I’m just home form attending your rehearsed reading of Cat and Mouse. It was tremendous and I really enjoyed it. The strength of impact on the audience was apparent: we were held rapt and perhaps it’s because we were so moved by your powerful script that we didn’t put this into words to you at the end! The language is so rich and descriptively effective that one possibility seems to me to be a future as a radio play. Is this a route you have thought of exploring?
Claire Easingwood
Perthshire, UK –

My wife and I much enjoyed the reading of your play this evening. I’m sure the obvious interest of the people of Perth in the subject, and their clear enjoyment of the play, augur well for its future production. I don’t, however, think it’s too firmly rooted in Perth – the story is much more universally understood than that, and it would resonate across Scotland. There was an intensity in the performance which I think resulted not only from the pleasingly tight script and good performances from the cast, but also from the intimate ‘studio’ atmosphere of a darkened small space with the pool of light on the actors. I think it may be that something would be lost by attempting to put it on as a mainstage production with a large stage space and the audience further away from the performers. It’s maybe best suited to a small studio type space – or as a radio play. The sequences of short scenes worked well in the reading – I felt you had created very effective end lines for these, and didn’t succumb to the temptation of prolonging a scene merely for the sensationalism which is often more effectively left to the imagination. Listening to the actors, the scenes flowed into each other without seeming too bitty – and I may say I’m often prejudiced against short-scene productions for that very reason! I feel this continuity and flow might be damaged by too much extraneous back-projection etc. between scenes, as was suggested by one member of the audience. Breaking it up too much might fragment and reduce the intensity of the series of dialogues between the doctor and Arabella which are the powerful core of the play. Incidentally, were the titles given to each scene (eg ‘Scene eight – a Thunderstorm’) purely to help those listening, or would you be intending to incorporate them in a stage production in a Brechtian sort of way? The scene titles were effective in giving each segment its own focus, and they tended to stick in the memory as very appropriate. Hope I haven’t rambled too much – just felt your play merited a considered comment, even if it’s just one individual’s views. Congratulations again, and good luck in raising funding for a future production!
Jim Waite
Perth, UK –

I very much enjoyed the reading last night and can certainly visualise Cat and Mouse making a very intense and powerful play. Congratulations all round.
Steve Connelly
Dundee, UK –

I enjoyed the rehearsed reading at Perth Theatre Studio, but as someone else commented, I felt the ending was rather abrupt. Some tension is built up when the doctor fears for his safety, and pleads for a letter; the letter is written but then withdrawn, and before the implications of this can be explored, the prisoner is granted release. I realise that this deus ex machina is based on historical fact, but maybe a little historical fiction is needed to bring home the doctor’s predicament and his patient’s dilemma. I didn’t get any feeling from the play that the events took place on the eve of the momentous upheaval of the First World War (which ultimately helped to win women the vote), but perhaps that’s me looking back from a modern perspective – after all, although war was widely anticipated, before August 1914 no-one had any inkling of what was to come. There seemed to be an assumption that in a full production, back-projection would be used to set the events in a historical context (e.g. newsreel footage) and to provide additional details (e.g. the text of letters). This technology can be used very effectively in a theatre production, but relying on it as an integral aspect of the play would limit opportunities to take the production to community or fringe venues.
Colin McLeod
Perth, UK –

I thoroughly enjoyed the rehearsed play reading in Perth Theatre studio. This is an exceptional work and was vivdly and convincingly played by all the characters. I am looking forward to the end result of the fully fledged stage production – do hope we don’t have too long to wait.
Marjorie McFarlane
Luncarty, UK –

The Actors Reading : Very convincing The Story : Gripping The Research : Excellent The Overall Verdict : This would make a fantastic and compelling watch – however – the one point I would make – is when Dr Watson is questioned by Scott about asking her to go to Canada – his simple remark of ” I cant remember ” could be made more poignant – or dramatic – as that – to me was a massive slap to Scott – but it was not given enough attention maybe. Apart from that – I think it is a triumph on a subject we cannot get complacent about!
Ashley Kennedy
Alyth, UK –

Don`t know how i would stage the play but the reading at AK Bell library was exceptional.The actors portrayed the subject with real feeling.The play and evening were well run and it left me with a hunger for more.
Anne Watson
Cowdenbeath, UK –

I found the whole play totally engrossing. In terms of the comments afterwards, I must say I found the discussion around the women as victims rather strange and this was not at all my reaction. To me the only way the women were victims was in the sense that all women at the time were victims of political and associated injustices. I could not follow the logic of how women who were fighting for rights (and I thought the early scene with the three women describing how they upped their actions showed the women to be measured and very much in control) could then somehow become victims because they were imprisoned for that. It might have made sense to describe them as victims if they had ended up spending years in prison and one could understand that having been put into prison they could have started acting like victims – and there were hints of this in the dynamics around their imprisonment but to me their responses felt as though they came from helplessness, not victimhood. The way the play portrayed them I thought they came across as fighting that helplessness – just when there were hints that Arabella was going to compromise or give up she would then call for a solicitors or come back fighting in some other way.
Glasgow, UK –

I thought the use of photography as the backdrop for the reading was interesting, I have never seen photography used like that on stage. A prison environment is a powerful image so using photographs of a real prison was a great idea, I would have liked to have seen more. I hope the setting for the full play can convey a really strong sense of isolation and solitude.
Gary Brown
Perth, UK –

Just been to the rehearsed reading in Perth. Absolutely gripping play – wholly convincing (and inspired) acting from all – and hugely intriguing chemistry between the two main players. Can’t wait to see the full production – think it will be wonderful to see it played out as it is described within the site.
Wendy Muzlanova
Perth, UK –

This looks really good … It’s a very relevant and exciting piece of theatre; the hideous practise of force feeding continues to this day in Turkey, China, and many many other countries where men and women are making a stand for their human rights … and many of them are imprisoned writers. I’m so sorry I won’t be able to be in Perth on the 22nd (I’ll be in the US) but I’m taking my computer so I can follow each step of the journey from the other side of the world! PS I was reminded of a paragraph from Harold Pinter’s acceptance speech for the Nobel prize – and that was only three years ago. December 7th, 2007:- Look at Guantanamo Bay. Hundreds of people detained without charge for over three years, with no legal representation or due process, technically detained forever. This totally illegitimate structure is maintained in defiance of the Geneva Convention. It is not only tolerated but hardly thought about by what’s called the ‘international community’. This criminal outrage is being committed by a country, which declares itself to be ‘the leader of the free world’. Do we think about the inhabitants of Guantanamo Bay? What does the media say about them? They pop up occasionally – a small item on page six. They have been consigned to a no man’s land from which indeed they may never return. At present many are on hunger strike, being force-fed, including British residents. No niceties in these force-feeding procedures. No sedative or anesthetic. Just a tube stuck up your nose and into your throat. You vomit blood. This is torture. What has the British Foreign Secretary said about this? Nothing. What has the British Prime Minister said about this? Nothing. Why not? Because the United States has said: to criticize our conduct in Guantanamo Bay constitutes an unfriendly act. You’re either with us or against us. So Blair shuts up.
Vivian French
Edinburgh, UK –

Very atmospheric. I’ve visited prisons and a number of Victorian asylums, and many years ago witnessed force feeding (I’m not proud to say), so this all resonates. The incredibly complex dynamic between warder/doctor/prisoner/patient has always interested me and it’s the opportunity to see these relationships being explored in depth which really makes me want to see the play. It’s sharpened of course by being based on real people and events. Just a very minor point but I don’t think it’s necessary to have gagging/retching sound effects right at the start of the play – after all everything’s going to be made clear as it unfolds.
kate smart
rattray, UK –