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EUROPEAN PREMIERE - PARK THEATRE, LONDON, JULY 1 - 23, 2022

ASSEMBLY FESTIVAL, EDINBURGH FRINGE - AUGUST 3 - 29 2022

 

Collins Cohen Productions and Guy Masterson - Theatre Tours International Ltd
in association with Park Theatre present the European Premiere of

9 Circles by Bill Cain

Directed by Guy Masterson

Based on real events, this taut psychological thriller seeks justice from the collision of morality and empathy.

A European Premiere from multi-award winning House Of Cards writer Bill Cain.

A dantesque descent into the conundrums, contradictions and hypocrisies of war through the eyes of a repatriated US Army Private… now alleged war criminal. Exactly how can a soldier be trained as a cold-blooded killing machine while clinging on to the threads of his humanity? What happens when those threads snap in the fog of war? How can we judge those who have killed for our freedoms? Can we truly apply civilian moral standards to a soldier in the throes of mortal combat?

Directed by Olivier Award winner Guy Masterson
(Morecambe, The Shark Is Broken)

CAST
Joshua Collins (Top Boy; Richard III, Almeida Theatre)
Samara Neely-Cohen (Los Angeles Opera; Los Angeles Shakespeare Festival)
David Calvitto (12 Angry Men, West End; Shawshank Redemption)
Daniel Bowerbank (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shake Festival; Twelfth Night, Orange Tree Theatre).CREATIVES

CREATIVES
Sound & Original Music:
Jack Arnold
Lighting Design: Tom Turner
Set Design: Duncan Henderson
Costume Design: Eleanor Bull
Movement: Mark Baldwin OBE
Stage Management: Reuben Bojang

COLLINS COHEN PRODUCTIONS
Producers:
Samara Neely Cohen
Joshua Collins
Jesse Collins
Alsitair Toovey

Josua Collins & Samara Neely Cohen (Image: Marc Douet)Josua Collins & David Calvitto (Image: Marc Douet)

Daniel Bowerbank (Image: Marc Douet)Josua Collins & Daniel Bowerbank (Image: Marc Douet)

Josua Collins & David Calvitto (Image: Marc Douet)Josua Collins & David Calvitto (Image: Marc Douet)

Josua Collins & Samara Neely Cohen (Image: Marc Douet)Josua Collins & Samara Neely Cohen (Image: Marc Douet)

Joshua Collins (Image: Marc Douet)

 

 



Shaving The Dead Ed19

Reviews from Park Theatre run, July 1 - 23, 2022

QUICK LINKS:

The Understudy - bit.ly/9CUnderstudy
Theatre Weekly - bit.ly/9CTheatreWeekly ‘An exceptionally good play. An unmissable piece of theatre.’
Lost in Theatreland bit.ly/9CLostinTheatre ‘Keeps the audience entirely gripped throughout.’
WhatsOnStage - bit.ly/9CWhatsOnStage 'Disturbing, infuriating and often downright horrible. Also, highly recommended.'
Morning Star - bit.ly/9CMorningStar 'Tense and thought provoking.'
London Pub Theatres - bit.ly/9CPocketTheatre 'A powerful tale told with a great deal of emotional intelligence.'
PocketSize Theatre - bit.ly/9CPocketTheatre 'A relentless 90 minute tour de force.'
BroadwayWorld - bit.ly/9CBroadwayWorld ‘Collins delivers an extraordinary performance.’
ReviewsHub - bit.ly/9CReviewshub 'a magnificently disturbing, compelling, essential watch.'
A young-ish Theatre - bit.ly/9CYoungishTheatre ‘Incredibly captivating.’

The Stage - bit.ly/9CTheStage'Gripping morality drama featuring a hypnotic central performance.'

Everything Theatre - bit.ly/9CEverythingTheatree 'Unfortunately timely and just as relevant.'

The Guardian - bit.ly/9CGuardian 'Unflinching appraisal of a wartime atrocity. Joshua Collins is magnetic.’

British Theatre Guide - bit.ly/9CBritishTheatreGuide'Guy Masterson delivers a production that produces a powerful empathy.'

London Theatre Reviews - bit.ly/9CLondonTheatreReviews 'Asks important questions about the value of war in light of its consequences.'

FULL REVIEWS:


The Understudy 05/07/22 (Chris Dobson) - bit.ly/9CUnderstudy
Seeing 9 Circles at Park Theatre is akin to watching nine short plays, all thematically linked yet distinct. The structure of the play, which is written by Bill Cain and directed by Guy Masterson, is based on Dante’s Inferno, in which the protagonist descends through the nine circles of hell. Here, the action centres around Daniel E. Reeves (Joshua Collins), a repatriated US Army Private who is accused of committing horrific war crimes in Iraq. Collins plays Reeves with a chilling intensity, and it is immediately apparent that he suffers from some form of personality disorder.
Duncan Henderson’s minimalist set design is complemented by Tom Turner’s superb use of lighting and subtle music by Jack Arnold. The dialogue fizzes as Reeves interacts with various individuals: An earnest church pastor (Daniel Bowerbank), a smooth-talking lawyer (David Calvitto), a brutally honest psychiatrist (Samara Neely Cohen). All the performances (and American accents) are strong, but Collins steals the show.
9 Circles is a troubling, disturbing watch, unafraid to confront difficult issues, most notably the pointless waste of lives in the Iraq War, on both sides. More generally, the play explores how the state fails the soldiers it sends to foreign lands on orders to kill, with little mental health support provided. Yes, the context here is Americans in Iraq, but it is relevant also in a British-Afghan or Ukrainian-Russian setting. Bill Cain’s anger at the hypocrisy of those who judge participants in a war from the side-lines is palpable.
Some might find the almost sympathetic positioning of Reeves problematic, but Collins never tries to portray him in a way which seeks to elicit compassion; 9 Circles does not strive for pity, or disgust, or any other particular emotion. Instead, it simply tries to explain that thorny topic most famously explored by Hannah Arendt in 1963: The banality of evil. In this view of the play, Reeves is a 21st century Adolf Eichmann, on trial for his own crimes but also, symbolically, standing in for the crimes of those who instigated the war.
Some scenes – or circles – are quiet, exploring topics such as the role religion can play (if any) in the rehabilitation or comforting of convicted criminals. Other scenes are loud, for instance Reeves’s court trial, which to this reviewer was reminiscent of County Hall’s Witness for the Prosecution. Running until July 23rd, 9 Circles simply has to be seen, especially if you want to better understand why some men continue to feel the need to kill and inflict harm.


TheatreWeekly 01/07/22 (Greg Stewart) - bit.ly/9CTheatreWeekly
An exceptionally good play, with a central performance from Joshua Collins that really makes it an unmissable piece of theatre…
The current situation in Europe has seen the subject of war crimes raised more often than usual in the media, and perhaps has people questioning who is really responsible for the crimes of soldiers.  The European Premiere of House of Cards writer Bill Cain’s 9 Circles follows success in the US, where the play first debuted in Chicago nine years ago.
It comes to London’s Park Theatre under the direction of Guy Masterson, who most recently directed the West End transfer of the Edinburgh Fringe hit The Shark Is Broken.  This taught psychological thriller, if the title doesn’t give it away, is heavily influenced by Dante and takes much inspiration from Inferno.
A smooth American voice introduces each circle to us; in the first we meet Private Daniel E. Reeves as he receives an honourable discharge from the army in the midst of Operation Iraqi Freedom, by the second he’s in a cell in Arlington, accused of unforgivable crimes against Iraqi civilians.  Having already been tried by the media, politicians and public, each subsequent circle serves as Daniel’s purgatory, as he creeps towards the trial and eventual inferno.
n each circle Daniel meets 9 Circles’ many versions of Virgil, an odd pastor (Daniel Bowerbank), a psychiatrist (Samara Neely Cohen) and an army attorney (David Calvitto) to name just a few.  While they may all be trying to guide Daniel, they do not necessarily have his best intentions at heart.
As we make our way through the circles, we learn more about Daniel.  The all-American Texas boy has a split personality, he doesn’t seem to be affected by the horrors of war and leans towards a desire to kill.  So, the question is repeatedly raised, who is ultimately responsible for Daniel’s crimes?  The army who gave him weapons, the recruiter who gave him the job just to meet the quota, the psychiatrist who thought drugs were the answer, or perhaps it’s someone else entirely.
9 Circles is cleverly written, being just Dantesque enough to deliver the message while at the same time bringing contemporary themes to the fore.  It occasionally lingers too long in one circle, and sometimes you wonder if conversations, such as that between Daniel and his Lieutenant, would actually play out in the way portrayed here.
What keeps the audience gripped though, is an exceptional performance from Joshua Collins as Daniel.  On stage throughout, Collins is mesmerising with a physical performance filled with nuanced ticks that gradually escalate the pain of the character, while somehow managing to garner empathy despite the truly horrific nature of Daniel’s crimes.  Collins deep south Texan drawl brings a poetic quality, while his monologues in the final two circles have to be seen to be fully appreciated.
Despite having been written long before the current conflict, 9 Circles couldn’t feel more relevant today.  It asks its audience to do some serious soul searching, but what we find as a result could very well be surprising.  This is an exceptionally good play, with a central performance from Joshua Collins that really makes it an unmissable piece of theatre.


Lost In Theatreland 04/07/22 (Jack Carpenter) - bit.ly/9CLostinTheatre
It is a testament to the skill of both the writing of Bill Cain and the acting of Joshua Collins that one can feel anything but utter disgust towards the character of Private Daniel E Reeves. But it is impossible to view Private Reeves through only one lens. 
The Park Theatre in Finsbury Park hosts the European premiere of 9 Circles. The play is written by Bill Cain, the writer of House of Cards and directed by Guy Masterson, director of The Shark is Broken. 9 Circles is based on true events, focusing on a repatriated US Army Private that is accused of war crimes. The character of Private Reeves is based upon Steven Dale Green, who committed appalling acts, but the play asks the question – does the blame entirely rest with him, or the army that put weapons into the hands of a clinically disturbed 21-year-old? 
The 9 Circles through which Private Daniel E Reeves (Joshua Collins) travels are not those of hell that Dante experiences but instead various interactions with lawyers, pastors and psychiatrists. Daniel doesn’t seem to have much of a sense of reality outside these conversations and is often confused by the roles these other people play in his life. We are introduced to Daniel in the first circle as he is discharged from the military, but for reasons not yet clear. The audience later learns that while Daniel has knowledge of the barbaric crimes he has committed, it is clear that he does not understand them as anything beyond what his duty required. 
These crimes are the murder of an Iraqi man, woman and child and the rape and subsequent murder of a another 14-year-old Iraqi girl. While the play asks us to consider conflicting ideas about blame and justice, the ghastly nature of his crimes is never questioned. Others have been critical of the play as it tells this story from the perspective of the soldier, and doesn’t give much time to the victims. It is of the utmost importance that their stories are told, but this one is not theirs and that does not mean it is less valuable. 
Often stories of crime and justice are told in a individualistic manner. One person commits a crime and their trial alone gives justice to the victims. That rule book is well and truly thrown out here. The play is almost entirely comprised of conversations between Daniel and one other person but each conservation forces us to consider how the institutions and cultures surrounding the characters influence the way they act. 
Each circle compels the audience to shift blame from one person to the next. In one, we learn how his prior convictions should have prevented Daniel joining the Army, but a recruiter waived the standard requirements and enlisted Daniel anyway. A man who is unfit for service now serves in the US Army. Do we blame the recruiter or the person setting the recruitment quotas that must be met? In another circle, an army lawyer argues that the United States government should never have invaded Iraq. Violence takes Iraq by storm. Do we blame the soldiers for going beyond their remit or those who placed them there to begin with? 
It becomes apparent that this shifting of blame leads nowhere and so it must stand to reason that it cannot be as simple as: one man in prison means justice for victims. 
Daniel Bowerbank, Samara Neely-Cohen, and David Calvitto each play multiple characters across the different circles and all bring varying levels of intensity and emotion to their roles which gives the play a fantastic flow. Calvitto, in particular, brings a much need snap of levity to some scenes, with expertly balanced humour that doesn’t distract from the seriousness of the material. 
The staging is incredibly simple which, along with being performed in a round, lends to the intimacy of the interaction of the actors. The play has no interval, something I believe there needs to be a good reason for and this has one. The intensity from start to finish holds strong and keeps the audience entirely gripped throughout. The play is thought provoking, and shows that there is no simple answer when it comes to justice.
Sometimes theatre can absolutely just be fun but sometimes it goes further. 9 Circles is the kind of theatre production that feels deeply important, as well as being a fantastic night out. 


WhatsOnStage 04/07/22 (Alun Hood) - bit.ly/9CWhatsOnStage
Bill Cain's terse, tense thunderclap of a play premieres here trailing a slew of rave reviews from American productions: it's not hard to see why. This is as potent and unforgiving an examination of the collateral damage of war that you're ever likely to encounter. It's both forensic and deeply human, and a cracking piece of theatre. You'll need a strong stomach, but we live in a world where hiding one's head in the sand increasingly feels like the wrong moral choice.
Cain ingeniously uses the concept of Dante's circles of Hell from the Divine Comedy's "Inferno" section to process the story of a young American soldier accused of atrocious war crimes while in Iraq. If that sounds grim, well it is, but the invention of the writing and structure (a disembodied voice announces each ever more hopeless circle as the soldier's life is gradually picked apart), the excellence of Guy Masterson's production and the sheer quality of the acting ensure that this is more than just a horror-trawl through the underbelly of man's inhumanity to man. The play interrogates the question of who ultimately takes responsibility for things done in wartime – is it the soldiers on the ground, some of whom may be pre-damaged by life before they even see combat, or officials higher up the food chain – and does so with clarity and a sense of carefully controlled fury.
If the piece engages more on an intellectual than an emotional level, it's because what the soldier Reeves is accused of having done is so repulsive that it becomes increasingly hard, at least to this viewer, to sympathise with him, especially once the ambiguities of the situation begin to get stripped away. Joshua Collins, who previously played this role in New York, is painfully convincing, giving Reeves a slack-jawed, dead-eyed intensity that haunts as much as it unsettles.
The three other actors – Samara Neely Cohen, David Calvitto and Daniel Bowerbank – all play a couple of roles apiece and they are all spot on. The differences between the characters are very subtle which reinforces the impression that each figure may be a variation on a theme in Reeves's fevered psyche. Neely Cohen is particularly impressive as a pair of women who attempt to help him, or at least connect with him, and as a calmly implacable prosecutor.
Staged in the round, the production forces the audience to bear witness as much as just observe (indeed, in the courtroom scene – or circle – you may find the prosecutor or defence attorney directly addressing you, particularly if you're on the front row): non-engagement is not an option. A clinical central disc (design: Duncan Henderson) is the only set but a myriad of moods and locations is conjured up by Tom Turner's truly stunning lighting, and a moody but unobtrusive soundscape by Jack Arnold.
The play is perhaps a little long: despite the brilliance of Collins' performance, the final death scene feels unnecessarily protracted, and the only time when the text verges on exploitative. It's never an easy watch, but it's an essential one. Disturbing, infuriating and often downright horrible. Also, highly recommended.


Morning Star
05/07/22 (Simon Parsons) - bit.ly/9CMorningStar
THIS absorbing psychological thriller based on real events follows Private Reeves’s passage through hell, as his brutal war crimes undergo the scrutiny of the military hierarchy, politicians, psychiatrists, clergymen and lawyers.
The 9 Circles equate to Dante’s descent into hell with each new circle representing a different perspective and judgment on the young man’s actions.
Bill Cain’s taut script explores who is really to blame for the atrocities of war as experienced by a Texan, white-trash youngster with a personality disorder who only finds a role and an identity after enlisting.
The immoral idiocy of the Gulf war provides the backdrop for his traumatic spiral downwards from honourable discharge to courtroom sentence.
Directed by Guy Masterson, this tense and thought-provoking production shifts swiftly between the contrasting levels with Joshua Collins’s damaged soldier trapped at the heart of the glowing, red circle stage.
His demanding performance is nuanced and convincing avoiding any sentimentality or self-pity.
Incomprehension, anger and frustration dominate his outlook as the psychological, moral and legal authorities attempt to bend his understanding to their perception.
The talented supporting cast of Daniel Bowerbank, Samara Cohen and David Calvitto create the broad spectrum of memorable characters.
An articulate lieutenant giving Reeves his marching orders, a manipulative attorney and psychiatrist coaching and evoking responses, a sinful prison pastor and grandstanding trial lawyers proclaiming their versions of the truth are all involved in Reeves’s infernal passage to some kind of damned self-discovery.
Not without humour, Cain’s script intelligently uses and modernises many of the horrors of Dante’s Inferno without ever sounding contrived and as with the original poem the central character’s descent asks questions about our own culpability.
Inspired by the recent trial of a Russian soldier for crimes committed in the Ukraine, the play analyses our involvement and any rights we have to judge those thrown into the mayhem of conflict.
Some of the scenes are slightly overextended and the final sequence a touch self-indulgent, but this production will tighten before going on to the Edinburgh Festival where I expect it to garner rave reviews.


BroadwayWorld 04/07/22 (Scott Matthewman) - bit.ly/9CBroadwayWorld
Dante Alighieri built his idea of hell as a colossal conical structure that opens up underneath Jerusalem and reaches the centre of the Earth. He makes his descent steadily, accompanied by Virgil. The further away from Jerusalem, the further away from God and goodness.
A stone's throw from Jerusalem, Iraq and what it represents in the American cultural portfolio is ravaged by conflict. A young soldier puts up a fight before he is honourably discharged. A cold-blooded killer who's completely unbothered by having to make his way through piles of corpses, he is everything the States want in their ranks.
Bill Cain writes a politically intense and thematically complex play that puts on display the hypocrisy and opportunism of American warfare. Based on the real story of Steven Dale Green, 9 Circles presents a country that glorifies combat. It exposes a categorical refusal to deal with the trauma of both employed soldiers and veterans - who are used, discarded, victimised as they please - and the wilful neglect of the real victims.
Cain crafts a character whose diagnosed personality disorder and addictive tendencies are identified as bona fide weapons by recruiters who prey on the young. Private Daniel Reeves, played with precise calibration by Joshua Collins, is a fatherless son who had to grow up too fast and stumbled into a minefield.
Collins gives him an untouchable attitude and rampant arrogance that scrapes a superiority complex. A man who deeply craves attention and honour, he can't fathom a repatriation for a crime he maintains he didn't commit.
After all, what's one more violation on the field? Tried for the murder of an Iraqi family and the brutal rape of a 14-year-old girl, his version of hell is crowded with the people he meets on the road to his final sentence. Collins is a machine-gun of words, and his articulate Texas drawl drips with Daniel's fallible reasoning and unempathetic views.
He details his time in Iraq to a number of attorneys who attempt to take his case, revealing the utter incompetence of the military system when it comes to supporting the strain and distress of its troops. His circumstances become a problem only when his crimes grow into a PR disaster.
The president calls him a stain on the United States on national television and he's compared to "another fuck-up from Texas", George W Bush. His cruelty scares them once it's not targeted towards their common enemy, but his victims are never contemplated in the discourse.
Used as a tool to make a point and haunted by the deaths of the brothers in arms who watched him as he killed and raped, he blames the outcome on the mishandling of his mental health. While other soldiers are lining up to testify against him, he regrets opening up to the army psychologist who sent him on his way, refusing to acknowledge his worries.
The shockingly useless psychologist humanises his traumas but underplays his distressed state. Cain keeps weaving knots in his story. He pinpoints the political fallout of Daniel's situation, but pays little mind to his actual wrongdoings. He exposes a system desperate to place the blame and to avoid any kind of responsibility, while at the same time offering someone who's the perfect product of his context. Cain's criticism is subtle and sharp, but he is also disturbingly resigned to the inevitability of the damage of warfare.
It's absolutely impossible to be an intellectually passive audience. Directed by Guy Masterson, 9 Circles is a bona fide trial of the United States Army. With the action played in the round, the public becomes the jurors, at one point directly addressed by the Prosecutor and the Defence Attorney as they orbit the accused.
Collins delivers an extraordinary performance as the unreliable narrator. On stage from start to end, he introduces an incapability of understanding the moral implications of his actions. He is diligent in his portrayal of a man who was shaped by his training. The side characters (Samara Neely-Cohen, David Calvitto and Daniel Bowerbank in multiple roles, with Calvitto shining as one of the attorneys) become murky visions playing out for his benefit alone.
Duncan Henderson visually encloses Daniel with a clean and effective set. A neon halo hovers over a carpeted circle that delimits his freedom and a low booming sound (Jack Arnold) greets every person who dares to come close to the Private. Light and darkness accompany Daniel as per Tom Turner’s lighting design, cold hues and deep reds imply federal prisons and the rumbling caves of his personal hell.
It's a striking play with magnetic dialogues that ask very precise questions. Is war worth its human casualties? Is a media circus and a jury of civilians the best way to handle a scandal that could have been prevented? Or is a whole system where the real victims are barely named and acknowledged in a major need of being rebuilt? Get tickets and discuss.


Reviewshub 04/07/22 (Scott Matthewman) - bit.ly/9CReviewshub
The writer Dante Alighieri conceived of the descent into hell as a series of nine circles, the descent through which makes it all the more inevitable that one could never escape.
That allegory works well for the story of Private Daniel Reeves (Joshua Collins), honourably discharged from the US Army during the Iraq war when his personality disorder – a lack of concern for the killing of others – becomes too much for his superiors to bear, even though it also makes him ideal for the sort of mindless role the army needs.
Returned to the US and set adrift, we next meet Reeves in a police cell – there, he believes, for driving under the influence. But another charge hangs over him: that while in Iraq, he raped e and Reeves’ history of poor mental health through a succession of duologues the private has with a succession of lawyers, a psychologist and a a 14-year-old girl and murdered her family. If found guilty, he faces death by lethal injection.
Writer Bill Cain drip feeds facts about both the casrather unorthodox pastor. Collins is the sole constant, his performance magnetic, charismatic and engaging even when it seems as if the callous, murderous monster on the charge sheet might actually be an accurate depiction. In his hands, Reeves is also a sympathetic victim of the Army: in their rush to get feet on the ground in Iraq, they overlooked his history; the concerns he expresses to an army psychologist are waved away as an inconvenience.
The variable quality of the actors going head-to-head with Collins tends to dampen some of the play’s impact. The best is David Calvitto, playing two very different defence lawyers – one civilian, one military – who each muddy their dealing with their client with their own personal viewpoints.
Daniel Bowerbank’s pastor – himself a recovering alcoholic, and with a line in dry humour that verges on inappropriate – offers a change of tone in a play which otherwise invites us to descend into hell with its central character.
All this plays out on a suitably in-the-round stage design by Duncan Henderson, lit by Tom Turner’s rings of light that provide a sense of physical and mental claustrophobia.
There are several moments in the generally taut play that perhaps could tighten up. The final scene bears the brunt of these, and although that has a narrative purpose it does somewhat dampen the emotional impact of the play’s climax.
Nevertheless, Cain’s writing highlights the callousness of war, the brutality it demands of participants, and the horrors when that brutality is realised. Thanks in no small part to Collins’s performance, 9 Circles is a magnificently disturbing, compelling, essential watch.


LondonPubTheatres 04/07/22 (Klervi Gavet) - bit.ly/9CLondonPubs
In 2006, 20-year-old Private First Class Steven Dale Green rapes 14-year-old civilian Abeer Qassim Hamza Al-Janabi. He then proceeds to shoot her, her parents and her 6-year-old sister before setting their home on fire in South Baghdad. He is found guilty of war crimes and sentenced to life imprisonment the same year.
In House of Cards writer Bill Cain’s 9 CIRCLES, Green becomes Reeves, a young fatherless Texan with an anti-social personality disorder and lethal fantasies, accused of identical crimes. We follow his descent into hell, from honourably dismissed private to Public Enemy No.1 to (spoiler alert) his execution by lethal injection. A modern Dantesque journey into a chemically-sizzling Inferno. This production makes for an all-round captivating watch.
In our post-pandemic-pre-WW3-mid-what-fresh-hell-will-today’s-news-bring climate, it is painfully easy to see the relevance of 9 CIRCLES. In the parallel it naturally draws between the US invasion of Iraq and the Russian invasion in Ukraine. In its emphasis on how governments use patriotic propaganda to justify Messianic blood baths on foreign soil and recruit young impressionable minds, eager to find their glory and place in life and bring back dignity to a once great nation. Add a high-profile trial where the public defender repeatedly begs the jury to make the law “the last line of defence” of a powerless rape victim and this 2009 play may give you full 2022 whiplash.
Guy Masterson’s direction keep things tight and moving. The play is staged in the round, with Duncan Henderson’s circular set subjecting Reeves’ every move to our uninterrupted judgement. And with very little room between the audience and the supporting characters orbiting Reeves’ circle of hell, everyone gets real close real quick. A treat for an English audience who just thrives on unexpected physical intimacy. Tom Turner’s minimalist lighting design and Jack Arnold’s ominous soundscape complete this sensorially and intellectually stimulating production.
Top Boy Joshua Collins takes the lead as Reeves with great stamina and generosity in a relentless 90-min acting tour-de-force. Like a young Jake Gyllenhaal circa Donnie Darko, his boyish smile and swagger charm as much as they unnerve. He is joined by David Calvitto, Daniel Bowerbank and Samara Neely Cohen in a series of disturbing duologues on the hypocrisy of war and the mistreatment of a traumatized cannon fodder youth who has everything taken from them, up to the (military) shirt off their back.


PocketSize Theatre 05/07/22 (Brian Penn) - bit.ly/9CPocketTheatre
We assume that wars are fought to protect a civilised and peaceful existence; unfettered by those who seek to destroy the lives we choose to live; but what about the men and women who are trained to achieve this objective. Do they understand who and what they are fighting for? Do they obey the command of their masters and assume morality is on their side? But are they simply state-trained killers indoctrinated by the preferred narrative. What really is the effect on soldiers who are programmed to kill the enemy? This intriguing play by Bill Cain explores these themes in forensic detail and delivers more than a hint of inconvenient truth.
The story begins in Iraq as soldier Daniel E. Reeves (Joshua Collins) is about to receive an honourable discharge. He verbally spars with his Lieutenant (Daniel Bowerbank) at the real meaning and both settle on a personality disorder. He later wakes up in a cell back in the US. The Public Defender (Samara Neely-Cohen) informs him of charges relating to his conduct in Iraq. Reeves falls deep into a mind fog as he tries to make sense of what has happened. The Defence Attorney (David Calvitto) is convinced he can get an acquittal if only he plays ball.
9 Circles is a harrowing but totally compulsive study of the human condition and fragility of mental health in combat conditions. Upstairs at the Park Theatre is a tight and claustrophobic space perfectly suited to the play's mood. A circular stage lit above with a smaller beam heightens the tension as each stage of the narrative approaches. A superlative cast all sweat to make the characters work within the plot, but Joshua Collins is outstanding as the damaged Daniel Reeves. He remains on stage for the entire 90 minutes of the play and easily handles a character heavily laden with dialogue. Joshua is word perfect with well-judged mannerisms that make the character truly authentic.
We all have a clear notion of the wars that are justified and those driven by open hostility. But members of the armed forces have no choice in the wars they fight. The psychological wear and tear are thankfully recognised as a debilitating condition. It inevitably involves a loss of one's own goodness and humanity; that in itself is a shocking realisation. A powerful tale told with a great deal of emotional intelligence. (Brian Penn)


A Youngish Theatre 04/07/22 - (Joe Tapper) - bit.ly/9CYoungishTheatre
9 Circles is a sharp, critical and observant based-on-a-true-story work from House of Cards writer Bill Cain. The piece is split into nine handy scenes, designed to echo Dante’s journey through the nine concentric circles in Hell, a structure which does well to gradually increase in intensity even when the story is being told out of sequence, giving the feel of the darkness closing in – the noose tightening. In this story the protagonist is Reeves, an alleged war criminal who we learn has done unspeakable things to a young Iraqi girl during his service.
The questions are: why did he do it? how does war change a man? who is to blame, even partly, for such atrocity? and how can, or how should, we judge?
The play takes us through Reeves’ conversations – more often, verbal battles – with all manner of American establishment figures, from an army official to a pastor to a lawyer to a shrink and so on, each designed to represent and consequently challenge their firmly-held positions of judgement.
In this quick-witted, often-skewering commentary, the play succeeds. The writing is fast and exciting, and circles tick by at impressive speed, leaving the audience pleasantly surprised at how we managed to get to wherever we were taken. And any time the dialogue veers close to cliche, the play makes up with clever and effective references to previous scenes, and bold choices from characters who could have easily fallen into two-dimensionality. The pastor’s surprising choice of language, and the lawyer’s tactics to convince Reeves to re-examine his case, are two such particularly fun and compelling examples.
Such writing is demanding for the actors, though it rarely shows. Joshua Collins as Reeves inarguably carries the piece. Tasked with bearing the brunt of the dialogue, he does so expertly, buzzing with frenetic energy and creating a convincing and incredibly captivating performance. His connection with the material, and the audience, was impressive, and I particularly enjoyed the choice to notice moments of audience awkwardness – a head-turn towards a dropped bottle, a cheeky salute to a leaving audience member – even if this did perhaps ever-so-slightly undermine his surprise noticing us in circle nine. 
The cast did well to bounce off each other and handle the play’s dynamism, and were at their best when their characters’ deeper layers came to the fore and avoided being a mere mouthpiece for an idea. David Calvitto put in an excellent turn, particularly as the kind-faced lawyer determined to have the case seen in different lights, and both he and Collins capably handled the difficulties that playing in the round can bring. Samara Neely-Cohen and Daniel Bowerbank also had shining moments, the former’s well-meaning shrink and the latter’s calculating pastor both elevating their circles and owning their moments.
Guy Masterson’s direction, alongside Mark Baldwin’s movement direction, handled the piece well, and in all-but-one scene managed to manoeuvre the actors successfully around the space and have them delivering to all sides, without the audience noticing the intention. The choice to keep the set as one ring (or circle) was perhaps obvious but effective – a neat boxing ring for Cain’s verbal sparring – and managed to avoid seeming gimmicky. A same-sized ring above was a nice way of giving a glass cage effect, trapping Reeves, and the simple LED-style lighting from these rings, accompanied by a thrumming soundtrack, did well to aid transitions and lift important moments. The costumes, uniforms of the respective figures, were all they needed to be, the design elements deliberately minimal to place the focus squarely on the dialogue.
It didn’t always work. There are only so many times a character can be stopped just as they are about to exit a room, either by the protestations of the protagonist, or the overwhelming urge to deliver a line that might’ve worked better as an Andy McNab chapter-ender. 
The choice to end the play, à la Dante, with our antihero’s version of Inferno, is interesting, but its stylisation and recapping of key moments is almost cringey and falls slightly short. Its attempt at its arguably most emotional moment, aided by solid sound design, hit the heart, but felt undermined by the difficult asks of the actor, and seemed ultimately like too little emotionally-focused moments too late.
This isn’t to say there weren’t beautiful snippets of the emotional weight of the story – the vulnerability shown by Reeves to his shrink, for example – but, for the rest, the play relied on the facts to be horrifying enough.
Mostly, they were. And if not, we were still treated to plenty of Sorkin-style tennis matches and asked, most obviously in the trial scene where the audience are more knowingly included, which side we were on.
Which means it made me think, even if, by not quite marrying the power of its ideas to their emotional burden, it didn’t teach me much. But with a 90-minute runtime, snappy dialogue, and captivating performances, it did leave my partner and I talking about the issues well into the night. Which can only be a good thing.


The Stage
04/07/22 (Paul Vale) - bit.ly/9CTheStage
Gripping morality drama featuring a hypnotic central performance.
Written in 2010, Bill Cain’s 9 Circles is based on the career of real-life soldier Steven Dale Green who was tried and sentenced for war crimes while serving in Iraq in 2006. In Cain’s take on Dante’s Inferno, soldier Daniel E Reeves is arrested after attending the funeral of fellow veterans. He is charged with the murder of an Iraqi family while on duty and the the rape and murder of their teenage daughter. While awaiting trial, the details of his case horrify the public but Reeves remains unrepentant, while a series of lawyers, preachers and psychiatrists attempt to comprehend his motivation.
Although Cain’s gripping drama originally opened in Chicago in the wake of Green’s trial, events in the Ukraine surrounding the arrest and trial of the 21-year-old Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin make the play equally as prescient for this UK premiere. The main argument of 9 Circles is one of accountability. As Cain picks away at the morals and ethics of the story, it looks as if Reeves might be a scapegoat, sacrificed to atone for the horrors of a wholly unnecessary war.
It’s a difficult story to digest but Guy Masterson’s production is sleek and stylish, with a haunting soundscape designed by Jack Arnold. The set is suitably unchallenging, designed by Duncan Henderson to provide a series of holding cells in which Reeves is interrogated and suited to the in-the-round space of the Park90. It all adds up to a theatrical neatness that contrasts hugely with the incomprehensible violence of the story. Reeves is beyond redemption but is he to blame?
Joshua Collins is disturbingly charismatic as Reeves, his Texan drawl insistent and unwavering in his conviction that he is guilty as charged. Daniel Bowerbank is suitably shifty as Reeves’ discharging lieutenant but it’s later, as the unconventional pastor, that he makes his mark, painfully pleading with Reeves to accept Christ. It’s a powerful-yet-futile exchange that provides a turning point for the story.
A steady, focused performance from David Calvitto as an army attorney provides something of an insight on the attitudes of the world outside. For him, Reeves is an opportunity to draw a halt to the war, if only he would re-enlist and undergo a military trial. Samara Neely Cohen is an understandably nervous public defender when Reeves is initially arrested but later, either as the army shrink or prosecutor, her delivery is a little under-powered, which tends to undermine the urgency of these exchanges.
Cain’s play is by no means perfect, including a final scene that spreads itself too thinly but Masterson, who achieved success recently in the West End with The Shark Is Broken, handles the material with great care. It may be an unsettling piece, but the themes are eerily current and the central performance riveting.


EverythingTheatr
e 04/07/22 (DaveB) - bit.ly/9CEverythingTheatre
‘Inferno’, the first part of Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’, describes his journey through nine circles of hell. 9 Circles charts the journey of Private Daniel E Reeves (Joshua Collins) through his own nine circles of hell.
We begin as Reeves is honourably discharged from the US Army – against his wishes: this is his first circle of hell. His discharge is brought on because he sought help from an Army psychologist (Samara Neely-Cohen) who diagnosed him with a personality disorder. A short time later, he wakes up in a jail cell. Assuming he’s had too much to drink the night before, Reeves worries about damage to his car: this is his second circle of hell. We follow him down through hell as he discovers he has now been accused of the rape and murder of a fourteen-year-old girl in Iraq. Through each circle, we learn more about him and his alleged crimes
9 Circles is staged in the round in a simple set from Duncan Henderson; a circle on the floor and a circle hanging above, with lighting designed by Tom Turner. They dim, brighten, flash and move as the circles of hell deepen. Other characters can step in and out of these rings, but they keep Reeves caged. From the opening, he is on stage within the circle. He remains there until the end, even receiving his costume changes from other characters, and changing within the enclosed space from army fatigues to civvies to prison jumpsuit. It is Collins as Reeves who holds all of this together, bringing intensity, and doggedness to the role. It’s not a comfortable play to watch. In the small space of Park 90, Collins turns to speak to each section of the audience and often pauses to make eye contact, appearing to speak as if it were directly to individual audience members and adding to the intensity.
Some scenes and conversations seem surreal. Early in the play, in the first of multiple roles, David Calvitto plays a senior army lawyer. He comes to speak with Reeves as he wants to use his case to make a larger point about the war and the merits, or lack thereof, of George W Bush. He seems to have convinced Reeves, or at least made a connection, but then his character is never heard from again, and later the actor plays a different lawyer. In between, there is an odd section where Reeves is visited by a Pastor (Daniel Bowerbank) who has an addiction to internet pornography.
What is going on? Are we in a version of reality unreliably narrated by Reeves? Are we on a metaphorical journey, or are these meant to be taken at face value? I wonder if familiarity with the details of ‘Dante’s Inferno’ is needed to fully understand and appreciate this play. Or maybe we are simply to be left with questions?
It feels like 9 Circles, while using Reeves to make its point about a young unstable man who was sent to the other side of the world to kill, often appears to forget the victims of this crime. Even accepting the argument that Reeves is a victim of the military-industrial complex, is he more of a victim than a raped, murdered 14-year-old girl?
With today’s headlines full of news of ongoing war crimes trials in Ukraine, Bill Cain’s 2010 play based on a real-life incident in Iraq remains, unfortunately, timely and just as relevant.


The Guardian
02/07/22 (Miriam Gillison) - bit.ly/9CGuardian
Unflinching appraisal of a wartime atrocity…
Joshua Collins is magnetic as a US soldier awaiting trial for murder in this hard-hitting drama.
The title is a riff on Dante’s Inferno but there aren’t enough circles in hell for the horror contained in Bill Cain’s upsetting play. The names have been changed but this is essentially a feverish re-examination of the life, trial and death of US soldier Steven Dale Green, who was convicted in 2009 for killing an Iraqi family and raping the 14-year-old daughter. It’s a really tough watch – not without merit but difficult to sit through and with some serious flaws in its composition.
There’s a heated intensity to Guy Masterson’s tightly calibrated production, held together by Jack Arnold’s humming battlecry of a soundscape which slowly engulfs us as the trial approaches. Duncan Henderson’s neatly symbolic set frames the action inside a pair of glowing red circles: from the fury of Baghdad to the loneliness of the holding cell, this is the story of a soldier’s life that has always, on some level, felt like a kind of imprisonment.
As the soldier, Daniel E Reeves, meets with attorneys and lawyers, a seriously creepy pastor and shockingly incompetent army psychiatrists (all played with an eerie sense of disassociation by Samara Neely-Cohen, Daniel Bowerbank and David Calvitto), we start to suspect they might all be a product of Reeves’s deeply disturbed psyche. This fuzzy hold on reality makes for a powerful atmosphere but a confusing play. Cain seems to be making an argument about the hypocrisy of war and the culpability of those in authority.
Joshua Collins is horribly watchable as the imprisoned Reeves. To simply spend time with this soldier is to begin to humanise him. There’s something about the physicality of Collins – who salutes and exercises with robotic precision – that points to how little control a recruit has over his own body


British Theatre Guide
02/07/22 (Howard Loxton) - bit.ly/9CBritishTheatreGuide
For the second time this week I was faced with a stage marked out with a circular blue disk with a matching ring of blue light above it, but when the play began with the roar of a helicopter’s blades and the light changes colour, that tranquility is gone. 9 Circles: think Dante’s Inferno. This is a descent into Hell for young soldier Daniel E Reeves.
A grunt out in Iraq, he is being given an Honourable Discharge, but it makes him feel that he has done something wrong. It will turn out he had problems, went to see an army psychiatrist and was diagnosed with a personality disorder.
“Some things don’t bother me the way they bother other people,” he tells the Lieutenant discharging him, “The basics, sir: killing people.” His rearing and indoctrination has taught him that, in war, people are supposed to die.
Months later, back in the USA, he’s with a lawyer. At first, he thinks it’s a traffic accident he is up for. He admits, “I was drunk, I was driving.” But this is about something that happened in Iraq: the killing of civilians, the shooting of a whole family and rape of a young girl.
There are parallels with the case of actual US soldier Steven Dale Green, sentenced in 2009 for similar killings, but Daniel’s descent into Hell is different and is strikingly played by Joshua Collins. This isn’t a portrait of a psychopath, nothing so simple. It was he who sought help from the psychiatrist. He’s upset about the killing of a dog yet claims not to care about the girl, yet her killing he did as a sort of kindness and he showed compassion to his dying sergeant until the last moment.
9 Circles premièred in the States 12 years ago, but this is the first European staging. Director Guy Masterson delivers an in-the-round production that produces a powerful empathy. We can’t get inside this boy’s head, except perhaps in his final moments, we have to watch from outside, but it makes watchable theatre.
Duncan Henderson’s setting and Tom Turner’s lighting concentrate the attention like a microscope and the other characters, so useless in supporting him, get fine supporting performances. Daniel Bowerbank’s alcoholic Pastor, Samara Neely Cohen’s psychiatrist and lawyers and David Calvitto’s two attorneys play their part in Daniel’s story then back out again. They are not just ciphers, but they never take attention away from him. It is a nineteen-year-old private who is in the dock, not the recruiters who saw him as soldier material, not his officers, not the Generals, not the politicians who put him in Iraq in the first place.


LondonTheatreReviews
02/07/22 (Matthew Pierce) - bit.ly/9CLondonTheatreReviews
This well-performed production of a complicated play comments on the true story of the Mahmudiyah rape and killing of a 14-year-old Iraqi child and her family by United States Army soldiers in 2006. The title and scene structure of Bill Cain’s play is inspired by Dante’s Inferno and parallels the descent into the nine circles of hell. 
Throughout the nine scenes, we journey through time and location. From a US Military Base in Iraq to a Holding Cell in the States, a Federal Prison in Oklahoma, back to Iraq, then to a US courtroom, prison, and eventually hell itself. Surprisingly, its form holds up in spite of a barren set and minimal props and costume changes. 
The cast is comprised of four actors, three of whom form a company that juggles dual roles. The fourth actor, Joshua Collins, remains onstage the entire 90 minutes playing Daniel E. Reeves, the “scapegoat” soldier in the aforementioned hearing. Collins is impressive as Reeves, bringing incredible energy and volatility to the role. At certain points, however, nuance was sacrificed for volume and front-footed intensity that detracted from the character’s humanity. Some of Collins' strongest work was saved for the final moments of the piece where a beautiful simplicity was achieved. 
 Samara Neely Cohen was likewise impressive and moving as the prosector and David Calvitto, in both his parts, brought great clarity and balance to the piece. Often throughout but especially in the first part of this production, the volume of all the actors and Jack Arnold’s sound design was unnecessarily loud. Director Guy Masterson has carefully navigated this theatre in the round so there is not a bad seat in the house. Furthermore, this production’s 90 minutes are well-paced with rapid transitions. 
 At times, this play is slightly too on the nose for its own good and because it centres on Reeves, feels somehow imbalanced in its ethical appeals to an audience. That said, the play does ask important questions about the value of war in light of its consequences. It demands important reflections about the standards and screenings army officers receive (or do not) when they enlist. And particularly with this story, it explores the camaraderie of soldiers, many of whom enlist as lost boys, and are transformed and forever altered by their community in the service. The piece effectively flags the harm of unquestioned loyalty and groupthink. And at its most poignant, confronts the hubris of a soldier with the lie of a misguided war. 



JOSHUA COLLINS - Actor
Joshua trained at RADA and is a UK/US Duel National. Theatre work includes Richard III (Almeida Theatre), The Great Divide (Finborough Theatre), 9 Circles (The Sheen Center, Off Broadway N.Y.) and The Events and Bully Boy (Mercury Theatre, Colchester). Television includes: Top Boy, The Last Kingdom, Shakespeare & Hathaway, Doctors, and The Novels that Shaped our World. Film includes: What’s Love Got to Do With it?, Between the Lines, Against the Law, and Lancaster Skies. Joshua is proud to be giving the European Premiere of this award winning play.


Simon Nehan

SAMARA NEELY COHEN - Actor
Samara has an MFA from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
She appeared in Los Angeles Opera, Los Angeles Shakespeare Festival, New York Stage and Film, Santa Fe Theatre Festival, Theatre Workshop of Nantucket, the Weathervane Theatre, and Dorset Theatre Festival. In 2022 she performed her latest one-person show, Snatched! in London (White Bear Theatre), directed by Guy Masterson, choreographed by Mark Baldwin, OBE. TV and Film includes: The Wedding Belles (Fox), Walk Hard (Sony Pictures), and In the Crossfire (ABC).


Owen O'Neill DAVID CALVITTO - Actor
David appeared in the West End production of 12 Angry Men with Martin Shaw, the UK premier of Lucas Hnath’s The Christians at the Gate Theatre, Notting Hill and The Shawshank Redemption at the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin.  Other theatre credits include, Americana Absurdum, Menier Chocolate Factory; These Shining Lives, Park Theatre; 12 Angry Men, Edinburgh Festival with Bill Bailey; The Odd Couple, Theatre-at-the Mill, Belfast (both directed by Guy Masterson); Secret Cinema’s Casino Royale in Shanghai, China. David has toured John Clancy’s acclaimed solo play The Event around the world including in Adelaide, Amsterdam, Belfast, Berlin, New York and Perth, Australia. The Event will also be part of Riverside Studio’s Bitesize Festival this month (July). TV/Film credits: The King’s Man, The Power, coming soon to Amazon.
Awards include: The Stage Best Actor (Horse Country, Edinburgh Festival Fringe); Best Theatre Performer (The Event,Adelaide Fringe Festival). 9 Circles marks the 11thth production on which he has collaborated with Guy Masterson in 22 years.

Owen O'Neill

DANIEL BOWERBANK - Actor
A recent graduate RADA (2020), theatre work includes: The Merchant of Venice (Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Shakespeare’s Globe), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shake Festival) and Twelfth Night (Orange Tree Theatre). He also starred opposite Oscar nominated Cynthia Erivo in the BBC/BBC Arts’ Masterclass during the quarantine.
Film work includes: UNSC Archives: Lightbringers (Halo/XBOX/215 McCann), Soliloqui (Underexposed Arts).
Recordings include: The Lightbringer’s Song for the Halo InfiniteSoundtrack (Human Worldwide LA).
Credits at RADA include: Hamlet, Ivanov, Circle Mirror Transformation, The Laramie Project, Death of a Salesman, and The Theban Trilogy.



Download: Guy Masterson Headshot (image: Brigitta Scholz-Mastroianni 2014) BILL CAIN - Playwright
Bill is an American actor, director, playwright and Jesuit priest.
Recent plays include Stand Up Tragedy (Mark Taper Forum, LA Drama Critics Circle Award Winner for Distinguished Playwriting 1989) Equivocation, and 9 Circles. His play, How to Write a New Book for the Bible, was produced at Seattle's REP, January 13 to February 5, 2012, and afterwards, at various venues around the country. The play is based on Cain's own family. TV credits include Nothing Sacred  - a controversial depiction of life in a modern Catholic parish, which aired in 1997-98 on ABC. House of Cards and Bloodline.
Download: Guy Masterson Headshot (image: Brigitta Scholz-Mastroianni 2014)

GUY MASTERSON - Director & Performer (click for additional biographical material)
After obtaining a Joint Honours degree in Biochemistry and Chemistry from Cardiff University in 1982, Guy studied drama at UCLA's School of Drama and started as an actor in 1985 in Hollywood. He returned to the UK in 1989 to study further at LAMDA.
Following a conventional start in plays, film and television, Guy began solo performing in 1991 with The Boy's Own Story and thence Under Milk Wood in 1994 and Animal Farm in 1995. He first produced/directed in 1993 with Playing Burton and participated at the Edinburgh Festival for the first time in 1994. The following 25 seasons saw his association with many of Edinburgh's most celebrated hits, and his company has become the Fringe's most awarded independent theatre producer - garnering 8 Scotsman Fringe Firsts, 3 Herald Angels, 25 Stage Award nominations (including 4 wins) together with numerous lesser awards. Guy was the force behind Edinburgh's 3 biggest grossing dramatic hits 12 Angry Men, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (2004) and The Odd Couple (2005). His 2009 production of Morecambe transferred to London's West End and won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Entertainment - plus another nomination for the actor playing Eric). At Edinburgh 2014, his epic 30 actor production of Animal Farm with Tumanishvili Film Actors Theatre of Tbilisi, Georgia, won the Stage Award for Best Ensemble.
As a performer, he was nominated for The Stage Award for Best Actor for A Soldier's Song (1998). He won The Stage Best Actor in 2001 for Fern Hill & Other Dylan Thomas. He was nominated for Best Solo Performance for Under Milk Wood in 2003 and again for Shylock in 2011. In 2003, he also received Edinburgh's most prestigious accolade, The Jack Tinker Spirit of the Fringe Award. At Edinburgh 2016 he created his first overtly stand-up comic piece, Barking Mad! which then toured to Perth and Adelaide. At Edinburgh 2017, he directed Hollywood star, Michael Brandon in his debut stand-up piece Off Ramps. At Edinburgh 2018, along with performing A Christmas Carol, he co-wrote, produced and directedThe Marilyn Conspiracy. At Edinburgh 2019, he directed Owen O'Neill's brilliant black comedy, Shaving The Dead along with the smash hit of the Fringe The Shark Is Broken - the back story of the making of Jaws, starring Ian Shaw, Rober Shaw's son. This was due to transfer to London's West End in May 2020, however, due to Covid-19, it finally opened in October 2022 to great acclaim and another Olivier Award nomination!
Most recently, he has directed Snatched! with Samara Neely Cohen, and 9 Circles by Bill Cain at the Park Theatre.
His theatrical commitments have largely kept him out of mainstream film and television, however, he has made the obligatory appearance on Casualty (Christmas Special 2004) and has been the Franziskaner Monk - the main character of the premium German beer - since 2007. He also writes plays, screenplays and poetry.
His passion is to bring great ideas to life and new talent to the stage.
He is married to Brigitta and father to Indigo and Tallulah...


JACK ARNOLD - SOUND AND ORIGINAL MUSIC
Jack Arnold is BIFA-winning and RTS-nominated composer and producer working in feature film, television drama and documentary on a wide range of award-winning work.
Recent work includes the critically acclaimed feature film, and BAFTA Scotland 2019’s Best Picture Wild Rose directed by Tom Harper starring Jessie Buckley and Julie Walters, for which he won the 2019 BIFA for Best Music, and the featured song Glasgow (No Place Like Home), was shortlisted for Best Song at the 2020 Academy Awards, and won several other major industry awards; The Level, a thriller series for ITV1; and comedy drama series Loaded for C4/AMC. The BAFTA nominated Holy Flying Circus comedy by Tony Roche and directed by Owen Harris about “The Life of Brian”, for which he received an RTS Award nomination for Best Score in 2012.
His collaboration with Tom Harper is a long one, beginning with several short films, and then Tom’s debut feature, critically acclaimed The Scouting Book for Boys in 2009, written by Jack Thorne;  2014's War Book followed that, also penned by Thorne, a track composed for 2015's The Woman In Black: Angel of Death; additional music for the BBC’s 2016 adaptation of War and PeaceThe Aeronauts starring Eddie Redmayne & Felicity Jones.
Other film work includes Albatross, starring Felicity Jones and Jessica Brown Findlay; legal drama series Striking Out for RTÉ; and the Beckoning for C4/Discovery.
Stage includes The Devil’s Passion directed by Guy Masterson, and Walking To Jerusalem for Justin Butcher.
Short: Film & TV: Wild Rose, Loaded, Holy Flying Circus, The Scouting Book For Boys, War Book, War and Peach, The Aeronauts, Albatross, Striking Out, The Beckoning. Theatre includes The Devil’s Passion and 9 Circles with Guy Masterson.

  TOM TURNER -LIGHTING DESIGN
Tom Turner (he/him) is a lighting designer and associate lighting designer. His designs include Venus & Adonis, Dido & Aeneas and La Traviata (Hampstead Garden Opera), The Dog Walker (Jermyn Street Theatre), Itaipu (Queen Elizabeth Hall), and 9 to 5 The Musical (Upstairs at the Gatehouse). As Associate Lighting Designer: Les Miserables The Concert (Gielgud Theatre), The Grinning Man (Trafalgar Studios), Bat Out of Hell (West End & UK Tour), Chess (ENO), Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake (International Tour), The Remains of the Day (UK Tour), Messiah (Bristol Old Vic). He works alongside Ammonite as a Studio Associate on a number of large theatre projects. Upcoming projects include The Childish Land at the Edinburgh Fringe and the UK Tour of Ocean at the End of the Lane as Associate Lighting Designer. He holds an MA in Geography.
Short: Theatre LX Design includes Venus & Adonis, Dido & Aeneas and La Traviata (Hampstead Garden Opera); The Dog Walker (Jermyn Street Theatre), Itaipu (Queen Elizabeth Hall), and 9 to 5 The Musical (Upstairs at the Gatehouse) Scaramouche Jones (Wilton’s Music Hall) Upcoming projects include The Childish Land at the EdFringe.

  DUNCAN HENDERSON -DESIGN
Duncan trained as an actor at Webber Douglas. Theatre Academy. Theatre includes Golden Boy and The Man Who Stole a Winter Coat; Hitler Sells Tickets (Boothby Graffoe). In Brighton: Spy, Moonlight Over India and Metronome and Underdogs. Touchstone and Benedick in As You Like It and Much Ado About Nothing. More recently he performed as Gus Derbyshire in Hangman and Underneath the Lintel. In 2018, he wrote his own solo piece The Polished Scar. He also played Scheider in the originating cast of The Shark Is Broken at Edinburgh 2019. He also designed the set for the Olivier nominated West End transfer.
Short: Duncan is actor, writer, and designer. He recently appeared in Park 90 in The Polished Scar. He also designed The Shark Is Broken for Edinburgh 2019 and The West End 2021

  ELEANOR BULL - COSTUMES & PROPS
In 2017 Eleanor won the Linbury Prize for Stage Design for her work designing Phoenix Dance Theatre’s ‘Windrush: Movement of the People’, which toured nationally and internationally before being broadcast on the BBC. In 2020 she was nominated for the Evening Standard Future Theatre Award by The Globe. 
Credits include: Cerberus choreographed by Ben Duke for Rambert, UK Tour; Tin Man- Joss Arnott Dance; Wind in the Willows- Taunton Brewhouse; The Snow Queen, and Postmodern Panto- Brighton Open Air Theatre; Wired to the Moon- Ballet Cymru UK Tour; Mushy: Lyrically Speaking- Watford Palace Theatre and Rifco UK Tour; The Tempest, Katie Johnstone, Precious Little Talent, In the Night Time (Before the Sun Rises)- The Orange Tree Theatre; Glory- Red Ladder/Dukes Lancaster UK Tour; Stop and Search- Arcola Theatre; American Idiot- Mountview; Isaac Came Home from the Mountain- Theatre503; Windrush: Movement of the People- Phoenix Dance Theatre, Leeds Playhouse, UK Tour, & BBC broadcast. Short: Theatre includes: Windrush: Movement of the People (Phoenix Dance); Cerberus (Rambert); Tin Man (Josh Arnott Dance); Wind In The Willows (Taunton Brewhouse), The Snow Queen and Postmodern Panto (Brighton Open Air Theatre); Wired to the Moon (Ballet Cymru); Mushy: Lyrically Speaking (Watford Palace) and The Tempest, Katie Johnstone, Precious Little Talent, In the Night Time (Before the Sun Rises) (Orange Tree Theatre); Glory (Dukes Lancaster UK Tour); Stop and Search (Arcola Theatre)

  MARK BALDWIN OBE - MOVEMENT
Mark founded Limbs Dance Company, danced with Royal New Zealand Ballet and Australian Dance Theatre before joining London’s Ballet Rambert in 1979. Resident choreographer at Sadler’s Wells from 1989, where he established the Mark Baldwin Dance Company (1993 – 2001).
Mark created of over 40 works for The Royal Ballet, Royal New Zealand Ballet, Scottish Ballet, London City Ballet, Cisne Negro (Brazil), Modern Dance Company of Argentina, Phoenix Dance Company, Staatsoper Berlin and Rambert.
The Mark Baldwin Dance Company performed nationally and internationally including Italy, France, Malaysia, Tunisia and Sardinia, and the company was presented by Dance Umbrella numerous times when resident at The Place Theatre.
He has received numerous awards including 15 Critics' Circle Awards, 5 Olivier nominations and 2 Olivier Awards
In 2016, was awarded an OBE for his service to dance.


 

Writer's Note
“What did you feel?’: Ukrainian woman confronts Russian soldier who killed her husband.’ The headline is from May, 2022. The soldier was 21 and looked far younger. He was acting on the orders of his superior, who, by the way, was not on trial. At his sentencing for war crimes, the 21-year-old soldier, Vadim Shishimarin, asked for forgiveness that he knew would not receive. And I look at this encounter and ask myself, how can we be here again? How is that even possible? What would it take to end this? Dante, in Purgatorio, passes through fire and comes out ready to be led to a place of peace by a woman he met once. He did not make the journey willingly. He had no choice. He found himself in a dark wood, surrounded by beasts – a leopard, a lion and a wolf . The only way out was through the fire. In our dark wood, surrounded by beasts, desiring to leave our inferno behind, who is willing to pass through the fire? Bush then? Putin now? Who dares answer the Ukrainian woman’s question to the puzzled young tank driver: “What did you feel?”
(Bill Cain - 21/06/22)