Reviews are coming in for Gareth Farr’s Biscuits for Breakfast at Hampstead Theatre in London.
Written by TV and stage writer, and Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting winner, Gareth Farr, and directed by Tessa Walker, Biscuits for Breakfast stars Boadicea Ricketts (Call the Midwife, Grantchester) and Ben Castle-Gibb (You).
The play centres on mis-matched couple Joanne, who is a spikey, defensive, survivor, and Paul, a quiet, considered – and hiding profound grief for his father. But the pleasure Paul takes in cooking – and the astonishing food he prepares – creates a bond between them. So, when the hotel where they both work closes and they start to spiral into poverty, it throws everything up in the air – first the dreams of a cookbook and a restaurant, and, eventually, even the dreams of a future together.
Biscuits for Breakfast is playing at Hampstead Theatre until 10 June 2023.
Check out reviews, below, including from the Evening Standard, The Stage and The Times.
Book tickets to Biscuits for Breakfast at Hampstead Theatre in London.
Biscuits for Breakfast reviews
"Sparks fly in a foodie love story"
"Gareth Farr’s two-hander has energy and passion and fire; all it needs is more fine-tuning."
"It’s quite a while since I saw two young actors strike sparks off each other quite as convincingly as the superb Boadicea Ricketts and Ben Castle-Gibb, cast as an apparently ill-matched couple brought together by food."
"It’s when the hotel closes and the couple struggle to stay afloat that the script begins to lose focus... Farr also squeezes in an awful lot of themes, from questions of ambition and social mobility to parental failure, low-income labour and race (we learn that Joanne suffers abuse at her new job)."
"... the scene where Paul introduces his partner to the joys of catching razor clams on the beach will linger long in the memory."
"Stirring two-hander about love of food and lack of food from Bruntwood Prize-winner Gareth Farr"
"At the centre of this new play by Bruntwood Prize-winner Gareth Farr is a fish pie that isn’t actually there. It is all about food: the cooking of it, the savouring and sharing of it and, ultimately, the lack of it."
"What starts as a romantic piece about love, food and family soon turns into a fierce polemic. As the world becomes heightened and time seems to pass more slowly, the more hungry Paul and Joanne become: their faces turn grim, they hollow out. Some scenes are slightly overstuffed, trying to pack in too many ingredients at the expense of believability. But mostly, it is a powerful piece in which Farr lays bare the realities of the different ways people cope."
"Grim and remorseless"
"After a promising start, this play ends up becoming increasingly repetitive"
"Nobody expects a play about food poverty to be a barrel of laughs. But after a promising beginning, Gareth Farr’s downbeat love story between two impoverished young people in Cornwall settles into a grim, remorseless rhythm."
"Farr, an actor as well as a writer, has a good ear for idiomatic, incidental dialogue, but errs towards bathos when things get serious. His script falls into the worst trap of the two-handed relationship drama, with the characters endlessly explaining their shared situation to each other."
"Castle-Gibb does well in a role that’s difficult and unsympathetic, for reasons we’ll get into. Ricketts gives a terrific, mascara-streaked display of tempered fury but the play hands her all the glories on a plate."
"Brilliantly directed by Tessa Walker it is effectively designed by Cecilia Carey on a traverse stage that changes from a cramped apartment to a discotheque and from an abandoned trawler to a beach through inventive lighting and sound effects."
"Farr overeggs the agony towards the end and while I was never fully convinced by the use of tape recorded voices of young Paul and his Dad from the past it is a brave play, courageously performed."
Hampstead Theatre, London