Caroline Phillips


Caroline Phillips
“Caroline Phillips is a tenacious and skilful writer with a flair for high quality interviewing and a knack for making things work.”

Caroline Phillips


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‘It Stays With You After The Curtain Goes Down’: Long Day’s Journey Into Night Review

Country & Town House | 8 Apr 2024

The challenges of memory, the stranglehold of the past, addiction, alcoholism, loneliness, regret, nostalgia, resignation, denial, blame, guilt, lies and illusion, love and forgiveness. They’re all here in the 1941 autobiographical masterpiece, Long Day’s Journey Into Night – a frequent contender for best American play, and one which won O’Neill a posthumous Pulitzer prize. It’s cathartic and multi-layered, but also funny. And terribly sad.

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This new dance production is a must-see – Malevo, Sadler’s Wells

Country & Town House | 31 Oct 2023

Picture an extravaganza that recalls hints of the showmanship of the 1970s Village People mixed with a sprinkling of flamenco and a huge helping of reimagined Argentine folkloric dance. Then add some very talented bad-ass men in low-cut necks, black and leather with puffed chests stomping, strutting and thundering their energetic and talented feet to the pounding and pulsating of booming, thudding drums plus guitars and violins live on stage. And what do you get? The South American dance sensation Malevo.

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Review: Jews. In Their Own Words, at the Royal Court Theatre

Country & Town House | 10 Oct 2022

Jews make up less than one per cent of the UK population. Yet a quarter of all hate crimes in the country are antisemitic. In the week that the Jewish Chronicle reported on this harrowing statistic, I went to the Royal Court to see journalist Jonathan Freedland’s ‘Jews. In their Own Words,’(JITOW). I have a Church of  England mother but grew up with antisemitism: the curious sort from my Jewish father (the son of observant parents) who directed it against his own kind — arguably a manifestation in part of self-hatred and a perverse desire for assimilation. (‘Jews can be the worst antisemites,’ a Jewish friend explained.)

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Review: The Crucible, National Theatre

Country & Town House | 7 Oct 2022

When girls started yelping and convulsing and then went limp or rigid, witchcraft was diagnosed. This was Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. The Crucible —which was first staged in New York in 1953 —was, as is well known, Arthur Miller’s partly-fictionalised story of the Salem witch trials: a quasi-allegorical play based on the story of the pre-adolescents’ denunciations that gripped Salem and which saw hundreds of townsfolk accused of witchcraft and sent to their deaths. The play was Miller’s response to the paranoia and hysteria of post-war US politics, when Communists and suspected Commies were treated as devils in need of exorcism by senator Joe McCarthy and his like; something Miller witnessed personally.

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Val McDermid, queen of crime, on the perfect murder

Country & Town House | 11 Sep 2022

Val McDermid, international bestselling crime writer, is talking for the first time about when she was suspected of having killed someone – and it could have been the perfect murder. The author, 67, also reveals her feelings about transitioning to become a man, and about her lesbianism. And about the medical condition that could potentially stop her from writing.

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Theatre Review: The Welkin

Country & Town House | 3 Feb 2020

The opening scene of The Welkin, a world premiere by Lucy Kirkwood, is visually compelling. The audience is presented with what could almost be a bank of enormous television screens inside a broadcasting studio. But inside each frame, a live woman is doing housework: changing nappies, beating carpets. It’s not the only thing that makes this such an aesthetically pleasing play (with design by Bunny Christie). The sober and muted palette — of olive, fawns, creams – gives the feeling of walking into a Vermeer or 18th century Dutch painting, although the play takes place in East Anglia.

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Review: My Brilliant Friend at the National Theatre

Country & Town House | 9 Dec 2019

There are few more satisfying ways to spend five plus hours than in watching parts one and two of My Brilliant Friend, the stage version of Elena Ferrante’s publishing sensation, the Neapolitan Novels. April De Angelis has deftly condensed over 1500 pages into this two-part play (one book, one intermission, another book…twice) spanning nearly 50 years. Melly Still’s production combines a study of a close and complex female friendship with the backdrop of post-war Italy.

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Review: The Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition 2019

Country & Town House | 5 Jun 2019

“And on the left there’s a fake customs booth. It’s got ‘Customs Arrivals from the EU’ and ‘Keep Ou…’ written on it, with the ‘T’ missing,” says a guide, leading a man with a white stick around the galleries. We’re at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. The sightless man, it turns out later, is blind artist David Johnson. And the customs booth is a Banksy, about which more later.

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