Crushed Shells and Mud

Southwark Playhouse, October 2015

England trembles in the grip of a devastating epidemic.
But in a brutally remote coastal village, quiet Derek waits for love and life to really begin.
Then Lydia arrives. She burns brightly – incandescently. Beyond Derek’s wildest dreams.
And she is hiding something.

When Derek discovers her secret – out by a restless sea, they are both propelled into a strange new world of conflicted desire and dangerous loyalties. Where terrifying forces test their courage and humanity.

But can love survive the fear inside?

Rising star Alex Lawther (named “Young British Performer of the Year” at the London Film Critics’ Circle Awards for his performance of the Young Alan Turing in The Imitation Game) leads the cast. Joining Alex are Alexander Arnold (best known for playing Rich Hardbeck in Skins and most recently playing Jim Carter in Poldark) and Hannah Britland (who played Lydia in Skins and most recently Sam in Fresh Meat).

Ben Musgrave’s Pretend You Have Big Buildings – ‘an exceptional play… original, sophisticated, intelligent’ was the winner of the first Bruntwood Prize, and was performed in the main house of the Royal Exchange Manchester.

Russell Bolam returns to Southwark Playhouse where he directed acclaimed productions of Shivered, The Seagull and Three Sisters.


‘Musgrave writes so beautifully: these intricate, intimate moments – psychological dances of persuasion, rivalry and cruelty. (whatsonstage)


‘Teen spirit in the apocalypse… A sensitive portrait of a teenage love triangle…Russell Bolam’s pensive production, with a strikingly rickety design by Ellan Parry, highlights the writing’s strengths. There’s much to admire in the performances, too’ (Evening Standard) 


‘The imagery is haunting, the performances are top class and the progression of the play always keeps us enthralled’. (


‘A heartwarming and heart wrenching portrayal of teenage relationships.’ (Exeunt Magazine).


★★★★ ‘This play is infectious… troubling but thrilling …a performance that will stick with you’ (auditorium

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