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Criterion Theatre
Look Mum, no hands (2018)
A Double Bill comprising 'Gods Are Fallen And All Safety Gone' by Selma Dimitrijevic & 'Spacewang' by Tom Wells plus live music.
Sat 27th January to Sat 3rd February

"I used to dismiss you, but now I just miss you"

Running time approx. 2 hours including a 15 minute interval 

Director – Jane Railton
Production Photos
Nora – Leonie Slater
Anne (Mother) – Jean Firth
Annie (Daughter) – Lilian McGrath
Pianist – Sophie Hadlum
Singer – Nicole Firth
Prompter – Jonathan Rees
Lighting Design – Sarah Basford
Wardrobe – Cathryn Bowler
Wardrobe – Helen McGowan
Props i/c – Lesley Rahilly
Sound Designer – Dave Cornish
Stage Manager – Nikki Gabriel
Set Design – Simon Sharpe
Artwork Design – Emma Withers
Props – Pierre Duhamel
Set Build i/c – Simon Sharpe
Set Build – Jess Cornwall
Set Build – Terry Cornwall
Click to describe this role ... – Chris Hernon
Set Build – Jenson Jones
Set Build – Chris Knipe
Set Build – Margaret Knipe
Set Build – Lukasz Nowacki
Set Build – Terry Rahilly
Set Build – Mike Waterson
Set Build – Kevin Woods
Set Painting – Paul Chokran
Set Painting – Judy Talbot
Sound Operation – Dave Cornish
Lighting Operation – Sarah Basford
Lighting Operation – Ellen Sharkey
Lighting Operation – Karl Stafford

‘Gods are Fallen and All Safety Gone’ by Selma Dimitrijevic


The unusual title of the play is taken from John Steinbeck’s novel East of Eden and is an investigation into what happens when we discover that our parents are flawed human beings, and that at some point, sooner than we think, they are suddenly going to disappear from our lives.


In an intimate and funny exploration of mother and daughter relationships, two actors explore the fascinating relationship dynamic of a thirty-something daughter and her ageing mother.


Gods Are Fallen and All Safety Gone has been described as a lifetime of conversations, condensed into one hour.


Press Comment


Dimitrijevic’s sequence of four repeating mother-daughter conversations is perfectly simple in structure. But within its framework, she produces a superbly subtle analysis of the comedy and agony of this closest of family relationships.” The Scotsman


“I suggest you take your mother along to see it. Walk out with her arm-in-arm, just like I did. It may be too early for drinks at that point, but it won’t be too late to talk. For as long as it’s not too late to talk to your mother, ‘Gods Are Fallen’ may not break your heart.” The Moscow News


‘Spacewang’ by Tom Wells


Nora, aged 14 ish , has come to the beach to test out her new equipment. Her words reveal a chaotic life of school truancy, alcohol, shop-lifting and an obsession with making contact with extra-terrestrial aliens. As she talks we learn more about the reasons behind her problems and why she has felt compelled to come to the beach on this particular evening. 


This is a delightfully wry, witty and surreal piece of writing from a talented young playwright. 


Though Wells’ monologue has many comedic highlights, it is also tinged with melancholy too as the audience slowly realises who Nora is really trying to reach” Drama Online


“‘Spacewang’ is the shortest monologue I’ve looked at, but it’s probably the tightest and most conventionally


compelling of all. A memorable sketch of childhood delusion built upon a strong visual base.” Monoblogged.


For this production we are delighted to welcome to the Criterion local composer Sophie Hadlum who will be playing some of her cinematic classical piano pieces as a prelude to the plays. 


The programme will also include songs performed live by Nicole Firth. 


For more information about this production please contact the Director via

The Criterion’s new show, "Look Mum, no hands" is a tender, affectionate and very honest look at mother–daughter relationships.
Two plays form the bulk of the programme. The first is Tom Wells’s funny, quirky monologue, 'Spacewang', performed by Leonie Slater. Wells came to prominence a few years ago with 'Jumpers for Goalposts', a comedy about a gay five-a-side football team, and its no surprise that
this play takes a sympathetic look at an outsider’s experience. Nora is a weird kid. She bunks off school, hiding in bushes and stealing from supermarkets. She carries in her rucksack home made equipment that can pick up signals from aliens in outer space. From her perspective most of what seems normal to other people is strange to her, and vice versa. Gradually we learn that there is a method in her madness which has a lot to do with her mother. I won’t tell you what it is because you really need to see the play. It’s very funny, poignant and sad, and the surprise ending leaves a mark on your heart.
'Gods are Fallen and All Safety Gone' by Selma Dimitrjevic is a two-hander about Annie (Lilian McGrath) and her mother (Jean Firth). Annie regularly visits her aged parents as many of us do, out of love and duty. In a series of scenes in which the see the relationship emerge through a series of repeated tropes – “Have you had your bath? Was the water hot enough?” we see the things that both bind and separate them. Life isn’t going well for Annie, but Mum isn’t altogether tactful in her sympathy, saying what she thinks, which is sometimes wide of the mark but equally often too close for comfort. Annie, for her part, often struggles to be respectful towards her aged, awkward mother, whom she undoubtedly loves. Then tragedy strikes, and the underlying truth of their relationship emerges. As with 'Spacewang', it is funny, poignant and ultimately life-affirming because of, as well as in spite of, the characters’ idiosyncrasies. Many of us with aged parents or with middle aged children will see in the play a mirror held up to our own strengths and flaws.
The show is nicely complemented by songs that touch upon the theme, sung by Nicole Firth, and some lovely impressionistic piano pieces composed and performed by Sophie Hadlum.
Together the pieces form a whole that is greater than the sum of its already substantial parts.
Nick Le Mesurier
We are in Withernsea on the coast of East Yorkshire, a seagull’s flight from the current City of Culture.  More precisely, we’re in a wheelie-bin at the back of Aldi and close to the beach. We’re hiding from the “kiddie-catcher”, otherwise known as the truancy officer. And we’re waiting . . . waiting for the sun to go down and the moon to come up. Waiting for a visitor from somewhere out there with the Moon and the Sun in the universe beyond the North Sea. 'Spacewang',a short play by Tom Wells, takes us into the chaotic world of Nora, one of those old-fashioned names that have made a comeback after a long-absence. Leonie Slater gives a memorable solo performance as a girl in her early teens who is not only in the wheelie-bin but off the rails and on the edge. In the hedge, too. That’s where she hides from mates on the way to school before skipping off to nick another bottle of vodka from the supermarket. It’s easy, she assures us. Not so easy is letting go. Not just of the handlebars or the safety bar on the roundabout but of the person who gave us life and showed us the first steps along its hazardous path.         
The overall title "Look Mum, no hands", spans two plays that explore that theme in very different ways. “Gods are fallen and All Safety Gone” (a quote from Steinbeck, since you ask) was the title chosen by playwright Selma Dimitrijevic. It takes us into a very different setting of chintzy table cloths and wing-backed armchairs. Criterion stalwart Jean Firth plays an elderly Mum clinging on to life with a clenched determination that shuts out all goodwill. Lilian McGrath captures beautifully the stress and tension of a daughter coming to terms with the decline of her one-time role-model. 
Under Jane Railton’s direction, the plays are introduced and linked through some soulful songs by Nicole Firth and inventive piano-playing from the flexible fingers of local composer Sophie Hadlum. Two more reminders there of the incredible span of female talent in one small corner of the next City of Culture.
CHRIS ARNOT - ElementaryWhatsOn



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