Reviews are coming in for Paradise Now! at the Bush Theatre in London.
Margaret Perry’s (Collapsible) funny and raging new play about ambition, exploitation and the search for connection in a fractured world is directed by Jaz Woodcock-Stewart (Civilisation). Following a group of women brought together by the allure of making money in a pyramid scheme selling essential oils the all-female ensemble cast features Michele Moran, Ayoola Smart, Rakhee Thakrar, Shazia Nicholls, Annabel Baldwin and Carmel Winters.
The creative team includes composer Jasmin Kent Rodgman, dramaturg Deirdre O’Halloran, movement director Sung Im Her, set designer Rosie Elnile, costume designer Hazel Low, lighting designer Alex Fernandes, sound designer Jasmin Kent Rodgman, casting director Polly Jerrold.
Paradise Now! reviews
"This clever satire of modern feminism might well be the best new play of the year"
"Bush Theatre’s excellent show Paradise Now! skewers the Instagram generation’s obsession with authenticity as a substitute for female power"
"an unexpected end of year treat this is – a strange, lovely, fresh as paint new satire that’s surely a late contender for best new play of the year. "
"Paradise Now! nails the ruthless commodification of feminine “vulnerability” as its own highly lucrative brand"
"What sets Perry’s critique of this depressingly self-deluding new feminism apart, though, is its tone. There is nothing declamatory or heavy-handed here; rather Perry blends her satirical nous with an offbeat naturalism flecked with moments of startling surreal humour. "
"Smart, funny, heart-bruising"
"Sharply funny look at female friendships and the lure of success"
"Perry delves into female friendships, desperate ambition, exploitation, loneliness and grief with a deft touch as we watch pressures mount and carefully constructed shells crumble"
"Margaret Perry’s corporate satire is meandering but hugely enjoyable"
"Perry’s play is a thorough look into the highs and lows of working for a business chain – even if one too many threads are left hanging by the end."
"It is endlessly watchable stuff. Perry has a knack for writing dialogue that sounds organic in each of her very different characters’ mouths."
"Still, Perry’s script needs sharper vision...There’s a lot of filler, albeit quite amusing, that makes the play far longer than it really needs to be. ...With a reshape, it could be paradise – soon."
"A deceptively oily comedy with a standout performance"
"Michele Moran gives a pitch-perfect demonstration of physical comedy"
"despite its deft originality, the play’s far too long, and a dynamic cast can’t conceal the fact that Gabriel is the most richly drawn character. Not least through the deceptive banalities of her life with a sister who proves that while paradise might be elusive, hell is most definitely other people."
"Sharp satire of girlboss extremes"
"Smartly directed and superbly acted, Margaret Perry’s funny and moving play follows a group of women working for an essential oils franchise"
"Let’s start with the scene changes. In Jaz Woodcock-Stewart’s inspired production of Margaret Perry’s probing play, these shifts have attitude, go off-kilter and involve high-energy chart music and intoxicating dance routines. They’re like little works of art in themselves."
"Panic and despair fill the air like the bergamot and lily from the diffusers flogged by Alex but Perry’s sensuous drama also shows us taut lives loosening..."
"Although darkly comical, the play is often moving in its assessment of the characters’ lacerating degree of self-efficacy. Occasionally it slips into telling not showing, and overstating its closely bound themes, but this is an arresting assessment of feminism in the social media age and the pernicious effects of life’s snake oil sellers."
"Originality is a precious commodity in a theatrical world that is often too eager to run with the herd. Young Irish writer Margaret Perry is, therefore a bracingly, non-conformist prospect who suggests she could have a big future — thanks to her batty new comedy, Paradise Now!"
"It’s far too long, though, at two-and-three-quarter hours."
"It’s also pleasingly trashy, thanks to girl-power chart hits (including one from her namesake Katy). She’s not the finished article, but Perry is a brilliant one-off. One of her characters reminds us that ‘meteors don’t rise’, but this young playwright from Cork might just be the exception."