JMK Award winning production

Orange Tree Theatre

October 2021

Directed by Diane Page

Designer: Niall McKeever  

Lighting Designer: Rajiv Pattani

Sound Designer:  Esther Kehinde Ajayi

Costume Supervisor: Natalia Alvarez

Photography:  Helen Murray 


'Set in the round, designer Niall McKeever has created a very simple black, deep centered hole as a stage. The stage almost felt like it was touching my feet which made me feel as though I was a part of the deep conversations taking place. The hole, just like their future, was dark and hard to climb out of. It was extremely effective and was perfect for the story

Statements left me asking – why are we always being pushed into deep dark holes?'


'This is not an idealised full-bloom romance but one beginning to spiral. Page, directing as the winner of the JMK Award, intelligently utilises McKeever’s striking set which becomes like a borehole, with the characters on opposite sides, emphasising the distance between their communities and Philander’s disquiet at taking her water while his district suffers from drought '






'They tumble into the borehole, a safe space for great intimacy and tempered joy, the very place, that in the eyes of the law is a pit of lust and iniquity, The air is tense as they climb out of the hole on to the precarious circular outer space. They circle each other on opposite sides, stark language crashing against illicit sensuality as their contrast of equality forces them to talk about race, class, and privileges'


'The stage is sparse, featuring only bare, black space with a kind of sinkhole in the centre (slickly designed by Niall McKeever). This sinkhole serves as a metaphor; it is quite literally forcing distance between the lovers. They attempt to communicate in spite of it, but it doesn’t get across. Sucked into the void'


'’s a staging of suede-like softness and shadow, glinting with mineral light over that circular pit the lovers leap in and out of, circle slowly, confront each other across its chasm. No it’s not a pit they’ve dug for themselves, you think, till you wonder. 

That pit as just described is startlingly simple, designed by Niall McKeever, whose set for This Beautiful Future at Jermyn Street – still running – shows his power with condensed symbolism. It’s beautifully sculpted too in those mostly shadowy glints in Rajiv Pattani’s lighting which takes on a terrible agency'


 'The play begins with sensuous intimacy and ends by confronting the Heavens; that’s its trajectory, from the small and particular and local to an anger that is literally cosmic

And then in a glorious final moment there was a beautiful moving projection turning it into a kind of vortex, like a mathematical model of a black hole. This came at the moment of the most raging despair and I swear I felt like we were all being sucked into it. The play ended as it began, with a warning not to fall into the darkness'

Using Format