’ve got a lot of people to sack before dinner’); the connection between writing and power; and the many questions surrounding free speech: ‘Don’t confuse freedom of the press with freedom of the people,’ scoffs one of the paper’s editors.” 

 

The Evening Standard

“There are deliciously snappy one-liners and laugh-out-loud moments.” 

 

One Stop Arts

“This accomplished production has lot to say to an audience that has wised up to the machinations of the Murdochs and Bransons of this world. This is certainly not a feel-good play, but it's wickedly caustic, played with callous glee and very enjoyable to take in” 

 

Broadway World.

“I found myself alternately laughing and wincing as the barbs bit - and that's a mark of great satire.” 

Proof by David Auburn

Tabard Theatre

29 Sept - 24 October 2015

Catherine - Julia Papp                                 

Clare - Anne Marie Cafferkey (Nominated for OffWestEnd Award)

Robert - Tim Hardy

Hal - Kim Hardy

 

Set Design - Michael Leopold ((Nominated for OffWestEnd Award)

 

 

★★★★★

Carn's Theatre Passion

"The cast is led by Julia Papp, who gives a powerfully emotional performance, capturing Catherine’s extreme fragility and carrying the audience with her as her mood veers between infectious joy and utter despair.

★★★★ 

London Pub Theatre

Subtle and memorable performances...The Meisner acting technique used by Blanc could also be observed in the nuances shown by the actors... We are reminded of Glenda Jackson’s quote “Acting is not about dressing up. Acting is about stripping bare

 

 

★★★★ 

Female Arts

Proof delivers strong performances across the board and is a labour of love for all concerned

 

★★★★

London Theatre 1 

Sebastien Blanc’s production takes us gently in its grip and catches fire in the second half...A brilliantly structured play. The conviction put into Proof by all four of its talented cast, with the hauntingly lovely background melodies of composer Chris Roe, make this definitely worth the journey out to south-west London to see. It is thought-provoking, reassuring and honest.

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Winner Of Best Supporting Actor Award

OffWestEnd Awards

Sam Adamson - Moon

Nominated for Ian Charleson Award

 

Best  Actor:

Kim Hardy (Konstantin)

 

Nominated for 3 OffWestEnd Award

 

        Best Lead Actor - Simon                     Naylor (Harper)

 

Best Supporting Actor:

Sam Adamson (Potts)

 

Best Set (Dobo Designs)