Bindweed - New Wolsey Theatre


Performed from Fri 28 — Sat 29 Jun

Mercury Theatre Colchester

Mercury Theatre Colchester

Mercury Theatre Colchester

Mercury Theatre Colchester

The artwork for 'Bindweed' by Martha Loader. 7 red chairs are arranged in a circle in a room in what appears to be an abandoned building. The room is covered in weeds, with it coming in through the floor and from the window that is behind the chairs. Across the bottom of the image is white text that reads 'Bindweed - written by Martha Loader.'

An award-winning shattering and darkly funny new play.

Trigger warning: This show contains swearing, violence, misogynistic conversation, reference to coercive control, rape and sexual assault, reference to murder and suicide, and references to children obtaining and sharing pornography.

“Thursdays, curry night. Curry and a pint for a fiver. Go at five thirty, home by ten. Beat my mum up for a while. Bed by ten thirty.”

Each week, four men convicted of domestic abuse offences meet in a community centre to undergo a perpetrator programme. Jen, the new group facilitator, feels out of her depth. But as she starts to make progress with the men inside the room, life outside begins to buckle.

A shattering and darkly funny new play about responsibility and rehabilitation, Bindweed looks at what can be done to tackle the endemic of abuse at its root.

Written by Martha Loader, Bindweed was first written as part of the Mercury Playwrights scheme and won the Judges’ Award at the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting 2022.

A Colchester Mercury Original co-produced with HighTide & New Wolsey Theatre in association with The Royal Exchange Theatre as a winner of the judge’s award at the 2022 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting.

Content Advice: This show is recommended to those aged 18+, those aged between 16-18 may attend but will need to be accompanied by an adult. This performance contains swearing, violence, misogynistic conversation, reference to coercive control, rape and sexual assault, reference to murder and suicide, and references to children obtaining and sharing pornography.

Production photography credit: Will Green Photography

Enjoy a 15% DISCOUNT in our Café & Bar by going car-free to the theatre! Simply present your show ticket to a member of the Café & Bar team along with a valid train or bus ticket, pass, or a photo of your bike. For more details, visit our Good Journey page here:

Cast & Creatives

Josie Brightwell — Nina, Siobhan, Belinda

A headshot of actor Josie Brightwell.

Josie trained at The Central School of Speech and Drama graduating with a 1st Class BA (Hons) Acting degree.

Credits include: Judy Porter in ‘Call The Midwife’ (BBC); Alison in ‘Mum’s The Word' (UK Tour); Spa assistant in ‘Michael McIntyre’s Big Show’ (BBC); Factory Girl in 'Les Misérables’; Eulampia Petrovna in ‘Black Snow’ (Moscow Art Theatre); ‘The Emperor of the moon’ workshop (NT Studio); ‘Made in Dagenham 25th Anniversary Concert’ (The Palladium); Peggy in ‘The War of the Worlds’; Baba Yaga in ‘Hansel and Gretel’; Flora in Tennessee Williams’ ‘27 wagons full of cotton’.

Simon Darwen — Mike, Ed

Theatre credits include: 'Of Mice and Men' (Birmingham Rep/Leeds Playhouse); 'Beginning,' 'The Invincibles,' 'A Different Class' (Queens Theatre Hornchurch); 'Sirens' (Mercury Theatre); 'After Birth' (North Wall); 'Missing People' (Leeds Playhouse/National Theatre Tokyo); 'Skellig' (Nottingham Playhouse); 'Much Ado About Nothing' (Jamie Hendry Productions/NESC/International Tour); 'The Here and This and Now' (Plymouth Drum/Southwark Playhouse); 'The Pitmen Painters' (New Vic); 'Our Country's Good' (Out of Joint); 'Lizzie Siddal' (Arcola); 'The Armour/Hotel Plays' (Defibrilator); 'Flare Path' (National Tour); 'Catch 22' (Northern Stage); 'Virgin' (Watford Palace); 'King Lear' (Theatre Royal Bath); 'Mad About The Boy' (Young Vic/Bush Theatre); 'SourLips' (Oval House); 'The Fifth Column,' 'The Taming of the Shrew,' 'What the Women Did' (Southwark Playhouse); 'Love Love Love' (Original Cast) (Paines Plough); 'Unrestless' (Old Vic Tunnels); 'Accolade' (Original Revival Cast) (Finborough Theatre); 'Ramshackle Heart' (Public Theatre New York); 'Arse, Shove' (Theatre 503); 'Mad Forest,' 'The Wonder' (BAC); 'The Merchant of Venice,' 'The Tragedy of Thomas Hobbes,' 'The Taming of the Shrew,' 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream' (RSC); 'Fanny & Faggot' (Trafalgar Studios); 'Nikolina,' 'Bedtime for Bastards' (nabokov).

Television credits include: 'Top Boy,' 'Years and Years,' 'Britannia,' 'Call the Midwife,' 'Silent Witness,' 'The Bletchley Circle,' 'The Bill.'

Film credit: 'The Great Escaper' (released 2023).

Simon has also recorded numerous audiobooks and radio plays

Shailan Gohil — Peter, Charlie

Theatre Includes: 'Love’s Labour’s Lost' (RSC); 'Mother Goose' (UK Tour); 'Jack Absolute Flies Again' (Royal National Theatre); 'Sunset Boulevard' (Royal Albert Hall); 'South Pacific' (Chichester Festival Theatre); 'Mamma Mia! London' (Novello Theatre); 'Dick Whittington' (Qdos Entertainment).

Trained at: Bird College of Dance, Music & Theatre Performance.

Laura Hanna — Jen

Laura Hanna (she/her) trained at LAMDA and most recently performed in 'The Comedy of Errors' (Shakespeare’s Globe, 2023.)

Other theatre credits include: 'Hakawatis: Women of the Arabian Nights' (Sam Wanamaker Theatre/Shakespeare's Globe); 'Once Upon a Time in Nazi Occupied Tunisia' (Almeida);  'Living Newspaper Edition 5' (Royal Court Theatre); 'Signal Fires' (Fuel Theatre); 'Karaokay' (Bunker Theatre); 'A History Of Water In The Middle East' (Royal Court Theatre); 'The Sweethearts' (The Finborough Theatre/Raising Dark); 'A Bright Room Called Day' (Southwark Playhouse); 'Lean' (Strip Theatre/Tristan Bates Theatre); 'Beasts And Beauties' (The Hampstead Theatre).

Television credits include 'Heartstopper' (Netflix) and 'Casualty' (BBC).

Sean Kingsley — Brian, Alistair

West End: Jean Valjean Les Miserables (Queens/Palace Theatres), George The Drowsy Chaperone (Novello), Braithwaite Billy Elliot (Victoria Palace), Tom Jenkins Scrooge (Dominion), Admetus and Munkustrap Cats (New London), Me and My Girl (Adelphi).

Other theatre includes: Ursus The Grinning Man (Trafalgar Studios/Bristol Old Vic); Oxy and the Morons (New Wolsey); Annas Jesus Christ Superstar (Regent’s Park); Gyp Decarlo Jersey Boys (UK tour); Max  Jackie the Musical (Dundee Gardyne); Khashoggi We Will Rock You (10th anniversary world tour); Judas Jesus Christ Superstar (Minack); Eddie/Dr Scott The Rocky Horror Show (European Tour); Frederick Trumper Chess, 20th Anniversary Concert (Oslo); Bill Austin Mama Mia (International Tour); The Man in Some Girls are Bigger than Others (Lyric Hammersmith, National Tour, Dublin); Mike Hot Pants (Oldham Coliseum); Cyrano de Bergerac Cold Moon Rising (Jermyn Street); Tom Jenkins Scrooge (National/European Tours); Mike Costa A Chorus Line (Derby Playhouse); Slap Hot Shoe Shuffle (National Tour); Gabey On the Town (National Tour); Joe Matchgirls (Bromley); A Month in the Country, The Rivals and Toad of Toad Hall (Liverpool Playhouse); Fiddler on the Roof (Liverpool Empire). Workshop From Here To Eternity.

Actor/Musician: Merlin in Sword In The Stone; Sarah the Cook Dick Whittington; Fleshcreep Jack & The Beanstalk, King Camelot Sleeping Beauty (Ipswich New Wolsey Rock Panto); Orin Little Shop Of Horrors (Birmingham Rep).

Film/TV: Alan London Road (Cuba Pictures), PC Harrison Poirot (LWT), Stuart Ambrose Wire in the Blood (Coastal); Colin Piper Merseybeat, (BBC); Gary Stephens The Bill, (Talkback).

Moray Treadwell — Frank

Theatre includes - internationally: 'The Beatles LOVE show' (Cirque Du Soleil/Apple, Las Vegas); 'The Ruling Class' (English Theatre Frankfurt); 'The Importance of Being Earnest and Corpse' (Vienna’s English Theatre); 'Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead' (Moving Theatre/National Theatre of Macedonia); 'Waiting for Godot' (Italian tour. Il Palchetto/Good luck Prods).

In the UK: 'The Railway Children' (Theatre Tracks, Kings Cross London/York Theatre Royal); 'Macbeth' (Colchester Mercury); 'Romeo and Juliet' (Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds); 'Twelfth Night' (Contexture Theatre); 'Wait Until Dark,' 'The Little Foxes' (Perth Rep); 'Amadeus,' 'Cause Celebre,' 'Absurd Person Singular,' 'Charley’s Aunt,' 'Wuthering Heights,' 'Man and Superman' (Pitlochry Festival Theatre); 'The Caretaker,' 'The Last Yellow' (Nuffield Theatre, Southampton).

National tours of: 'Some Mother’s Do ‘Ave ‘Em' (Limelight); 'No Man's Land and Hysteria' (London Classic Theatre); 'Arsenic and Old Lace' (Kenny Wax); 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' (Michael Rose).

Television includes: 'The Witcher – Blood Origin' (Netflix); 'Eastenders,' 'Manchild,' 'My Family,' 'Murder Most Horrid,' 'Beck' (BBC and associates); 'Whose Baby?' (Channel 4); 'Downton Abbey' (Carnival); 'Planespotting' (Granada); 'Wuthering Heights' (LWT).

Film: 'Don’t Move' (Hammerstone, Capstone, Raimi Productions, Netflix); 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest' (Bruckheimer/Disney); 'Round Ireland with a Fridge' (Tony Hawks, Ed Bye); 'People We Hate at the Wedding' (Amazon.)

Reviews of Bindweed

What the press say

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - 'A perfect script meets a perfect cast... Loader has written a modern-day classic.'

British Theatre

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - 'More than enough material, insight, and humour to merit a bestseller.'

Colchester Gazette

⭐⭐⭐⭐ - 'Intense and brooding.'

The Stage

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