Review: Round and Round

Katharine Wiggell 3 May 2014

The Larkum Studio, an intimate setting, curtained all around with dark drapes, provided the perfect stage for Hannah Greenstreet’s Round and Round. The rehearsed reading of the Girtonian's play successfully explored within a mere half an hour a variety of themes, from friendship to abuse, and aroused emotions ranging from amused laughter to horrified shock.

I admit that I was unsure of what to expect from this rehearsed reading. Similar experiences have left me bored, as actors faced forwards onstage, glued to scripts, focused only on their own vocal performance. However, Round and Round could not have been more different. Nicholas Hulbert’s direction ensured good interaction despite the use of scripts, and nothing could have been more powerful than the moments of heightened emotion, when the actors seemed so familiar with their lines and so in tune with their characters that they barely glanced at their scripts at all. Physical interaction and gestures, such as the desperate attempts of middle-aged bus-rider Clive (James Hancock-Evans) to escape from 19 year-old May’s grasp (Abi Palmer) as well as the menacing glares and aggressive posture of Nathan (Chris Born), really added to the shape of the overall performance.  Costumes and sound effects benefited the reading but perhaps were not necessary: the audience could be allowed more scope for imagination without these.

The actors and the director Nicholas Hulbert, who clearly delivered stage directions, must be highly commended. Hancock-Evans depicted anxious Clive fantastically, his nervousness at the seemingly threatening May was endearing, lightly comic, yet relatable. His panic at being on a dark night-bus with this angry young woman, unsure of how to react, is a feeling familiar to many of us, if we see a stereotypical “youth". Yet whilst Clive’s character showed stereotypical nervousness, Abi’s portrayal of May showed that there is much more behind a stereotype than meets the eye. Her description of being a victim of sexual abuse was powerfully delivered, leaving the audience in shocked silence.

Round and Round was a short and bittersweet performance, evoking the emotions of the audience and a need to address issues of sexual abuse that are, unfortunately, far too common an occurrence.  The lack of resolution at the end of the play allowed for more personal consideration of the key themes of the script; and as is often the case with issues of abuse, there will sadly be no resolution.

An excellent, thought-provoking piece of drama. 


Papercuts is the ADC Theatre's rehearsed reading programme designed at helping new writers and their work develop by getting the script on its feet and spoken. Produced in the Larkum Studio at the ADC Theatre, and is intended to let the writer see their work given a voice.