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  • Writer's pictureNeill Kovacic-Clarke


🎭 With Nail And Without Nail

📍 Camden People's Theatre, 58-60 Hampstead Road, London, NW1 2PY

🗓 Friday 14th June 2024



WITH NAIL AND WITHOUT NAIL is the new play from Maria Telnikoff and last week played at the Camden People's Theatre as part of the Roar Festival which celebrates the history and culture of Camden.

The play follows two struggling artists who share a Camden flat and looks at the realities of what it means to be a creative in modern day London. It is a reimagining of the 1987 cult British film Withnail and I, but with a feminist take on the story, and follows the flatmates as they embark on a disastrous trip. They aim to cycle to Scotland but only get as far as Epping Forest!

I always enjoy entering a space to find something happening on the stage and here there was one of the characters sat on a sofa beading a necklace. Really a non-thing, this adds intrigue as to what is going to happen and for me is a great way to start a play.

My issue with the plot was that I felt it didn't really go anywhere which meant that although individually the scenes were good, it felt that there was something missing and there was no real end point. This for me ultimately meant that I didn't connect with or really care about the characters or what happened to them.

Having seen previous work from Telnikoff  and knowing and appreciating what a good writer she is, I just felt that on this occasion I wanted a stronger narrative and story arc which for me were lacking here. That's not to say that what there was hadn't been written well because it had and the play's messages, although somewhat subtle, all landed well. There were brilliantly comical elements throughout, but also darker moments.

WITH NAIL AND WITHOUT NAIL was performed by Chakira Alin and Rachel Andrews who were both brilliant, acting with believability and delivering the piece with great timing and understanding. You could feel the closeness and friendship that the characters had and nothing about their performance felt unnatural or forced.

There is a lot to love about this play, but because of my misgivings about certain elements I felt the fairest star rating I could give was three. I do believe however that if there were perhaps some changes to the story, such as a stronger ending, then this play could grow into a huge success.

I would definitely be interested to see future works from this creative team.

Neill Kovacic-Clarke

All views are my own and I pride myself on being honest, fair and free from influence. Theatre is subjective and it is important to remember that all views expressed are just those of one reviewer. 

My ticket for this performance of With Nail and Without Nail was gifted by  Maria Telnikoff who invited me to watch the show in exchange for my honest review. The fact that my ticket was gifted played no part in the content of my review or the star rating given.


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