The world premiere
★★★★★ Close-Up Culture
★★★★ The Spy In The Stalls
“We have to make sure we make the right choices. If we do, we're ok and you'll have a career, be someone who is employable and commissionable. Get it wrong and it's 'like' all over.”
Originally seen as a staged reading as part of Vibrant 2017 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights, the world premiere of Checkpoint Chana.
Poet Bev Hemmings is in the eye of a storm after she publishes a poem that the world seems to believe is anti-Semitic. She’s convinced she’s innocent, but everyone else – including her PA, Tamsin – wants her to apologise. A press interview is planned to begin her public rehabilitation, but Bev’s dying father, erratic behaviour and tendency to drink make her public contrition a complex process. Checkpoint Chana examines the point where pro-Palestinian criticism of the government of Israel and anti-Semitism blur.
Playwright Jeff Page is a writer and voluntary sector worker. He is a graduate of the John Burgess playwriting course at the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton. Plays include Attack of the A&E Zombies (Descent Theatre and Irlam Festival Fringe).
Director Manuel Bau is originally from Italy where he graduated in Theatre Directing in Venice and then trained at the London Film Academy and at the Lincoln Center Directors Lab. Direction includes Questions of Terrorism and Repression (Lion and Unicorn Theatre), A Feyre Tale (The Space, Edinburgh Fringe), The Man with The Flower in His Mouth (Christ Church College, Oxford), How Does That Make You Feel? (Lion and Unicorn Theatre), Soft the Moon Rose (Etcetera Theatre) and The White Room (Courtyard Theatre). Direction of short plays includes Girls Just Want to Have Fun-Damental Human Rights, Girl of My Dreams and The Lottery (Theatre503 and Southwark Playhouse). Associate Direction includes Le Grand Mort (Trafalgar Studios), How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Royal Festival Hall) and Allegro (Southwark Playhouse). Manuel was recently language consultant on Do I Hear A Waltz? (Encores at New York City Center) and Director on Attachment on Porgy and Bess (Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park).
Ulrika Krishnamurti | Tamsin
Trained at Guildford School of Acting and Act One Studios in Chicago.
Theatre includes Made in India for which she was nominated for an OffWestEnd Award for Best Female in a Play (Soho Theatre, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, and National Tour) Pink Sari Revolution (The Curve, Leicester, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, and West Yorkshire Playhouse), Sanguine Night (RADA Festival), Commencing (Tristan Bates Theatre) and Twelve (Kali Theatre).
Film includes The Anushree Experiments, London Paris New York and Rockford.
Matt Mella | David
Trained at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
Theatre includes The Merry Wives of Windsor (Theatre N16), The Doctor in Spite of Himself (Drayton Arms Theatre), In the Dead of the Night (Landor Theatre), Grease, Company, Edmond, Hamlet and Antigone (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama).
Film includes Par for the Course.
Voiceover includes The World’s End, Prisoners and Goosebumps.
Geraldine Somerville | Character
Trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Theatre includes Power, Remember This, Blue Remembered Hills (National Theatre), I Am Yours, The Treatment, 3 Birds Alighting on a Field, A Jamaican Airman Foresees His Death (Royal Court Theatre), Yerma (New Vic, Bristol), More Than One Antoinette (The Young Vic), Epsom Downs, Romeo and Juliet (Bristol Old Vic), Lady Audrey’s Secret (Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith), The Glass Menagerie for which she was nominated for the Manchester Evening News Award for Best Actress (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester), Serenading Louise (Donmar Warehouse and National Tour) and A Doll’s House (Birmingham Rep).
Film includes Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Goodbye Christopher Robin, The Hippopotamus, Kids in Love, The Riot Club, Grace of Monaco, Automata, My Week with Marilyn, Sixty Six, Gosford Park, Rough Auntie, Jilting Joe, True Blue, Haunted, A Business Affair, Close My Eyes, Augustine and Bathing Elizabeth.
Television includes Cracker for which she was nominated for a BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress, The Children, Daphne, The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Jericho, Murder in Mind, The Safe House, New Tricks, Silent Witness, Quirke, Inspector George Gently, Survivors, Heaven on Earth, Daylight Robbery, The Aristocrats, Heaven on Earth, After Miss Julie, The Deep Blue Sea, Romeo and Juliet, Poirot, Casualty and The Black Velvet Gown. Forthcoming productions include Netflix and Channel 4’s new drama Kiss Me First.
Nathaniel Wade | Michael
Trained with the National Youth Theatre Rep Company.
Theatre includes Cinderella (Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith), DNA, Pigeon English, Romeo and Juliet (Ambassadors Theatre) and Boys (The Vaults).
“A compelling production intellectually, aesthetically and emotionally.” Joanna Hetherington, The Spy in the Stalls
“A central performance worth the entrance price alone.” David Weir, London Pub Theatres
“A play that treads dangerous ground. Yet it asks important questions.” Jeff Prestridge, Close-Up Culture
“Together with the intense cast and pin-focused direction from Manuel Bau, it's an uncomfortable night of theatre, but certainly one worth seeing.” Esop Evard, Hiive
“A wonderful (daring) play written by the talented Jeff Page.” Jeff Prestridge, Close-Up Culture
“A politically relevant piece.” Faye Butler, Underdog Reviews
“Thoughtful writing, a beautifully detailed set and some powerful performances.” Joanna Hetherington, The Spy in the Stalls
“Beautifully written.” Jeff Prestridge, Close-Up Culture
“Well written, and fantastically acted.” Rob Warren, Everything Theatre
“Some of Page’s best writing, and performances from both Somerville and Mella to match.” Scott Matthewman, The Reviews Hub
“Geraldine Somerville brings out all of Bev’s complexities and contradictions. Her performance is by turns fragile and febrile, arrogant and self-destructive, as spiky and brittle as a sea urchin.” Dave Fargnoli, The Stage
“A sensational Geraldine Somerville.” Jeff Prestridge, Close-Up Culture
“A fine performance by Geraldine Somerville.” William Russell, Twitter
“Somerville is a revelation.” Jeff Prestridge, Close-Up Culture
“Geraldine Somerville’s performance as Bev is superb.” David Weir, London Pub Theatres
“A brilliant performance by Geraldine Somerville.” Joanna Hetherington, The Spy in the Stalls
“Somerville's performance is sincere and captivating.” Faye Butler, Underdog Reviews
“Nathaniel Wade is excellent.” Joanna Hetherington, The Spy in the Stalls
“Nathaniel Wade plays this with an infectious buoyancy.” Esop Evard, Hiive
“Played strongly by Matt Mella.” Esop Evard, Hiive
“Ably supported by Krishnamurti, Mella and Nathaniel Wade.” Jeff Prestridge, Close-Up Culture
“Superbly directed by Manuel Bau and with evocative music bookending the play, Checkpoint Chana is a winner.” Jeff Prestridge, Close-Up Culture
“Finborough Theatre is really not for the light hearted. My last visit was to see a play about genocide. Now it presents us with Checkpoint Chana, a play about anti-Semitism, free speech and racism. One thing is for sure, this place doesn’t play it safe!” Rob Warren, Everything Theatre
“Admirably attempting to grapple with difficult issues.” Scott Matthewman, The Reviews Hub
“Topical subject matter and sharp dialogue.” Edward Lukes, Once a Week Theatre
“Manuel Bau’s strong and captivating production… this is not theatre for the narrow-minded.” Chris Omaweng, London Theatre 1 on Questions of Terrorism and Repression
“Excellently directed by Manuel Bau… had me grinning from start to finish.” Rachel Borland, LondonTheatre1 on How Does That Make You Feel?
Sunday and Monday evenings at 7.30pm.
Tuesday matinees at 2.00pm.
Performance Length: Approximately 1 hour 10 mins with no interval.
Tickets £18, £16 concessions