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Henna Night - New Diorama Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

AN EARLY work from the canon of acclaimed playwright Amy Rosenthal, Henna Night runs at the New Diorama Theatre from Tuesday, June 10 to Saturday, June 28, 2014.

I went to Boots today and I bought a packet of henna and some razor blades. I thought, ‘OK, I’m going to go home, drink a bottle of wine, and then depending how I feel tomorrow morning, I’ll either slash my wrists of dye my hair. Either way, I’ll ruin my bathroom carpet’.

Spurned, alone and lacking other options, Judith leaves a desperate message on her ex-boyfriend, Jack’s answerphone informing him that she has bought a packet of henna and some razorblades but has not yet decided whether to dye her hair or cut her wrists, and that she might be pregnant.

Her message is not answered by Jack, but by Ros – the very woman he left her for.

What follows is an evening of intense emotion and subtle humour, exploring the fine balance of mutual understanding, empathy and jealousy that governs human relationships, and the fine divide between friendship and animosity.

Henna Night is revived by legendary director, founder of Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre and Head of Theatre Directing at the prestigious Mountview Academy, Peter James, who said of the production:

“I keep a list of plays big and small that I would like to do when the opportunity arises; Henna Night had been on his list since it was written in the late 90s. When I first saw it I remarked in my notes that this production is a marvellous chance for two good girls to have a great time with an audience.

“When it was decided that Diorama Arts was to do its first production, the play’s time came. It is small, it is witty, it is wise and it is honest to its core. I have no doubt that it will be a huge success for this new production company.”

The production will star two of Peter James’ most distinguished alumni, Hatty Preston as Judith and Nicola Daley as Ros.

First performed in 1999, Henna Night was Amy Rosenthal’s second play and was that year declared winner of the Sunday Times Drama Award. The daughter of celebrated theatre and television writer Jack Rosenthal and renowned British actress Maureen Lipman, Rosenthal has written seven further plays for stage and radio to critical acclaim.

The show’s run will include three Benefit Nights, the first of which takes place on June 13 for London Drama, the professional association for drama teachers and other such invaluable members of the theatre community.

This will be followed on June 20 by a performance in support of West Euston Partnership, which drives community development and improvement of local services.

Finally, on June 26, the production will raise funds for St Michellins Children’s Village in Harare, which provides a home for seventy seven orphaned or homeless children and depends entirely on donations to survive.

Tickets: £12.50, £10 concessions – available from the box office on 0207 383 9034 or online at

Time: 7:30pm (no shows Sundays or Mondays).