top of page


Part of the Playground's Gail Louw Season


27 MAR - 6 APR | 7.30 PM
Matinee Saturday 2.30 PM

Written by Gail Louw

Directed by Anthony Shrubsall (The Good Dad by Gail Louw

With Chris Barritt, Edmund Sage-Green (The Only White by Gail Louw) and Bu Kunene (The Ice Cream Boys by Gail Louw, Jermyn Street Theatre)

Set Design Male Arcucci

Lighting Design Chuma Emembolu 

Stage Manager May Bucilliat

RUSTY My lawyer told me they aren't allowed to kill people who are nuts. So they have to medicate me to make me appear less nuts. They have to restore competence. Then they can charge me and try me and find me guilty of murder and execute me. (STORMING! by Gail Louw)

Based on a true story, STORMING! unravels the harrowing tale of Russell Weston, who infamously stormed the Capitol in 1998, resulting in the tragic deaths of two officers. Afflicted by schizophrenia, Weston's journey takes an unexpected turn as the legal system grapples with the complexities of his mental illness.

Chris Barritt takes on the role of Rusty Weston. The play delves into the intricate relationships between Weston, the woman played by Bu Kunene and the court-appointed psychiatrist, played by Edmund Sage-Green, questioning the factors that influenced the decision to enforce medication. Amidst the legal battles and psychological struggles, the play introduces the unexpected element of cloning, adding a new dimension to the ethical and moral dilemmas faced by all involved. 

STORMING! intricately weaves together a gripping exploration of mental illness, justice, and the blurred lines between reality and perception, offering audiences a thought-provoking and emotionally charged theatrical experience.


"Though a rehearsed reading, this is a superb play in embryo, keenly directed by Anthony Shrubsall. "Storming!" though stands alone, a wholly original twist to a growing alarm-bell of ethics." (Play reading at Jermyn Street Theatre, Fringe Review, Simon Jenner).


Duration: 90 mins 

Interval: 15min

Content Warnings:

Discriminative language, references to racism and strong language

Recommended for 16+

Tickets (All unreserved)


We are offering a pass to see all 4 shows for £60.

The pass will be available to purchase only until the 3rd March and will be valid to use once per show.

Once you have purchased your pass you will need to contact the box office to reserve the dates you want to attend the 4 performances and we will issue the confirmation tickets for each show.

Should you wish to walk up for any show we would be only too pleased to welcome you. Please make sure to bring your pass (email confirmation) with you and present at the box office to redeem your ticket.

For any enquiries please contact

Preview 27th March 

General Admission £
Senior 60+ | Student | Unemployed £20

28th Mar - 6 April

General Admission £24
Senior 60+ | Student | Unemployed £20

Access for All £20
Note: Please contact for your complementary ticket for a carer/companion/friend


For a Student Discount Code contact us at

The Playground Theatre will honour multi-award winning playwright Gail Louw with a five-week season presenting three world premieres along with one acclaimed international production of her best-known work Blonde Poison.

Peter Tate, Founder and Artistic Director of The Playground Theatre, encountered Gail Louw's plays at the Edinburgh Fringe 2023, and was captivated by the dramatic clarity of her writing. He explains, “I admire Louw's wide divergence in content and wanted to explore more. She is a remarkable writer and what could be a better way to celebrate her work than by presenting a Gail Louw Season at The Playground."

Gail Louw is an award-winning playwright with more than 30 plays produced worldwide and is particularly known for her monologues. All her plays are based on real events and focus on flawed characters. Her best-known play, Blonde Poison, also presented in this season, has had eight productions worldwide, including at the Sydney Opera House, in LA, and Berlin. 




Gail Louw, an award-winning playwright, has had 20 of her plays produced, with 13 published in three collections by Oberon Books. She is globally recognised for her monologues and her plays, inspired by real events, often centre on flawed characters. Her most renowned work, Blonde Poison, showcased in this season, has enjoyed eight productions worldwide, including performances at the Sydney Opera House, in LA, and Berlin. This play won the Argus Angel award for Artistic Excellence at the Brighton Festival. Duwayne was honoured as the Best New Play at the Brighton Festival. Her other works, And This is My Friend Mr Laurel and Shackleton’s Carpenter, have toured extensively.

Gail was born into a Jewish family in South Africa and lived in Israel before moving to the UK in 1976. Once an academic and lecturer, she has focused on playwriting for the last 24 years. The death of her maternal grandparents in a concentration camp and the rich culture of her upbringing have significantly influenced her life. Her earliest plays consistently explored Jewish themes, particularly those related to her mother and aunt. Louw's body of work is politically charged, highlighting recurring social injustices, post-colonialism, and racial issues like apartheid and anti-Semitism.



Anthony Shrubsall is a freelance director and former academic.

Theatre Direction includes The Return of Sherlock Holmes (Upstairs at the Gatehouse Theatre and currently touring), Power Luncheon (The Hope Theatre) The Good Dad (Golden Goose Theatre, The Hope Theatre and Old Red Lion Theatre), A Boy Called Porro (Pleasance Theatre), Edred The Vampyre (Old Red Lion Theatre), An Absence Of (Old Court, Windsor) winner of the Kenneth Branagh new writers award), It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play (0ld Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham) Death of a Hunter (Finborough Theatre), The Gin Chronicles series (ArtsSpace Edinburgh), Orbits (Drayton Arms Theatre), RealLife TV (Barons Court Theatre) and Saffron Hill ( Pleasance Theatre), LANZA (Kings Head Theatre) The Seagull (Tabard Theatre),  Zena Edwards’s Security (Battersea Arts Centre) the first UK production selected for Tadashe Suzuki’s Shizuoka Festival, Japan, and Richard Tyrone Jones’s Big Heart, adapted into a series for BBC Radio 4. Online direction from 2020 includes: Love Screens (OnComm Award winner) and Death of a Hunter (OnComm Award winner). He has directed two short cross disciplinary promotional films of Shakespeare works Macbeth with Terry Deary, author of the Horrible Histories and Romeo and Juliet with Tate Modern.  He was formerly Artistic Director of OPEN Ealing Arts Centre and the Drayton Court Theatre, where productions included The Bullet, Landscape, The Lover and Mojo.  He has published on directing Vsevolod Meyerhold’s acting technique, Harold Pinter’s Mountain Language, Samuel Beckett’s Rockaby and the theatre of Jacques Lecoq.  He is a member of Equity, The Chelsea Arts Club and Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts.


as Rusty Weston

Theatre work includes She Stoops to Conquer, Arcadia and Manor at the National Theatre; American tour of An Inspector Calls; The Caretaker at The Old Vic; The History Boys for Sell A Door, National tour; The Dishwashers, Basket Case, Dead Funny and The Heiress for Lee Dean; Maurice's Jubilee and The Misanthrope for Ambassador; The Birthday Party at the Duchess and Birmingham Rep; Otherwise Engaged; See U Next Tuesday at Albery; Feelgood at The Garrick; The Lady in the Van premiere at The Queens; Candida at the Gate Dublin, Move Over Mrs Markham and Run for Your Wife at the Olympia Dublin; Twelfth Night at the Opera House, Belfast; The Miser at Belfast Arts; and Julius Caesar, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Importance of Being Earnest at Belfast Lyric.



Bu Kunene is of Swati and South African heritage. She trained at the New York Conservatory for dramatic Arts graduating in 2017. 

Her theatre credits include: And The Girls in Their Sunday Dresses at Arcola Theatre, The Ice Cream Boys, at Jermyn Street Theatre and 12 Angry Women, The Alpha NYC.

Television credits: The Crown and Roland Joffe’s upcoming limited series for paramount global.


as Dr. David Gordon

Edmund’s Theatre work includes The Mousetrap at St Martins Theatre, Sir John Oldcastle at Shakespeare’s Globe, The False One at The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, The Only White at Chelsea Theatre, John McEnery’s King Lear at the Rose Playhouse,The Picture of Dorian Gray Tour, Smithereens at Soho Theatre, Twelfth Night Uk Tour and Richard II and A Midsommer Night’s Dream Shoreditch St Barts.


Male Arcucci

Set Design and Costume 

Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Malena Arcucci is a theatre designer and costume supervisor based in London. She is co-artistic director of Mariana Malena Theatre, a female led Latinx company that focused on devised and collaborative theatre practices.

@MaleArcucci  (Twitter) @malearcucci (Insta)

Chuma Emembolu

Lighting Design

For over two decades now Chuma Emembolu has become one of the industries leading go-to designers for exciting and innovative professional lighting design.

Chuma Emembolu trained at the Royal Shakespeare Company and has been a leading designer for innovative lighting for over two decades. Chuma in an associate tutor at RADA and in recent years he has been a guest lecturer for institutions including Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.

Theatre includes: Semele (Blackheath Hall); Around The World In 80 Days (Theatre by the Lake/Hull Truck Theatre); Comedy of Errors (more or less) (Shakespeare North Playhouse/Stephen Joseph Theatre); Ruth and Six of Calais (Royal Academy of Music); Sir John in Love (Opera Holland Park); The Shoemaker (Wales Millennium Centre); Owners (Jermyn Street Theatre); For Black Boys Who Considered Suicide When The Hue Got To Heavy (New Diorama Theatre); Icarus (Tobacco Factory Theatres); Great Expectations (Playground Theatre); Dwarves (White Bear Theatre); Aspern Papers, L’enfant (Royal Academy of Music); Here’s What She Said To Me (Belgrade Theatre/York Royal Theatre); Man of Mode (The Mack); The Night Woman (The Other Palace); Love, Poison Passion and Purification (Susie Sainsbury Theatre); Maggie and Ted (Garrick Theatre); Tales from Ovid (Swan Theatre); Don Juan (Hoxton Hall); Bouncers and Shakers (Gulbenkian Theatre/Marlowe Theatre); Tainted The Musical (VAULT Festival).

bottom of page