(production archive)

Cast and Crew

Gillian Wright (Gail) in And All The Children Cried (photo by Sheila Burnett)

New End Theatre and IDX Productions Ltd in association with West Yorkshire Playhouse present
And All The Children Cried
by Judith Jones & Beatrix Campbell, in collaboration with Annie Castledine

Reviews from the 2003 New End Theatre presentation:

Time Out
Camden New Journal
Evening Standard
or from the 2002 West Yorkshire Playhouse presentation (including Germaine Greer on Front Row)

Mark Espiner, Time Out, 29/01/03
CRITICS’ CHOICE (29/01-05/02)
CRITICS’ CHOICE (05/02-12/02)

A remarkably subtle, political, and at times beautiful treatment of a highly complex subject. Designer Liz Cooke’s cold, steel-bound set with fluorescent strip-lighting minimally communicates the grim isolation of prison ...

Both actors give blistering, chilling performances. But it is Annie Castledine's direction which makes this play transcendent. She has interrogated the text for every ounce of meaning, and stimulates the audience to confront an issue - clemency and understanding of woman child killers - often reduced to soundbites by the media. With this piece and the formal post-show discussion that follows, she reminds us of the political and social function of theatre.

Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph, 04/02/03
CRITICS' CHOICE (08/02/03)

... Gillian Wright is harrowingly intense as Gail - haunted, hysterical, irretrievably damaged and, almost certainly, still dangerous ...

... No play has moved or challenged me more this year. Each performance is followed by a discussion, and you need it, if only to calm your shredded nerves.
Read the full review

Lyn Gardner, Guardian, 30/01/03 ****
Substantially rewritten since it was first seen at West Yorkshire Playhouse last year, and all the better for it, this first play by social worker Judith Jones and journalist Beatrix Campbell achieves something rare: a considered and provoking examination of why women kill children. Significantly, is all done without resort to tabloid sensationalism. I never thought I would see a play featuring Myra Hindley that has integrity. But this is it.

... In less delicate and experienced hands than those of director Annie Castledine, this evening could backfire badly, but she judges it perfectly. This is a restrained and nuanced production, with an excellent performance from Gillian Wright as Gail and an absolutely stupendous one from Sharon Maughan as Myra.
Read the full review

Claire Davies, Camden New Journal, 30/01/03
The quality of the writing and the acting is irresistible ... The direction by Annie Castledine, who also collaborated with the authors, is just superb.

The Times, 29/01/03
FIRST CHOICE - The Best Shows in London

Rachel Halliburton, Evening Standard, 24/01/03
Intelligent, sensitive and bone-chilling ... The question of how to negotiate that disturbingly thin line between sympathy and empathy looms ever larger, as Gail - performed with astonishing physical desperation and warped charm by Gillian Wright - reveals the details of abuse that has made her an incontinent social reject as well as a murderer ... This invigoratingly angry drama brings illuminating debate about abuse and its consequences to the New End.

REVIEWS from the West Yorkshire Playhouse presentation, 19 April - 11 May 2002:

Sheena Hastings, Yorkshire Post, 01/05/02
A fascinating, harrowing, sometimes unbearable dialogue ... a clarion call for change. And All The Children Cried is an invitation to engage with a thorny subject, not an assault on our sensibilities ... it is the most astounding piece of theatre I’ve seen in years.

Lynne Walker, The Independent, 08/05/02
This is complex, darkly compelling material presented under Annie Castledine’s direction in an admirably non-sensational way, with moving and finely characterised performances by Sharon Maughan and Gill Wright.

Kevin Berry, The Stage, 02/05/02
This play looks at the lives of two child killers in nightmarish detail. It should be required watching ... This play goes further than anything I have previously seen.

Lyn Gardner, The Guardian, 27/04/02
Like Greek tragedies, where the terrible atrocities always happen off-stage, this conjures pictures in your mind that are all the more devastating because of the restraint of the theatrical form and the beautiful direction of Annie Castledine ... The piece never underestimates or underplays the complexities involved, raises plenty of questions and offers no easy answers. It does what all good theatre does: makes you want to discuss and argue into the night ... the evening makes you rage at the prison system, question your own attitudes and ask why we demonise some of these women and forgive others. If we really want to understand why women kill children, why do we lock up the evidence and often throw away the key?

Liz Ekstein, Metro, 26/04/02 *****
It’s a fortnight after Myra’s (Sharon Maughan) and Gail’s (Gill Wright) parole requests. Like Myra, Gail is a child-murderer: unlike Myra, she killed her own children. In presenting the fictional Gail’s story, Jones and Campbell foreground the self-perpetuation of violence: abuse, they argue, breeds abuse. Gail has been so badly abused that, she figures, you’re better off dead. Her rationale for her actions brings into clear relief the artificial paradox at the heart of the way society still sees women: how can we be killers when we can be mothers?

As Myra, Maughan remains steadily inscrutable and calmly upright throughout; Wright’s Gail contrasts as a fizzing bomb of pain and energy ... Annie Castledine’s smooth direction leads us inexorably to Myra’s final speech. Half-polemic and half-plea, it points accusingly at society’s unwillingness to address discomforting issues. This is a thoughtful and complex discussion of them.

Germaine Greer, Front Row, 25/04/02
Germaine Greer reviewed And All The Children Cried for BBC Radio 4's Front Row. Listen to the review online here.

Time Out is pleased to support this production of AND ALL THE CHILDREN CRIED
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