Sketch: Clare Higgins and Greg Hicks in Clarion at the Arcola Theatre

Clare Higgins and Greg Hicks

Multi-award winning actress Clare Higgins recently returned from her completed Broadway run of A Delicate Balance to star in the world premiere of former journo Mark Jagasia’s debut play Clarion for a five week run at the Arcola Theatre in East London.

Clare starred with fellow National Theatre veteran actor Greg Hicks in Arcola Artistic Director Mehmet Ergen’s lively production.

It’s a dark comedy about British media, set in the offices of Britain’s worst newspaper, The Daily Clarion, a toxic tabloid that specialises in sustained anti-immigrant rhetoric.

Greg plays the Clarion’s egomaniacal editor Morris Honeyspoon who spends his weekends dressed as Julius Caesar and Clare is washed up foreign correspondent Verity Stokes, a Fleet Street legend who is, as Michael Billington describes, “less well-preserved than constantly pickled”. He writes, “Jagasia has created a genuine modern monster scorchingly embodied by Hicks”.

Clare said in an interview for The Evening Standard, “it’s a necessary play. It describes what is going on in the underbelly of the pages we flip through every morning. Not only did it make me laugh, it made me think.”

The Arcola Theatre is a studio theatre in Dalston, in the London borough of Hackney. It features two studios seating up to 240 and two rehearsal rooms. It describes itself as “locally engaged and internationally minded” staging a diverse programme of plays, operas and musicals. It also runs a number of community arts activities, including youth drama and a writers programme. TimeOut call it “an undisputed powerhouse,” and the Stage said “the Arcola is one of the great success stories of British theatre” and what’s more their extremely friendly and helpful staff passed my sketch on to Clare and Greg to sign for me.

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