Espiner, Time Out, 29/01/03
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
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.
the full review
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
the full review
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.
FIRST CHOICE - The Best Shows in
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.
from the West Yorkshire Playhouse presentation, 19 April - 11 May
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.