@difficultstage #LookingThroughGlass



Andrew Haydon (The Guardian)

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★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Western Mail

“anarchic and hilarious festive show”

“a show you won’t forget about in a hurry”

“stellar performances from the cast”


“an extremely entertaining piece of theatre”

“Reynolds is stunning as the dictatorial director…line after line delivered with just the right amount of glee and viciousness”

“the set and staging of Looking Through Glass is astonishingly good. Carl Davies has designed a sleek, almost sterile-looking set that puts many big-budget productions to shame, while Katy Morison’s lighting and Sam Jones’ sound design is exemplary”

Jafar Iqbal (Critically Speaking)

Read Jafar’s full review here.

“absolutely bonkers”

“The performances by all the actors are impressive; Hughes’ perfectly timed comedic outbursts are a particular highlight”

“The set and staging is brilliant…Kudos to designers Carl Davies, Katy Morison, Sam Jones and Zakk Hein”

Samuel Gill (wicid.tv)

Read Samuel’s full review here.

“The production is a technical tour-de-force”

“Carl Davies’ beautiful set has us observing events in an immaculately rendered glass box of a BBC radio drama studio”

“Our hostess is alpha female Alison Tittenson…brought to intimidating life by Nicola Reynolds”

“The script, by Pandolfo and the company, inspires many audience titters, most of them guilty”

Othniel Smith (British Theatre Guide)

Read Othniel’s full review here.

“Carl Davies’ stark white, glass fronted, high tech set is dazzling…a slick, highly technical production”

“Eiry Hughes…mixes impeccable comic timing with emotional depth”

“Pandolfo and the company have created once more surreal, breath-stopping stuff with touching moments of realism too.  For all its absurdity, we cannot fail to recognise its humanity and that may well be where its genius resides”

“Strap in, hold tight and beware of sharp objects”

Natalie Paisey (Arts Scene in Wales)

Read Natalie’s full review here.

In December 2016, Cardiff’s pub theatre The Other Room welcomed back resident company difficult|stage with an anarchic and hilarious festive show.

A follow-up to the hit 2015 show Alix in Wundergarten, Looking Through Glass ran from Tue 6 – Fri 23 December.

Check out the brilliant tweets and comments about the show on our Storify page here.

Looking Through Glass re-visits the fated radio recording studio of Alix in Wundergarten, and the big guns have been called in, in the form of the notorious Alison. Writer and performer François Pandolfo explains:

Returning to our exploration of what it means to be a working actor and unapologetically presenting the warped sense of self and desperate need to project one’s worth onto those around us, ‘Looking Through Glass’ embraces those moments of chaos that expose our ultimate fears; instances when our human fragility is revealed. This next installment of the notional ‘seasonal radio play’ is presented by our producing corporation in its brand-new broadcasting house.  Join us in this modern radio studio setting to observe Alison’s unique process at work.  But if everyone is looking through glass then who exactly is watching who?

With Fabian out of the way and banished to a glass box (quite literally), Alison is back in control and is hell-bent on making last year’s failed attempt seem nothing but a dream. Our audience of interns are invited along for an ‘on the job’ workshop style interview as Alison is looking for a new assistant producer to replace Fabian. Nobody is off the hook and everybody has something to prove. Recording light on please for our new Christmas radio play but let’s hope Wonderland isn’t a modern day Macbeth curse and don’t forget that once we’re on air, radio silence is deadly.

Looking Through Glass is directed by Matthew Blake, who has worked on a number of projects for pioneering theatre company Punchdrunk and in 2015 directed Beneath the Streets: Lost and Found, the collaboration between Hijinx and Punchdrunk’s community outreach programme Punchdrunk Enrichment. Matthew comments:

Describing the life of an actor to someone who isn’t in the same industry can make us all sound like crazy people, which to be fair, is often an accurate description. But at what point does eccentricity become impertinence? When does someone’s kooky behaviour become inexcusable?
I am excited by the differences between public and private personas, and what happens to people’s humour, manner and taste levels when they forget they are being watched. At what point do people stop being on their best behaviour? Actors often talk of rehearsals as a ‘safe space’ where anything can be said, no matter how inappropriate or offensive others would find it were they to listen in. This is an important rule for the creative process. But what would happen if others did listen in? In LTG Alison is the boss. But she is also an outsider, desperate to be part of the chaos within. 
I love how Carroll’s ‘Through the Looking-Glass” is unashamedly weird and bonkers. I like how characters like Humpty Dumpty are unapologetically horrible to Alice. It tickles me to think of Alice being in a constant state of confusion, yet all of her actions have no more consequence than waking up; The original Bobby Ewing in the shower moment. How does that equate to a real situation such as radio broadcast? And can radio broadcast ever be referred to as a real situation?

Here’s a round-up of critical responses to Alix in Wundergarten:

‘I’m not sure if it’s just silly or deeply profound, but what it 
remains is quite brilliant.’
★★★★★, The Western Mail

'It was unforgettable … realistic and surrealistic, unsettling and 
hilarious, offensive and touching.'
★★★★★, Three Weeks

'Finely poised … sexy, poetic and dark … it's visionary stuff.'
★★★★★, Mumble Theatre

'You would be mad indeed if you missed this incisive, 
brilliant show.'
★★★★★, Buzz Magazine

'A surreal, seasonal treat.'
★★★★★, The Sprout

'A superbly performed theatre of the absurd … a delight.'
★★★★, The Scotsman

'Beautifully written by Pandolfo … it’s a joyful slide down the 
rabbit hole.'
★★★★, The List

'Alan Ayckbourn on acid…unlike anything you’ll have ever seen before 
…anarchic, bewildering, wildly entertaining piece of theatre.'
★★★★, The Arts Desk

★★, The Reviews Hub

‘Extended wankathon.’
★, The Stage



Robert Bowman, Eiry Hughes, François Pandolfo & Nicola Reynolds


The Company


François Pandolfo


Matthew Blake


Carl Davies


Katy Morison


Sam Jones


Zakk Hein


Duncan Hallis


Bethan Dawson


Ben Tyreman


Katy Owen


Ceriann Williams


Kieran Cudlip

difficult|stage gratefully acknowledges financial support from Arts Council Wales which made this production possible.