Stars explained: * A production of no real merit with failings in all areas. ** A production showing evidence of not enough time or effort, or even talent, and which never breathes any real life into the piece – or a show lumbered with a terrible script. *** A good enjoyable show which might have some small flaws but has largely achieved what it set out to do.**** An excellent show which shows a great deal of work and stage craft with no noticeable or major flaws.***** A four star show which has found that extra bit of magic which lifts theatre to another plane.
Half stars fall between the ratings

jimmy and alison

Andy Bingham as Jimmy and Jess Schneider as Alison. Picture Colin Hill

Look Back in Anger

The Nonentities

The Rose Theatre, Kidderminster


Look back in Anger needs no introduction. The play, written in 1955 by John Osborne, broke the mould of theatrical language and writing, challenging the establishment by presenting the voice of the `angry young men ‘of their time.

It’s a play whose characters possess a genuine level of honesty and whilst you may not have sympathy for their actions or non actions, or any of their choices, there are moments everyone can relate to.

Married couple Jimmy and Alison Porter share a small bedsit with close friend Cliff Lewis. Jimmy is bored to anger with his existence and subjects Cliff and his wife to his bitter tirades. Adding to the intensity, is the arrival of Helena, Alison’s so called friend. She outstays her welcome to the effect of eventually taking Jimmy for her own after the couple split.

The play is not exactly comfortable to watch. Set In the confines of the small studio at The Rose theatre, imagine being locked in a room with a feuding, arguing couple for two hours and silently witnessing their decay.

Andy Bingham faced the major task of playing Jimmy Porter and effectively managed the massive mood swings of his character. It’s not easy to spend an evening soaked in tension and anger interspersed with moments of tearful despair.

 It’s hard to like his character but he didn’t hold back in making Jimmy real. Jessica Schneider took on the meek Alison Porter and her performance was detailed and refined. Smiling through her frustration at her annoying husbands bitter insults she brought her character to a deep level of despair when finally abandoning him, never having the courage to tell him of her pregnancy.


Her departure is fuelled by her actress friend Helena Charles played by Faye Stanton. At first Helena seems like Alison’s saviour helping her to face up to her husband and leave his onslaught of insults. But then she shockingly takes Jimmy for her own, an act that eventually consumes her with guilt. Faye looked the part and her cool performance added an air of stability to the play.

The neutral lodger Cliff Lewis was played nicely by Kieran Dockery. Cliff is the unwilling witness to the complex relationships in the bedsit. Frustratingly he seems unable to take any sides with real effect and dealt well with some of the physical aspects of his odd relationship with Jimmy.

Patrick Bentley acted as Alison’s father Colonel Redfern. The colonel adds an air of nostalgia to the story, contrasting his days of service to the British Empire in his youth to Jimmy’s intellectual boredom with his own life.

Bob Graham’s direction of the play is solid and the hard work of his actors to meet the challenge of this exhausting play is to be commended. To effectively bring this bitter story to the stage means everyone has to face their own and their characters demons. With Osborne once having played as a young actor in Kidderminster, Look Back in Anger is an appropriate play to add to The Nonentities 80th Anniversary season.

It’s a play that is a monumental challenge for any production team and cast and The Nonentities do not flinch in delivering it with a high level of compassion and skill, making it a worthy addition to their long catalogue of quality work. To 04-11-17. 

Jeff Grant


The Rose Theatre box office on 01562 743745 -

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