Jade City – Press

★★★★ Theatre Weekly
★★★★ Breaking the Fourth Wall
★★★★ I Thank You Theatre


“Alice Malseed’s two-hander comes dense and sticky with language, East Belfast place names and Northern Irish accents and flips in time…there is something undeniably powerful in this story of two men bound together by a shared childhood and the imaginary games they used to play, their complete lack of a future and a terrible secret—previously unacknowledged and unshared—which binds them together and drives them apart.” – Lyn Gardner, StageDoor


“There’s a cracking, crackling energy running through Jade City […] Discussing themes of suicide and sexual assault, urban decay and economic stagnation, it’s a timely and ambitious piece, written in an engaging, lyrical mix of fluently captured Irish idiom and the particular staccato rhythm of matey banter.” – Dave Fargnoli, The Stage


“This is a powerful play confronting the consequences of the UK’s lack of social mobility and opportunity.” – Laura Kressly, The Play’s the Thing


“Male mental health and the concept of toxic masculinity has been explored on stage more frequently in recent times, and Jade City, a new piece of writing by Alice Malseed, takes an innovative approach to the subject” – ★★★★ Theatre Weekly


“I loved the dialect and the text projection: Sas and Monty aren’t dead, at least not yet. Props too director Katherine Nesbitt for creating a very visceral play that pulls no punches literally or figuratively; so well written by Alice Malseed, we don’t see what’s coming, lost in the boys’ game until the very last. A terrific two-hander that creates a rich world in which many of us would be crushed; a play that will stay in my thoughts for some time.” – ★★★★ I Thank You Theatre


“Visually, one of the most striking things about Jade City is the ‘boxing ring’ set-up.[…] Perhaps more pertinently, for set designer Timothy Kelly, it symbolizes the boundaries of masculinity established by society, which far from being liberating, keeps Sas and Monty ‘boxed in’ when confronting questions about what does it really mean to be a ‘man’ – ★★★★ Breaking the Fourth Wall


“The pace is ferocious… intensity is never lacking. Staged around a boxing ring, a threat of violence seldom leaves the room. The two performers, Barry Calvert and Brendan Quinn, both throw themselves into the roles and grasp every moment of drama. The competitive dynamics of their relationship, the slow revelation of a tragedy that changed them both, crackles with tension.” – Once A Week Theatre


“Rarely has a production had such a connection to a place; Belfast runs through Jade City like a stick of rock.” – The Spy in the Stalls


“It comes almost as a shock when the dark heart of this play is exposed. The lyricism disappears, which gives the secrets a desperate vividness… in a flash the boys are back playing their games, though something has changed between them. Their masculine posturing now seems awkward and childlike.” – The Reviews Hub


“Quinn and Calvert are superb as the childhood buddies forced to confront the sometimes horrible reality of their lives. And Nesbitt skilfully guides them through a plot that throbs with humanity and the province’s famous dark humour but also pulls no punches about the violent cost of deprivation and toxic masculinity.” – Greenwich Visitor

Photo by Ali Wright