Attempts on Her Life

by | Dec 15, 2022 | Reviews, Featured

UEA Theatre Productions’ Attempts on Her Life

Attempts On Her Life’ is a play by acclaimed British playwright Martin Crimp and The University of East Anglia’s (UEA) School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing presented this play as two entirely separate productions with very different approaches from the two directors and totally separate casts, each featuring over twenty actors.

Attempts On Her Life’ directed by James Robert Carson seeks to honour the real concern for humanity that is at the root of the piece, exploring environmental activism and interrogating what it means to be a terrorist or a freedom fighter.

Attempts On Her Life’ directed by Sola Adeyemi examines multiple perspectives of Anne, the ‘Her’ of the title. Was she an urban terrorist, a tourist hostess or a porn star? A victim of violence or the perpetrator? ‘Our approach employs everyday common situations to explore the creation in people’s consciousness of mind-bending identities’ Sola explained.

The concept of two different interpretations of the same play is intriguing. The author clearly had an objective he wanted to push forward yet do the individual versions provide the same message? I purposely went to see both shows to try and gain an opinion.

I’ve not read or seen the play; therefore I have no preconceived ideas, which is probably a good vantage point for such a notion. However, this isn’t a regular play, it doesn’t appear to have a beginning or an end. It goes beyond any traditional definition of a play. Instead it’s a series of seventeen scenes which seemingly are only linked by Anne, but we don’t know who Anne is, we only learn snippets of her by these scenarios in which all of them she is dead.

The scenarios are quite extreme and include pornography, ethnic violence, terrorism, unprotected sex, suicide, all the modern obsessions which humanity is obsessed with, which is the author’s message. Initially it seems disjointed until you pick up Anne as the link and can clasp them together, well almost.

The two versions were different and pleasingly so, although watching one didn’t give you any more insight into the other. This play is regarded as experimental theatre. In fact, the author only provides the lines with no guidance about the characters, no guidance of which actors speak the lines, or how many people are on stage. With this in mind, it makes you look at the pieces in a different light and how creative the cast and directors have been and this needs to be applauded.

To learn and perform this experimental theatre piece is brave and hopefully rewarding for the students. They managed to keep the audience’s attention on something complex, they brought passion and skill to a piece with seemingly no structure, and they made us warm to characters which were nameless. There were also a few laughs from those who had more mental agility than myself.

Overall a fearless performance from all cast.

UEA School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing














  • Hayley Clapperton

    Hayley is a business co-owner working too many hours so it's a good job she's passionate about it. Hayley's down time is music, music and music of all types and she enjoys going to gigs, listening to new bands and breathing in the energy it creates.

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