Skip to content


by on 13 April 2022

Crisp Biscuits


by Katie Redford

Theatre 503 and Bethany Cooper Productions at Theatre 503, Battersea until 23rd April

Review by Gill Martin

Dawn is an unfulfilled, long-married mum with petulant daughter Jen going nowhere.  Gavi is a kindly Co-op colleague with his own baggage but with a determination to change all their lives with Club biscuits, motivational mantras and positive visualisation.

And all this can be achieved in a bleak, grey space that is his garage.

The set of Tapped, a debut stage play by the acclaimed actor and writer Katie Redford, is symbolic of their monochromatic, dull, closed-in lives.

Gavi (Max Hastings) makes a confident stage debut in this witty, touching and heart-warming play of missed opportunities, big dreams in small places and how the idea of change is a scary prospect.

Armed with a flip chart and baggy T-shirts bearing the legend GO GET IT!  the Spandau Ballet fan sets up a self-help group so they can shed the shackles of living in Stapleford and escape their narrow lives of thwarted love, stale marriage, dodgy affair with a bent cop.

Chalked on the concrete wall are a must do list to inspire them and entice them away from their dull world of whinging gossip, mindless telly, supermarkets, Bake Off.

And he gives them a challenge list: buy coffee for a stranger; get on a bus without knowing where it’s going; write a poem; cold showers for a week.  Jen doesn’t fancy ‘freezing my tits off’ to reach her goal of a singing career in Madrid rather than Stapleford.

‘Lots of exciting things have happened here,’ says Gavi, defending their Nottinghamshire town. ‘Like that time in 2005 when Bradley Welsh opened Domino’s.’

There’s a poignant undercurrent of dreams yet realised, sadness over family illness, a toxic relationship between Dawn (Jennifer Daley), who has the hots for Phillip Schofield, and truculent daughter Jen (Olivia Sweeney), a wannabe singer on the brink of her first break in Spain.

Dig deeper — and director Piers Black makes the assured actors plumb the depths — and the reason for the mother-daughter rift reveals itself.   The elephant is the garage is mental health.

‘You never had any plasters,’ accuses Jen, ‘When I fell over, you used loo roll.  Loo roll on a cut?  Whenever I had a bump, you rubbed butter on me.

‘You couldn’t even plait my hair…

‘You were in bed for most of what I remember.’

Distraught Dawn, who has a penchant for the paranormal, counters: ‘Depression paralyses you Jen….Sometimes you simply can’t even lift you head off the pissing pillow, let alone look after a family.’

But despite the sadness this is in no way a depressing play.  Crisp one-liners are delivered at pace to keep the mood light.  ‘Aldi. It’s got everything that place.  You go in for a loaf and you come out with a camping tent,’ opines Dawn.

Gavi is endearing and as likable as a Teddy bear that needs cuddling.  The acid-tongued Dawn and Jen eventually soften as the play climaxes.  Positive visualisation really does work.

Theatre503 is a vibrant, enthusiastic group nurturing early talent.  Now based in the old Latchmere pub they look forward to next year when building starts on a new working space in Nine Elms.

Gill Martin, April 2022

Photography by Lidia Crisafulli

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: