Testimonials

A selection of reviews and testimonials:

The Gut (keeping on) – The Gut (keeping on)

“Semi-theatrical constructions grow out of the combined force of time, material and pretence. The relationship between weight, lightness and dramatic effect is where the presence temporarily resides.”

New Contemporaries ’99

Butcher

Butcher was produced by Asking4It Productions. I am the founder and artistic director of the theatre company. I co-wrote Butcher with Susan Jickells and made the sculptural heads for the Butchers. 

“…the costumes and props were a great strength in the production and really brought in an interesting dynamic it terms of sculpture being re-interpreted into a theatrical context. The use of the sculptural object was particularly relevant given the subject matter and the objectification of women’s bodies in the script.

The production made me realise the exciting possibilities that theatre itself has as vehicle for questioning what society see as normal practice in the medical sector.

Butcher was an innovative project in its use of theatre as space for challenging legislation and a belief system, and its visceral nature felt like a far more effective way of raising debate than say the conventional forms of a TV documentary, or news article.”

Megan Broadmeadow, Sculptor, The Slade, UCL and Goldsmiths, London. Recipient of the Mark Tanner Sculpture Award 2016-17

“I loved the (Butcher) headpieces; they really helped interaction with the audience and also physically elevated their position in relation to the patient.

It is good to see performances that focus on women and empowering women with knowledge and honesty.”

Muirelle Wilson, TV Producer

Butcher offers the audience an opportunity to see breast cancer through a kaleidoscope: different women’s perspectives on the meaning of cancer, cancer treatment and the bodily changes that cancer treatment entails. The Butchers are conglomerations of all of the actors in breast cancer treatment: the surgeons (portrayed as the car mechanics of the body), the pharmaceutical companies, the government and policymakers.

Unlike many plays I have seen, Butcher offers the opportunity for a social critique that portrays what it describes: the multi-national political and economic forces that embed themselves in women’s bodies through the hands of Medicine, and the varying ways women themselves recognise (or not) these forces.”

Professor Alexandra Vinson, Medical Social Science, USA

Butcher explores the extirpation of organs from the female body as a popular belief that a cure exists before the malady.

Butcher reveals through a “musical happening” that medical ideology transforms human beings into merchandise or pure flesh.”

Albeniz Clayton, Painter and Poet, Brazil

“Still almost a taboo subject, the uncomfortable notion of mastectomy, other bodily severances and addition of appendages made this a thought-provoking, visually exciting production.”

Chris Bird-Jones, Artist and Lecturer, Swansea Metropolitan University

Peacekeeping and The Filmmaker and The Organ Trader (opera double-bill)

The operas were produced by Asking4It Productions. I wrote the libretti for the operas.

British Theatre Guide https://www.britishtheatreguide.info/reviews/peacekeeping-ffresh-at-the-w-15930?

Wales Arts Review https://www.walesartsreview.org/creating-natasha-an-exploration-of-a-modern-opera/

Shelter (opera)

Produced by Asking4It Productions. I wrote the libretto.

Shelter is a chamber opera lasting around forty-five minutes. The issues involved are harrowing and disturbing, but the work’s power often emanates from the quiet understatement and dignity with which its issues are presented in Jane Fox’s libretto. 

The music is not structured around the traditional devices of aria, recitative and ensemble but unfolds in large blocks of sound, including meditative passages based on Renaissance music. The result is akin to an intimate confessional in which events, emotions and conversations are recalled, sometimes with great violence, but also allowing the music to meditate and reflect on what has been heard. The result is impressive and very moving.”

Peter Reynolds, Composer, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama

Shelter is an opera unlike any I’ve seen in recent years and is truly something special. 

I felt overwhelmingly moved watching Shelter and I hope this stunning and significant piece of work is given the support necessary to expand and grow.”

Jana Holesworth, Opera singer, Canada

“The quality of the innovative creative work of Jane Fox (librettist) and Ashley John Long (composer) is outstanding – honest, fierce, sensitive and finely crafted. 

Shelter is an exceptional piece of work, complete in itself and also promising a much greater exploration of important, uncomfortable material with social and political value and purpose.”

Ian Grant, Producer, London

Shelter is clearly a high quality collaboration working with experienced artists who share a desire to experiment and challenge. This has to be applauded and supported.”

Sally Varrall, Programme Director, Cardiff Metropolitan University

“The performance was absolutely captivating; merging adventurous music and singing with a subtle yet important message to create a fully engaging whole.”

John Atkinson, Actor Cardiff

Below is a review of some of my poetry by the poet and activist John Evans: