Audience Reviews

What have audiences said about Don’t Wake Me: The Ballad Of Nihal Armstrong?

“Writing a play in verse is a tough call – that fracture-line between form and fluency; but the author found a six-, sometimes seven-beat line  where the rhymes didn’t push speech towards doggerel, which is so often the trap, but were laid off by the extra syllable: ‘turned the corner’ [as it were]. I knew it was working because I was caught up in the narrative and wasn’t listening for the rhyme.

Aside from that, it’s a very moving piece and I thought Jaye Griffiths did a great job: not least in giving the lines some air and finding the stresses and line-breaks that the verse was asking for. Guy’s direction was pin-perfect — he used a light touch to terrific effect.”
David Harsent, winner of the T S Eliot prize for poetry, 2015



“What an extraordinary piece of work… brave, complex and funny as well as incredibly moving.” Roy Williams, playwright

Spellbinding, heartening… a unique theatrical experience.'”Prunella Scales/Timothy West

“A truly remarkable evening… Jaye Griffiths radiates talent and feeling… The direction was both meticulous and unobtrusive… full of good writing…” Michael Pennington, actor, writer, director

“Excellent… moving and inspiring. I was completely gripped… it touched me deeply.” Wendy Savage, Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians

 “I was in tears … I thought the acting was incredible. It should be compulsory viewing  for medical students, nurses, carers and teachers …. a memorable evening.” Dr Mary Crone

“A wonderful piece of theatre … Brave, moving but also warm, witty and gritty… Brilliantly performed and staged…” Jenny Buckman, Director, teacher, writer, formerly Head of Acting, RADA

“An amazing piece of writing and superb acting.” Julie Bindel,Guardian journalist

“I was completely swept up in the story … The ballad form works well.” Dame Julie Mellor, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Really beautifully written… incredibly moving…” Heather Harvey, Research and Development Manager, POPPY Project

“What a wonderful evening … funny and moving at the same time… Beautifully acted by Jaye Griffiths…”Helen Ryan, Actress

Amazing… very, very powerful and moving, the writing / acting / directing top notch. I was so gripped by the evening and so was everyone else I have spoken to.” Pragna Patel, Southall Black Sisters

“Brilliant, courageous writing, brilliantly acted and directed.”Julia Bard, Writer and director

“An intimate, unique and moving play / ballad. It made me both laugh and cry… Brilliantly performed.” Dr Afshan Malik, Lecturer in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, King’s College

“Congratulations on the most brilliant play….  In the disability movement we ignore and suppress the pain. You made us feel it and I think it is so important.Malini Chib , Hon Secretary, ADAPT, formerly The Spastics Society of India

“Beautifully written, informative, passionate, humorous… Terrific structure… So well served by Jaye Griffiths and Guy Slater…” Anthony Clark, Artistic Director, Hampstead Theatre, 2003-2010

“So moving and memorable – this production stayed for ages in my thoughts.” Jackie Rowley, TV journalist, former Communications Director, Liberal-Democrats

“A remarkable depiction of human grief, resourcefulness, courage, and determination.  Jaye Griffiths gives an extraordinarily moving performance.   Guy Slater’s direction, using the simplest tools – a cot, an empty wheel chair – brings the absent child to life.” James Cox, BBC journalist, former presenter, “The World This Weekend

“The writing was beautiful, the acting awe-inspiring, the whole experience incredibly moving. My faith in theatre has been restored!” Henry Van Belle

“The play was amazingly powerful – it stayed with me for a long time afterwards” Susan Humphry, C.E.O of I.A.P.A

“This is the most Epic love story I have seen for a long time. If you want your theatre, to challenge you, move you  and make you look at your own lives and loves with renewed vigour then drop everything and see this play now! “ Gurinder Chadha OBE, Film Director

.. . absolutely stunning… at once lyrical and understated, poetic and colloquial… It was Lear like and brought home the raw tragedy and eternal heart break of a mother who loses her child…” Tanika Gupta, playwright

“It really is a beautiful piece of writing and Jaye Griffiths is absolutely stunning I totally believed that Nihal was there in the room. I loved the simplicity of the staging and the direction is faultless.  And it is such an education too – how the system works, or doesn’t – a real eye opener for me – & made me angry as well. An absolute triumph. “  Mary Lauder, Theatre Manager

“I can’t tell you how affected I was by that testimony.” Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

“Jaye Griffiths is irreplaceable in this unforgettable story.” Chickenshed audience member

“I defy anyone to go to this play and not have tears in their eyes at least once. The scrupulous honesty with which Rahila Gupta explores the pains and pleasures of bringing up, and losing, a disabled son is both heartbreaking and disturbing. Anyone who has experienced loss will recognise the rhetorical questions we ask ourselves and the hole that is left when a life is cut short.” Chickenshed audience member

“This is such a moving piece of theatre, brilliantly written and executed. It tells a riveting story through verse which is powerful and accessible. Both my 14 year old son and I hung on every word,finding the story captivating and extremely emotional. Jaye Griffiths’ performance brings out the sadness,humour,and appalling injustice of this story.” Chickenshed audience member

“If life is about meaning, purpose and fulfillment then it must apply to everyone’s life, disabled or not. Mothers are often the warriors fighting for their children’s lives to transcend whatever limitations and difficulties they may have been born into. So it is with the mother-son relationship in this play. A wonderfully emotional and dramatic play that takes us into the heart of their lives. Make sure to take tissues because you’ll definitely need them.” Chickenshed audience member

“Moving. Very emotional. Beautifully performed.” Chickenshed audience member

“A stunning performance of a courageous and very original play.” Chickenshed audience member

“Thought-provoking.” Chickenshed audience member

“I didn’t think a seventy minute monologue would be the most moving theatrical performance I have seen in my adult life, but it was. Friends who saw the publicity thought it might be depressing, but it was actually uplifting. This was not because it had a happy ending, but because it was so full of compassion and the warmth of human relationships against the odds. Go – you will not be sorry you went.” Tom Wakeford

“A beautifully written and superbly acted play. The poetry and poignancy of Rahila Gupta’s text positively sings and Jaye Griffiths’ performance transforms that text into a sustained and brilliant roller coaster of emotion. One of the most moving theatrical experiences I have witnessed for many a year. I really cannot recommend it more highly.” Peter Jeffries

“Extremely moving and inspiring play giving an insight into women’s strength and the latent abilities of an individual. Very thoughtfully and sometimes with gentle humor it shows what a mother will/can confront and challenge (at a personal and institutional level)to bring out the hidden/ unacknowledged by the world Nihal, her son. Jay Griffiths moves one to tears with her outstanding performance.” Cockpit audience member

“In just over an hour, in a brilliant tour de force, actress Jaye Griffiths moved the audience to tears and then a standing ovation. Quite the most unforgettable piece of theatre I have seen in months, and a telling comment not only on how our society deals with disability, but also a triumphant re-affirmation of the value of life.” Cockpit audience member

“A superb evening….it was the most moving experience in the theatre we’d had for many years.”  Michelle Newell, Actor, John Clive, Director

What a triumph…. a fascinating, topical and illuminating script and beautifully delivered. It was really stirring stuff and certainly makes you think …. Jaye Griffiths was superb, and it was beautifully directed: it was energetic, funny and pacy, full of pathos, love and hope, and we loved every moment.” Anna Macready

“… a truly wonderful experience, a perfect blend of the beautiful  but understated and natural poetry of Rahila Gupta’s play itself, the
setting, the direction, and the unbelievably moving  performance by Jaye Griffiths for which ‘bravura’ is a far too feeble  a word.” Alan Blaikley, Lyricist, Therapist

“within minutes.. we were mesmerized–astounded and moved. The acting blew me away– as did the play.”  Kathy Najimy, Sister Act


One thought on “Audience Reviews

  1. Caught the production at the Edinburgh fringe on a flying visit having picked the show at random. Boy, was I glad that I did;.I can use the word superb, but that doesn’t do any of the performance justice.

    The writing laid the foundation and Jaye Griffiths was like a woman possessed in delivering the ballad. A 5 star performance in which she moved seamlessly through a multitude of emotions and deserves every standing ovation that she should receive.

    A must see for everyone, asks as many questions of the audience as it addresses in a hauntingly beautiful tale.

    Congratulations to all involved in the production and I hope that the production reaches the widest possible audience.

    Kind regards, Don Garnett.

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