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Love Lives On

Lynn Taylor as Myra and Sammie Horton as Jenna. Photo by Chris J. Clarke Photography.

Colder Than Here written by Laura Wade. Directed by Jacquie Campbell. Running at the Bear Pit Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, from 12 – 16 March 2024. Times: 7:30pm - 9.20pm nightly with a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm. 

Review by Ann Evans.


Death! It’s a difficult subject to talk about, so the fact that local playwright Laura Wade has written an entire play on that subject without it being morbid or overly sentimental, is quite an achievement. 

Colder Than Here tells the story of Myra Bradley, wife of Alec and mother of two grown-up daughters, Harriet and Jenna. Myra, played by Lynn Taylor has terminal cancer, and while she has accepted the fact that she is dying – in fact is embracing the inevitable with bravery and practicality, her family are not.

Sisters Jenna (Sammie Horton) and Harriet (Hannah McBride) Photo by Chris J. Clarke Photography.

Husband Alec, played by Steve Bizley can’t handle the situation at all. He’s not a man who shows his emotions easily and his pain is locked deeply away inside of him. The only emotions he seems capable of showing are anger and irritability. But once we see behind the façade, our hearts go out to him.  

Likewise, elder daughter Harriet (Hannah McBride) is very much like her mother – very practical and down to earth, with emotions seemingly under control, but she’s pushed to the limits when her younger sister, Jenna. (Sammie Horton) invites herself to stay at her parents’ home during a troublesome time with her current boyfriend. True to form, Jenna’s number one priority is herself, with apparently little regard to her mum’s life-threatening illness.

On top of all this, it’s winter, the central heating boiler has broken down, Alec can’t get an engineer to come out and the house is freezing.

Alec (Steve Bizley) and Myra (Lynn Taylor) Photo by Chris J. Clarke Photography.

Gradually, however, the barriers come down, and Alec, Harriet and Jenna all have to face the inevitable – especially when mum, Myra, orders her own environmentally friendly cardboard coffin with the intention of painting stars and clouds on it.

It’s a brave play, performed so well by these four excellent actors. Myra as the dying mother plays the role in a calm, admirable and sincere way. And to show commitment to her character, whilst also raising funds for a charity close to her heart, Lynn (Myra) had her head shaved especially for the role.

Although you know there’s not going to be a happy ending here, there’s humour throughout the play but the real joy comes through the changing relationships within the family.

As always with the Bear Pit productions, there’s an amazing behind the scenes team and as for  Director Jacquie Campbell, she is also a local, trained and accredited celebrant and well equipped to stage this deeply compassionate play. She points out that it’s a story that will resonate with many people. And if the aim of the play is to get people talking about the taboo subject of death, it does just that. 

Jacquie says: “Working on this play has been a joy. Being able to tell a story about something people find difficult is a privilege. I hope we encourage our audiences to think differently about death and loss and to approach it with an open heart.”

Jenna upsetting her dad. Photo by Chris J. Clarke Photography.

After the performance on the opening night, cast and the producers of the play will be staying behind to talk to the audience. All are invited to stay. Additionally, if you enjoy the play and want to talk about the subject of death, you’re invited to head over to the Bear Pit Theatre on Saturday 16 March at 11.30am to join in a discussion about dying and living well until then. Tea and cake will be provided – all you bring is yourself. It’s free and all are welcome. Simply book your place at:

For tickets for Colder Than Here please visit:

For more details about Colder Than Here, and to see what’s next at the Bear Pit Theatre, go to: https:///



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