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Cuddles - Ovalhouse Theatre


Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

CUDDLES, a vampire tale that confronts the effects of consumerism on a young society by award-winning new playwright Joseph Wilde, receives its world premiere at the Ovalhouse Theatre, where it runs from May 14 to June 1, 2013.

Described as an edgy and funny exploration of a co-dependent relationship between sisters Tabby and Eve, Cuddles takes a damning look at how society teaches that what we consume dictates our identity, and considers the ways in which our parenting choices directly shape the world of tomorrow.

Teenage vampire Eve has never known what sunlight is. Everything the 13-year-old knows about the world is derived from what her sister Tabby has told her. She has never left her darkened room and has just one living, breathing human to cuddle. She lives in a world crammed with story book characters.

In Eve’s world Harry Potter, Bilbo Baggins and the cast of Dante’s Inferno are real; where princes with adjectives instead of names seduce beautiful princesses against the odds. Eve does everything a good little vampire girl should, including drinking her (human) sister’s blood. But one day, Tabby tires of opening her veins and, in a breath, Eve’s whole world changes.

Conceived in the wake of the London riots, Cuddles comes from the creative team that presented The Sluts of Sutton Drive.

Director Rebecca Atkinson Lord says: “Cuddles is a clever exploration of the power of capitalism to shape our children and their values, and of how the stories we tell ourselves shape the reality of our existence.

“It’s a brutally funny and bleakly honest world view from a young playwright who is part of the lost generation of young people that we’re more used to seeing smashing the windows of Footlocker on the nightly TV news than engaging in active political debate.

“It’s a rich and complex play that is unashamed of its intelligence: a political play that asks the question: “What next for our children?”

The cast comprises Carla Langley (as Eve) and Rendah Heywood (Tabby).

Carla Langley recently made her professional debut as Orlaith in the world-premiere of Desolate Heaven at Theatre 503. Her other theatre credits include As You Like It (Sam Wanamaker Festival, Shakespeare’s Globe 2012) and The Three Lives of Lucie Cabrol (2011 Edinburgh Fringe Festival). After Cuddles she joins the company of Liola at The National Theatre, directed by Richard Eyre.

Rendah Heywood’s work at the National Theatre includes Hettie in The Kitchen directed by Bijan Sheibani, Belle/Ensemble in Rocket to the Moon (2011) directed by Angus Jackson, Tsvetaeva in Philistines (2007) directed by Howard Davies, Girl in The Rose Tattoo (2007) directed by Steven Pimlott/Nicholas Hytner, and Ensemble in Therese Raquin (2006) directed by Marianne Elliott. Elsewhere, her credits include Above and Beyond (Corinthia, 2013) and You Once Said Yes (Roundhouse, 2013) for Look Left Look Right; 22nd July Project (2010) at The Ovalhouse Theatre and Attempts on Her Life at BAC (2004).

On screen, she has appeared in The Bill, Holby City, EastEnders, Kill Keith and The Journey Home.

Presented by Ovalhouse and Arch 468 and produced by Lucy Jackson, Cuddles is designed by James Turner and has lighting by Pablo Baz. Assistant director is Celeste Dring.

Tickets: £14, £10 (under 26), £8 (concessions), £7 (preview – May 14) – available from the box office on 020 7582 7680 or online at

Time: Tuesday to Saturday at 8pm.

Running Time: Approximately 80 minutes (no interval).