Summer Season | June - August Season 2013


by Doug Lucie

Tuesday, 11 June – Saturday, 6 July 2013


"We're supposed to be having a party. It's s'posed to be fun. This is my house, and when I say everybody have fun, then everybody have fun."

Commissioned by the Finborough Theatre, Defibrillator presents Doug Lucie’s chillingly funny Hard Feelings. unseen in London for nearly 25 years.

Thatcher's Britain – Brixton, 1981. As tensions mount on the streets, in the safety of their home, a group of Oxford University graduates barely notice what's happening on the streets outside as police and rioters clash, shops are looted and buildings set on fire. In both worlds there is a fight for rights... a fight for respect ...a fight for control. Who will win? Who will lose? Who will make the strongest cocktail? And when the dust finally settles the question remains... Will things ever change?

Hard Feelings was first staged at the Oxford Playhouse in 1982, before transferring to the Bush Theatre in 1983, directed by Mike Bradwell. It was later broadcast as a BBC Play for Today.



Playwright Doug Lucie was born in 1953. His plays include Progress (Lyric Hammersmith and Bush Theatres), Fashion (Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford and London), Doing the Business (Royal Court Theatre), Force and Hypocrisy (The Young Vic), Gaucho (Hampstead Theatre), The Shallow End (Royal Court Theatre) and Pass It On (National Theatre Connections). For television, his work includes Headhunters, Shellshock, A Life of His Own and Funseekers.


Artistic Director of Defibrillator James Hillier returns to the Finborough Theatre where he was nominated for an OffWestEnd Award for his performance in the sell-out Blue Surge. He now directs his first full-length play. He produced The Hotel Plays, directing Green Eyes as part of the trilogy, which was presented late last year at the Grange Hotel in Holborn. For film, Hillier has directed a number of shorts, winning awards at Tribeca Film Festival in New York, Cannes Film Festival and SXSW. He trained at RADA and has worked extensively as an actor in theatre, film and television.


Zora Bishop | Jane

Theatre includes The Complaint (Hampstead Theatre), As You Like It (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester), Pornography (Manchester School of Theatre), Time And The Conways (Manchester School of Theatre), Desire Under The Elms (New Vic Theatre, Staffordshire), As You Like It, What The Butler Saw, King Richard III, The Master And Margarita, Heartbreak House and The Maids (Manchester School of Theatre). Film includes Down Dog and Closed. Television includes Titanic – Case Closed.

Nick Blakeley | Baz

Trained at The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Theatre includes Damned by Despair, 13, A Woman Killed With Kindness (National Theatre), The Sunshine Boys (Savoy Theatre), The 24 Hour Plays (The Old Vic) and Lovesong (Pleasance Edinburgh). Television includes Doctors and The Old Bailey. Radio includes Romeo and Juliet.

Margaret Clunie | Annie

Theatre includes The Best Years Of Your Life (Watford Palace Theatre), For All We Know (Old Red Lion Theatre), My Name Is Caroline Korby (Theatre 503), Jesus II (White Bear Theatre), The Syndicate (Minerva Theatre, Chichester), Attempts On Her Life (Hampstead Theatre) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Blenheim Palace). Film includes Smart TV, 10am Margarita, Ten To Ten, The Sleepover, Johnny English II and Love Like Hers. Television includes Phoneshop, Pramface and Doctors. Radio includes The Adventures Of Tom Jones.

Jesse Fox | Rusty

Trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama. Television includes Midsomer Murders.

Isabella Laughland | Viv

Theatre includes The Last of the Haussmans, Greenland (National Theatre), Wanderlust (Royal Court Theatre) and Of Me (National Youth Theatre). Film includes Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part Two, Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince and Now Is Good. Television includes The Inbetweeners, Black Mirror – Fifteen Million Merits and Richard II.

Callum Turner | Tone

Film includes Alleycats, Cruizer and Human Beings. Television includes Leaving, The Town and The Borgias.


Defibrillator is a London based theatre company looking to bring dynamic, fluid theatre to a versatile contemporary audience. Led by artistic director James Hillier, it aims to bring to life work that has fallen unnoticed or is looking for creative re-invention.

Hard Feelings is Defibrillator's third production following the sell out successes of Tennessee Williams' The Hotel Plays at the Grange Hotel in 2012 and Rebecca Gilman's Blue Surge at the Finborough Theatre in 2011.

Defibrillator Executive Producer, Trish Wadley, presents her first production at the Finborough Theatre after successfully co-producing The Hotel Plays. Trish spent twenty years working internationally in Media before moving to theatre and has worked as Development Director of the Bush Theatre and Development Consultant to the Tricycle Theatre.

About the co-producers

Defibrillator is committed to working with young practitioners looking to hone their skills and gain experience at the highest levels of UK theatre.

Robert F Bradish, Co-Producer, has worked in the theatre for six years and produced a number shows in Ireland and international tours. Recently, he joined Orchestra Vitae as their Development Director. He has an MA in Creative Producing from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

Matt Rossi, Co-Producer, has staged his own productions of Martin Crimp’s The Country (2012) and the originally devised Restoration of Girl With Curls (2011). Matt has completed an internship with producing company Fuel Theatre and is now working in development at the Donmar. He has an MA in Creative Producing from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

The Press on Defibrillator's previous productions

For the site-specific production of The Hotel Plays

 “Defibrillator, a deeply impressive new theatre company.” Time Out on The Hotel Plays.

“The most tremendous fun, cramming into a hotel room, sitting within inches of the actors, knowing that you could break at any moment the tremulous illusion that they are creating.” The Telegraph on The Hotel Plays.

“This evening of morbidly powerful vignettes is captivating theatre - incredibly intimate and excruciatingly voyeuristic.” The London Magazine on The Hotel Plays.

“London-based theatre company Defibrillator’s second production takes us thrillingly close to some pretty dark scenes.” WhatsOnStage on The Hotel Plays.

“Defibrillator, pays tribute to Tennessee Williams’ affinity for the hotel room drama, by taking over three suites across three floors of the Grange Holborn Hotel… It’s a fantastic idea and wonderfully executed.” Harpers Bazaar on The Hotel Plays.

“It is a master stroke to play these pieces in a hotel setting. Not only because of the reality and intimacy that context lends to story, but also because it magnifies the universal nature of the narratives.” A Younger Theatre on The Hotel Plays.

And for Blue Surge at the Finborough Theatre

Time Out Critics' Choice
**** Four Stars, Time Out
**** Four Stars, The Times
**** Four Stars, The Guardian
**** Four Stars, London Theatre Reviews
**** Four Stars, The Public Reviews
**** Four Stars, Evening Standard
**** Four Stars, WhatsOnStage

“Intense and moving portrait of class divisions… powerfully served here by its cast of five and by Ché Walker’s direction.” The Times on Blue Surge.

“Ché Walker's production hits exactly the right note of pained intimacy” The Guardian on Blue Surge. 

“This is a cleverly structured play with excellent characterisation and its beautifully performed. What more can you ask for? The Finborough on fine form again.” Gareth James on Blue Surge.

“At a time when the American dream is starting to look more doubtful than ever, the UK premiere of Rebecca Gilman’s play about social immobility and frustration in the US Midwest is particularly apt.” The Stage on Blue Surge.

“It is so colourfully performed by the entire cast creating people that are real. The direction is fluid and beautifully paced while the lights are carefully blended into the scenes… It is the Finborough at its best…..smooth and polished.” Blanche Marvin, London Theatreviews on Blue Surge.

“Seriously entertaining.” Spoonfed on Blue Surge.


"What makes this a good play is its beady-eyed picture of a Britain where privilege – in the form of wealth, education or physical beauty – holds sway and where the advantaged maintain a glazed indifference to the world outside." Michael Billington, THE GUARDIAN

"The Finborough Theatre is very much on trend with its latest production: Hard Feelings by Doug Lucie taps into current interest in the 1980s, the latest decade to receive a revival. First performed in 1982, set the year before, and not seen in London for nearly twenty-five years, dates are to the fore as we inevitably question recent history, drawing parallels and noting differences." Edward Lukes, The London Magazine

"This timely revival of Doug Lucie’s hard-hitting observation of empty privilege set against a backdrop of the Brixton riots in April 1981 is manned by a terribly attractive cast, all surly pouts and excellent bone structure." Vanessa Bunn, Extra! Extra!

"We're in a house-share in Brixton inhabited by middle-class university graduates in their mid-twenties who haven't yet made the leap into adulthood, drifting along on daddy's money or temp jobs while playing at life – all while their black neighbours are battling the police in the streets outside." Gerald Berkovitz,  Theatre Guide London

"Doug Lucie's 1982 play sees a group of largely ‘trustafarian' Oxford graduates waging a narcissistic class war in a gentrified Brixton house as riots erupt outside. Sound familiar?" Theo Bosanquet, What's On Stage

"It was inevitable that there would be an influx of Thatcherite theatre all around London.Defibrillator’s new production of Doug Lucie’s Hard Feelings is not the first nor will it be the last, however what makes this one stand out is the fact that it was written in the heart of Thatcher’s rule." Dan Phillips, Bargain Theatreland

"A handful of nasty twentysomethings inhabit Hard Feelings, Doug Lucie's 1982 drama at the Finborough, where the fare is rarely less than extremely good. No exception this time." Daniel Harrison, A Younger Theatre

"It's hard to believe that it is 30 years since Doug Lucie's scathing portrait of a self-absorbed, style-conscious generation first appeared. I've never forgotten Mike Bradwell's original production at the Bush. What's striking about James Hillier's revival is how little – aside from the obvious advent of mobile phones and social media – seems to have changed." Michael Billington, The Guardian

"The compelling story of narcissism, bullying and bed-hopping" Hannah Wilkinson, Kensington and Chelsea Today

"Another worthwhile rediscovery in the Finborough's fast-growing list. And it's a telling reminder of just how much recent history is currently repeating itself." Theo Bosanquet, What's On Stage

"This is an angry account of a stratified Britain, in which the sons and daughters of the well-off enjoy a head start in life. Is anything that different today?" Michael Billington, The Guardian

"You could be forgiven for thinking we’re living through a mass flashback to the ’80s: we have a Tory Prime Minister; riots; protests; economic misery and leggings are back in. It’s understandable, then, why the Finborough Theatre has commissioned this revival of Doug Lucie’s 1982 play." Daisy Bowie-Sell, Time Out

"Directed by James Hillier, this revival production has a lot of things to say, all of which are worryingly relevant today. In a world where the classes are once again becoming more divided and the desperation for fame and the need to rebel are growing, Hard Feelings is certainly worth a look in, if not only for a night of genuine entertainment but also for a glance in society’s mirror." Dan Phillips, Bargain Theatreland

"Hard Feelings was first performed in 1982, more than meriting its transfer to the Bush Theatre a year later. What makes this so striking is that Doug Lucie’s play still feels so relevant, topical, contemporary, insightful and exciting." Daniel Harrison, A Younger Theatre

"A round production with a wonderful young cast." Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre Network

"Here is a riveting, thought-provoking and somehow hilarious insight, at one of the most consistently exiting venues in London." Vanessa Bunn, Extra! Extra!

"Our Verdict: Once again the Finborough produces great work, with a young cast we should watch out for, and a play almost as relevant today as twenty years ago." Everything Theatre

"Doug Lucie's signature spikiness remains intact, and then some, in the Defibrillator production of Hard Feelings, which is sure to pack out west London's tiny Finborough and might well be a candidate for a transfer." Matt Wolf, The Arts Desk "They play at being rock stars or models or revolutionaries or capitalists; they play at being alcoholics and druggies; they play at being self-righteous or racist or neurotic." Gerald Berkovitz, Theatre Guide London

"There are some sharp observations on the political naivety of the young." Theo Bosanquet, What's On Stage "Their dialogue is sharply and wittily observed." Daisy Bowie-Sell, Time Out

"A high quality, compelling piece of theatre performed by a very young cast." Andrew Tomlins, West End Frame "Lucie’s writing is sharp and brutal. He displays a knack of knowing when to zip dialogue along (expertly done during the house party scene), and when to pause, allowing his creations to wallow in their self-inflicted filth." Daniel Harrison, A Younger Theatre

"Written in bile and populated by characters full of bile, Doug Lucie's 1982 play is driven by anger – anger of the playwright at his characters and their anger at each other and themselves." Gerald Berkovitz,  Theatre Guide London

"The sextet of talented young actors in James Hillier’s punchy production inhabit their unlovable characters with humour and dash." Heather Neill, The Stage

"The cast are a real treat." Nik Way, One Stop Arts

"It’s the performance and the role of Viv that gets Hard Feelings a whole-hearted recommendation. Lucie has written a fascinating character with a satisfying depth that the talented Isabella Laughland really contributes to." Edward Lukes, The London Magazine

“It also coaxes vividly particularised performances from Isabella Laughland as the self-loathing Viv, Zora Bishop as the oppositional Jane, Margaret Clunie as the self-consciously stylish artist and Jesse Fox as the parasitic pop-merchant." Michael Billington, The Guardian

"Isabella Laughland is frankly terrifying." Theo Bosanquet, What's On Stage

"Laughland is magnetic, as she becomes a landlady not for turning." Edward Lukes, The London Magazine

"Isabella Laughland leads the company with a strong performance as Viv." Dan Phillips, Bargain Theatreland

"A stand out performance comes from Isabella Laughland as Viv." Andrew Tomlins, West End Frame

"Expertly portrayed by Isabella Laughland" Nichola Daunton, The Upcoming

"Zora Bishop infuses Jane with just the right level of indignant righteousness."Theo Bosanquet, What's On Stage

"Particularly strong performances come from Viv´s weak, pathetic co-conspirators." Hannah Wilkinson, Kensington and Chelsea Today

"Nick Blakeley is very good as the well meaning but weak Baz." Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre Network

"Solid performances all around are led by Isabella Laughland as the spoiled and vindictive owner, Zora Bishop as her innocent and somewhat dignified victim and Nick Blakeley as the guy just trying to get by without actually being noticed." Gerald Berkovitz,  Theatre Guide London

"This young, fresh-faced cast all do excellent jobs and should be followed carefully – I suspect we’ll see a lot more of some of them. It’s hard in such an ensemble piece to pick anyone out, but Zora Bishop as Jane and Isabella Laughland as Viv beautifully show the transition from happy friendship to anger, hatred and mistrust in a way that was both infuriating (are you getting the impression of how much I disliked Viv?!) and moving." Everything Theatre

"Each of these young performers on stage is totally compelling, revealing the hard-nosed and sharp-elbowed mentality that most definitely makes them Thatcher’s children, yet also allowing the mask to slip occasionally to reveal their true vulnerability. Jesse Fox in particular is perfect as dandified Rusty, and Callum Turner provides a gritty performance as Tone. Honourable mention to the remaining cast as well; Zora Bishop, Nick Blakeley, Margaret Clunie and Isabella Laughland. Remember these names." Daniel Harrison, A Younger Theatre

"Quick, funny and entertaining... Hillier´s cast are a joy to hate." Hannah Wilkinson, Kensington and Chelsea Today

"Director James Hillier ensures that this production not only says a lot about the stratified system in place within Thatcher’s supposedly ‘classless’ Britain, but also sounds a warning to the continued trend of gentrification of South London. Walk through Brixton today and you will find these characters coexisting with naivety amongst those who still vividly remember the Brixton riots. The Finborough has housed a play that is still so relevant to our times." Daniel Harrison, A Younger Theatre

"James Hillier's new production is human, lively and not to be missed." Nik Way, One Stop Arts

"James Hillier gets first class performances from his cast." Lizzie Loveridge, Curtain Up

"Under James Hillier's direction, the six cast members, working in a small space with patrons practically underfoot, do a bang-up job of impersonating a self-involved generation whose kind hasn't necessarily disappeared with the 20th century." Daniel Harrison, A Younger Theatre

"Hillier's production not only gets the details right, from the Rod Stewart record nestling among the LPs to the cut of the clothes.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

"Stephanie Williams´ brilliant production design" Hannah Wilkinson, Kensington and Chelsea Today

"Defibrillator’s production is enjoyably snappy, with an excellent ensemble cast who create a convincing dynamic and Stephanie Williams’s gloriously ’80s design and costumes are great in a cringe-making, ‘Oh my god, did people actually wear that’ sort of way." Daisy Bowie-Sell, Time Out

"The Finborough Theatre has been completely transformed and was almost unrecognisable, I loved Stephanie Williams' detailed set design which brings Viv's flat to life." Andrew Tomlins, West End Frame

"Stephanie Williams’ beautifully detailed, messy traverse set takes us right into the kitchen-cum-living room of the graduate house share from hell. Friends this isn’t." Heather Neill, The Stage


“Beautifully and sparely directed by James Hillier, the piece is lonely, sad and devastating.” A Younger Theatre on Green Eyes.

“Green Eyes, beautifully directed by James Hillier.” The Telegraph on Green Eyes.

“Packed as neatly as a travel-bag… directed and performed with considerable skill” Time Out on The Hotel Plays.

“Defibrillator’s artistic director James Hillier who directs here has his eye on everything from the sound of the Girl’s feet uncertainly swooshing across the carpet, to the Boy’s primal mannerisms and interest in her semi-exposed body.” WhatsOnStage on Green Eyes.

“Director James Hillier creates a real sense of menace” Spoonfed on Green Eyes.


“An acerbic study of sycophancy, spinelessness and cruelty.” John Barber, Daily Telegraph

“A most enjoyable hard-hitting piece of work.” Michael Coveney, Financial Times

“Doug Lucie’s Hard Feelings billed as “a viciously funny play set in Brixton in 1981,” and that seems no violation of a theatrical Trades’ Descriptions Act, though it doesn’t tell you the whole story. What Lucie has done here… exactly half a century on from Noel Coward, is to come up with a modern Design for Living in which six characters are used to hold a mirror up to the nation and the times that bred them.” Sheridan Morley, International Herald Tribune.

“His eye is at its sharpest in exposing what is least admirable in the confusions and indecisions of youth.” John Barber, Daily Telegraph

“It’s a play about greed and selfishness and insecurity and racial intolerance, made all the more powerful by its refusal to allow a Brixton brick in through the window.” Sheridan Morley, International Herald Tribune.

“Lucie’s only weapon is that of language, and he uses it with the economy, confidence and wit of a dramatist of twice his age and experience.” Sheridan Morley, International Herald Tribune.

“Lucie is a writer to watch for, and Hard Feelings is a play to see now.” Sheridan Morley, International Herald Tribune.


Tuesday, 11 June – Saturday, 6 July 2013

Tuesday to Saturday Evenings at 7.30pm.
Sunday Matinees at 3.00pm.
Saturday Matinees 3.00pm (from second week of the run).

Performance Length: to be confirmed.

11 June – 23 June 2013

Tickets £14, £10 concessions

except Tuesday Evenings £10 all seats, and Saturday evenings £14 all seats.

Previews (11 and 12 June) £9 all seats.

£6 tickets for Under 30’s for performances from Tuesday to Sunday of the first week when booked online only.

£10 tickets for residents of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea on first Saturday of the run when booked online only.

25 June – 6 July 2013

Tickets £16, £12 concessions

except Tuesday Evenings £12 all seats, and Saturday evenings £16 all seats. 

For details of our Returns Policy for sold out performances, please click here


Directed by James Hillier

Designed by Stephanie Williams

Lighting by Will Evans

Assistant Lighting Designer Amy Mae

Sound by Tom Meehan

Casting by Ava Morgan

Presented by Defibrillator in association Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre

Executive Producer Trish Wadley

Produced by Robert F Bradish and Matt Rossi