England 1837: a country on the cusp of revolution. Young Lizzie is propelled on a journey from a London slum to the servants’ quarters of a great house, and from first love to murder. In her flight from authority, she comes across the Chartist William Lovett, a man striving to steer a middle course between the brutal coalition of Parliament and Industry and the angry forces gathering against it.
Directed by the young director Mark Rosenblatt, a previous recipient of the James Menzies-Kitchin Young Director Award, the cast includes Louise Callaghan (as Lizzie), Peter Hamilton Dyer (Lovett), Craig Gazey (Will), Nicholas Shaw, Jim Bywater, Kirsty Besterman and Alice Haig, who recently graduated from the Central School of Speech and Drama. The production, designed by Janet Bird, runs in rep until 5 October 2007.
The involvement of the ‘Groundling’ audience in Holding Fire! thrilled first night critics into agreeing that this “wonderfully fluid” production of Shepherd’s imaginative new play brings the Globe to the forefront of theatre. While some weaknesses were recognised in Jack Shepherd’s “rambling” narrative, his “epic sweep” was appreciated, and there were more than enough compensations thanks to Mark Rosenblatt’s inspired use of the entirety of the Globe’s arena. Critics were also charmed by the performances of the romantic leads, Louise Callaghan and Craig Gazey, and impressed by Peter Hamilton Dyer’s “superbly noble” Lovett.
- by Tom Atkins
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