Comment is Free by James Fritz

The River by Jez Butterworth

Wednesday 9th - Saturday 12th October

Comment is Free


It will soon be opening night for the double bill, of which Comment is Free forms a part, and we are hard at work putting it together.  James Fritz’s play is a scathing commentary on the power of social media, and tells the story of political commentator Alistair Cooper (played by Jason Lever), a man that people love to hate, seen largely through the eyes of his wife Hilary (Charly Sommers) and sister-in-law Bea (Ellie Mason).  The cast also features Abigail Smith, Liz Gibson, Barbara Halsey, Steven Evans and Stuart Curlett. 

Comment Is Free is fiercely current and relevant in a world in which the mob mentality of social media, with little accountability, can impact not only what people think but what they do. Fritz’s script was originally a radio play and won both the Imison and the Tinniswood Awards for radio drama. The stage version includes a soundscape of media ‘noise’ (created by Steven Adams), which features the voices of a number of BLT regulars and newcomers.   This plays alongside the on-stage performances and serves to create an internet and broadcast world within which the story plays out (in our case on a stark white set).  The inclusion of this noise as almost an additional character is a really powerful device that we hope to do justice to.

This has been my first time directing at BLT, and I couldn’t have done it without the support of Steven Adams (set, sound and lighting design), Steven Evans (stage management), Helen Molloy (costume) and Mimi Goddard (lighting and sound operation) along with the talent, enthusiasm and willingness of my wonderful cast.  A big thank you is also due to Dee Johnson for special effects.

We look forward to seeing you.

Sam Chittenden


The River


Rehearsals are now in full swing and I am lucky to have such a dedicated and talented cast and crew to help bring this play to life. 

Despite popular belief the play is not about fishing! If I had to sum it up in a sentence, I would say it is a poetic tale about the nature of searching for true love, with perhaps the key line from the play being quite simply “I am not entirely sure what love is.”

The central character is “The Man” (Rob Punter), who inhabits the stage (transformed by Steven Adams and Tom Williams into a fishing cabin) for the entire play whilst Mandy Jane-Jackson and Cata Lindegaard play “The Woman” and “The Other Woman”; characters who flit in and out of The Man’s life, depicted in separate scenes which segue into each other. The Man struggles to maintain his relationships, and we start to get the sense that these aren’t the only two women he has invited to the fishing cabin, as each relationship seems to end up mirroring his others, but he also seems to be desperately trying to re-create the feelings of a past romance.

Jez Butterworth’s writing is full of metaphors, storytelling and vivid imagery, and we have had plenty of discussions about what the real meaning behind the play is. I hope the audience will leave at the end of the play having similar discussions.

Additionally I have been supported by Mimi Goddard, Steve Evans, Millie Edinburgh and Ann Atkins all of whom I am very grateful to for their hard work and input.

Paul Morley

Comment is Free and The River run 9th - 12th October at 7.45pm at BLT.

Tickets available in the usual ways, online at or by calling 0844 888 0432.