I came across Darren’s photographic work about a year and a half ago. One of his shots caught my eye one day. Possibly for all the wrong reasons, given that I was more interested in the subject than the technique. But I really do love photography so I looked him up. His work was all theatre-related and pretty impressive, his tweets dry and sharp and often pointy. Perfect.

A few weeks ago he wrote a rather peremptory (who would have thought the word existed in English too!) tweet exhorting anybody who had ever experienced oppression to go and see Emilia at the Vaudeville in London. Now!

It felt mandatory. So I did. As soon as I could.


Bloody hell.



I sincerely hope I never recover from it.


I started crying about ten minutes into the first act and pretty much cried through the whole thing. Ending on full-blown uncontrollable sobs. So very inappropriate and terribly unBritish of me.

I thought maybe it was just my recent history. I thought maybe hormones. Or the kids not being there. Or the chronic lack of sleep. I thought maybe it was just me and my damn emotions being all over the place as always.

I stood outside for a time that felt endless, unable to speak or move or think. Not knowing what to do with myself.

When I could process some of it, these were the words that came to me:

@EmiliaThePlay took all the hurt of my last two and a half years, rolled it into some deeper, sedimented hurt, and threw it up in the air and all around the room, shouting it out loud. In poetry. Absolutely unforgettable. I hope young people see it. I hope young men see it.

I have spent over ten years in healthcare research. Nothing I’ve done in this time has ever had or will ever have the brightness, force, or power of the fire that Emilia starts with every show, every line, every roar. And I believe even more firmly than I did before that only ART can save us from ourselves.


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