Brilliant Jerks, 3 Stars

Brilliant Jerks
Southwark Playhouse
1st to 25th March, 2023

“In 2008, an entrepreneur leaves a tech conference in Paris. As he stands on the street, unable to hail a cab, an idea lands with the falling snow: tap a button, get a ride. Ten years later, Mia drives nights in Manchester, Sean is recruited as the brightest new programmer and Tyler moves onto yet another new future. This is the story of one brilliant idea, and the impact on the lives of many.

Brilliant Jerks is inspired by the creation of infamous ride-hailing apps, audiences are taken behind the scenes of the big ideas that shape our modern-day society, from those at the top right down to those on the front lines day-to-day. The intertwining narratives highlight how tech giants inadvertently not only alter our patterns of behaviour, but also shine a light on the dangers of ignoring the responsibility which comes with power.”

Review by Richard Lambert, 3 Stars

UBER has very often popped up in the mainstream media – notoriously for sexual advances from drivers, protests from Black Cabbies, and battling over whether or not their drivers have employee rights for holiday pay and minimum wage. As a startup tech company it’s ridden through the storms, much to the relief of many of its users.

UBER as a company isn’t mentioned in this play. And in fact their public-known challenges are skimmed over in favour of giving each actor a couple of characters each and expanding on their personal stories. One’s a programmer who turns HIV+ after one night of passion, another is a mum who gave away her baby at birth only to come across him when he and his schoolmate jump in her cab. Her excitement at this causes her to drive into and knock a cyclist off her bike. The boss is a closet gay who promotes the openly gay programmer, organises questionable reward trips for the staff, and buying the male staff leather jackets, while excluding the female staff from this perk. The digressions in the play are multiple and interesting, but I was hoping for a more in-depth expose of Uber.

A simple costume design helps telegraph who is playing which character at which time and the action is in complete 360deg with audience on all four sides. There is a central glossy black set piece that’s used well as desks, taxis and stood on to gain height. The lighting inevitably is a little glary at times but the action maintains movement around so the glare shifts and isn’t there for too long. The soundscape in the office was quite unusual.

It’s a long play at 90 mins and continues for the most part at a steady pace telling the various stories. It did come alive when the boss was being fired but then settles back down again.

The actors’ accents range from Scottish, to London, to RP. Kiran’s accents were especially outstanding!

This play had it’s premiere at Vaults Festival 2018 and is currently being adapted for television.

Photo credit: Nick Rutter

Brilliant Jerks
Monday 1st – Saturday 25th March 2023
Southwark Playhouse, 77-84 Newington Causeway,
London SE1 6BD

How to Get There
The nearest underground station is Elephant & Castle (on the Bakerloo and Northern lines).

Writer Joseph Charlton (he/him)
Director Katie-Ann McDonough (she/her) Casting Director Becky Paris (she/her) Set and Costume Designer Hazel Low (they/them) Sound Designer Annie May Fletcher (she/her) Lighting Designer Rachel Sampley (she/her) Production Manager Misha Mah (they/them) Stage Manager Elle Roberts (she/her)

Producer RJG Productions
Co-Producer Be Forward Productions
Associate Producer Holly White

Sean Sean Delaney (he/him)
Tyler Shubham Saraf (he/him)
Mia Kiran Sonia Sawar (she/her)

Times Monday – Saturday, 8pm
Tuesday and Saturday matinees, 3:30pm
Box Office Standard tickets are £24 with previews at £16 and concession rates at £19. Purchase is available from the box office on 020 7407 0234 or by booking online at

Age Guidance and Notes 14+
Social Media @RJGProductions

Kiran Sonia Sawar
Kiran Sonia Sawar is best known for her roles in The Nevers (HBO), Pure (C4), acclaimed drama Murdered By My Father (BBC), and the thriller series The Capture (BBC). She was nominated for a Scottish BAFTA for her role as Shazia, opposite Andrea Riseborough, in Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror. Other television credits include Brexit: The Uncivil War alongside Benedict Cumberbatch and most recently, the second season of Back to Life (BBC/Showtime). Kiran will next be seen in The Meg 2: The Trench opposite Jason Statham.

Sean Delaney
Sean Delaney is an actor across television, film and theatre. His screen roles include Kenny in the Emmy award winning series Killing Eve (Sid Gentle/BBC America) and he can next be seen in Sony’s upcoming Venom sequel and in Life After Life (HOUSE/BBC) directed by John Crowley. His theatre work includes The Ferryman (West End and Broadway) directed by Sam Mendes as well as Labyrinth and Rabbit Hole (Hampstead Theatre).

Shubham Saraf
Shubham is best known for his leading role in Apple’s Shantaram. He was nominated for Best Actor at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2022, for his performance in The Father and the Assassin at the National Theatre. His other leading credits include the BBC series A Suitable Boy; Romeo and Juliet opposite Jessie Buckley and Josh O’Connor; Netflix’s Criminal; and the BBC/Netflix series, Bodyguard.

Joseph Charlton
Joseph Charlton is a multi-award winning writer from the North East of England. His Olivier-nominated play ANNA X, inspired by the life of Anna Delvey, had a sold-out run in the West End in 2021, starring Emma Corrin and Nabhaan Rizwan, and received excellent reviews. For television, he is a writer and producer on the critically acclaimed HBO/BBC series Industry (seasons two and three). He is currently writing a new play on attachment with the National Theatre, as well as adapting both ANNA X and Brilliant Jerks for television.

Katie-Ann McDonough
Katie-Ann studied Drama at University College Dublin and Theatre Directing at NUIM. Most recently she was the Associate Director for As You Like It @SohoPlace. Katie-Ann is a director, improvisation facilitator and dramaturg.
Her directing credits include Charlie Russell Aims to Please (Mischief Theatre/Pleasance Courtyard); You’re Alright Hun (Short Film); Donal the Numb (Vaults Festival); The Sun, The Moon and The Stars (Yard Theatre); and RAF 100 (Royal Airforce Museum). She was the Associate Director on Mischief Theatre’s The Comedy About a Bank Robbery and Groan Ups.
She has also assisted at English Touring Theatre and Theatre 503 and was a Trainee Director with StoneCrabs Theatre Company.

Becky Paris
Becky is Head of Casting at Shakespeare’s Globe. Recent credits for Shakespeare’s Globe and the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse include Titus Andronicus (dir: Jude Christian), The Winter’s Tale (dir: Sean Holmes), Henry V (also on tour with Headlong, dir: Holly Race-Roughan), Hakawatis by Hannah Khalil (dir: Pooja Ghai), I, Joan by Charlie Josephine (dir: Ilinca Radulian), King Lear (dir: Helena Kaut-Howson), Henry VIII (dir: Amy Hodge) The Merchant of Venice (dir: Abigail Graham), Much Ado About Nothing (dir: Lucy Bailey) and Measure For Measure (dir: Blanche McIntyre). She is also a freelance Casting Director who has worked on theatre projects for the Almeida, the Bridge Theatre, Southwark Playhouse, Sheffield Theatres and ATG, as well as a number of short films. Previously, she worked as a Casting Assistant for TV and film projects in the offices of Rose Wicksteed, Jessie Frost and Alex Johnson.

Hazel Low
Hazel Low is a performance designer working across theatre, live art and spatial design. They are particularly interested in work that is multidisciplinary, challenges form, and inherently collaborative. Hazel is an associate artist of Helikon Theatre Company.
Recent credits include: Paradise Now, Bush Theatre (as co-costume Designer and Design associate) I, Joan, Shakespeare’s Globe (as Design Associate), 2022. Bogeyman, Queendome, Edinburgh Fringe, 2022. The Blue House, Blue Elephant Theatre, 2022. The Extinction Triology (as Design Associate), Cambridge Junction, 2022. Who Killed my Father, (co-designed with Blythe Brett) Tron Theatre, 2022. Splintered, Soho Theatre Upstairs, 2021. The Magic Flute, (co-designed with Rosie Elnile), Royal College of Music, 2021. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Latimer Estate, 2020. Memories, Lyric Hammersmith, 2019. Feels, Lyric Hammersmith, 2019.
Spatial design projects include the 2022 Route 27 exhibition for the Gate Theatre, NDT Broadgate (as Design Associate) and the Royal Court’s pop up bar Court in the Square in 2020.

Annie May Fletcher
Annie is a Yorkshire-based sound designer and composer. She trained at LAMDA AND was nominated for a WhatsOnStage Award 2023, shortlisted for the Evening Standard Future Theatre Fund 2021, and was the 2018-19 Laboratory Sound Designer at Nuffield Theatres.
Recent theatre credits include: Children of the Night (CAST, Doncaster), A Christmas Carol (Bolton Octagon), Beauty Queen of Leeane (Theatre by the Lake), Accidental Death of An Anarchist and Rock (Sheffield Crucible), Hedwig & the Angry Inch (Leeds Playhouse/HOME Mcr), An Adventure (Bolton Octagon), Splintered (Soho Theatre), Endurance (Battersea Arts Centre/HOME Mcr), Autopilot (Pleasance, Edinburgh), The Survivors’ Guide to Living (Manchester Royal Exchange), Some People Feel the Rain (The Den – Manchester Royal Exchange), Decades (Leeds Playhouse), The Understudy Live (Palace Theatre).
Associate credits include: Carousel (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Enough (Traverse Theatre), How Not To Drown (Glasgow Tron, Lawrence Batley Theatre), The Audience (Nuffield Southampton Theatres).

Rachel Sampley
Rachel is a London based lighting and video designer. Her recent work includes: Follow the Signs (video designer, Soho Theatre), Barrier(s) (video designer, National Theatre), About Time (lighting and video designer, BAFTA), The Secretaries (video designer, Young Vic), The Great Gatsby (lighting design, Immersive LDN), Perfect Show for Rachel (lighting and video designer, The Barbican Centre). She has a BFA in Theatre Design & Technology from The University of the Arts (Philadelphia, PA) and an MA in Advanced Theatre Practice from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

Misha Mah
Misha is a freelance Production Manager currently based in London. They recently graduated from the MA Stage & Production Management programme at the Guildford School of Acting.
Credits include: Flies (Boundless Theatre, Shoreditch Town Hall), Smoke (3 hearts canvas, Southwark Playhouse), Zombiegate (Ameena Hamid Productions, Theatre503), A Gig For Ghosts (45North, Soho Theatre), The MP, Aunty Mandy, and Me (Emmerson & Ward, Curve Theatre), Far Gone (Roots Mbili, ZOO Southside), Caste-ing (Nouveau Riche, Roundabout), Hungry (Paines Plough, Soho Theatre & Roundabout), Kabul Goes Pop: Music Television Afghanistan (Brixton House, Touring), Til Death Do Us Part (Theatre503). Misha is currently Technical Manager at Theatre503.

Elle Roberts
Elle Roberts trained at the Guildford School of Acting where she gained her MA in Stage and Production Management, graduating in 2022. At GSA, she was the Assistant Stage Manager and Wardrobe Liaison on the production Against, and Deputy Stage Manager on Macbeth. She is a freelance stage manager and technician, most recently working as stage crew on the pantomime Cinderella (The Gordon Craig Theatre), and as a cover Assistant Stage Manager on The Woman in Black (Fortune Theatre, West End). She stage managed Redemption (The Big House) and has worked on a number of projects as a dresser, stage crew, and set builder at the Gordon Craig Theatre and Cambridge Arts Theatre.

RJG Productions Limited
RJG Productions Limited is a theatre production company specialising in new work. Led by Rebecca Gwyther, the company is currently producing Brilliant Jerks (Southwark Playhouse) and Earshot (UK Tour) and was recently Associate Producer on Olivier and Grammy nominated Amélie the Musical (Criterion Theatre, West End). The company also produced Tatty Hennessy’s award-winning A Hundred Words for Snow (Trafalgar Studios & UK Tour), the original production of Joseph Charlton’s ANNA X and is a recipient of the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain New Play Commission Scheme.
Other recent credits include All the Web’s a Stage (online event), Scum (Park Theatre Script Accelerator), Precisionism (film), What Goes on in Front of Closed Doors (Edinburgh Fringe & UK Tour), Finders Keepers (Edinburgh Fringe) and Glockenspiel (Tristan Bates Theatre).
Be Forward Productions

Mara Burros-Sandler is a graduate of UW Madison with a BA in psychology, and a MA/Ed.M. in counselling psychology from Teachers College Columbia University. Drawing on her extensive experience in the philanthropic sector, Mara founded Be Forward Productions to bring awareness and advance compelling storytelling around issues of national and global concerns. She was the executive producer of the film Newtown, a documentary following the aftermath of one of the deadliest mass shootings of children, and co-executive producer of The Great American Lie, which examined the roots of systemic inequalities, among other films. Additionally, her involvement in theatre productions include Gun & Powder, Head Over Heels, Rock of Ages, and Thoughts of a Colored Man. As a passionate social justice activist, she currently sits on the boards of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, American Friends of Israel Philharmonic, The Frederick Douglass Project for Justice, One Nation One Project, and Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. Mara also served on the committee for the Represent Justice campaign for the film Just Mercy. It has become her mission and passion to be part of the solution for the issue of mass incarceration.

Holly White
Holly White is an arts producer working across theatre and film projects. She has worked for Backyard Cinema as Creative Producer, producing immersive cinema productions, and as Producer for HighTide Theatre, producing critically acclaimed world premiere productions as well as overseeing the organisation’s renowned artist and literary development programmes. As a freelance producer, she has produced sell-out productions at a range of venues and arts festivals including Me, Myself I by Carla Grauls, Finding Fassbender by Lydia Larson, Action at a Distance by Rory Horne and the premiere run of Brilliant Jerks at VAULT Festival 2018.