JARMAN, 4 Stars

Wilton’s Music Hall
7th to 10th March 2023

“Following his acclaimed residency at the King’s Head Theatre in summer 2022, Mark Farrelly (Howerd’s End) returns with his double bill of solo masterpieces Jarman and Quentin Crisp: Naked Hope at Wilton’s Music Hall this March. The shows take inspiration from the lives of well-known arts icons Derek Jarman and Quentin Crisp, who refused to conform to the status quo. Jarman and Crisp were unapologetically brilliant, and always remained true to themselves throughout eras of discrimination, inspiring huge numbers of people, and future LGBTQ+ generations.

Jarman is a vibrant solo show directed by renowned cabaret performer Sarah-Louise Young. The play is a daring reminder of the courage it takes to truly live while you’re alive, taking audiences on a journey from Dungeness to deepest, brightest Soho and into the heart of one of our most iconoclastic artists.”

Review by Richard Lambert, 4 Stars

Michael Derek Elworthy Jarman was privately educated and studied at King’s College, London. An extrovert and out homosexual he rocked the British establishment with his ground-breaking film productions of Sebastiane, Jubliee and The Garden. Never shying away from gay male sexuality and homoeroticism in his work he became both infamous and celebrated.

Mark Farrelly‘s portrayal of Jarman is rivetting. Engaging the audience from start to end, and using simple props on a mainly bare stage, he is mesmerising in his performance and portrayal of Jarman.

Sarah Louise-Young‘s direction is outstanding. With plenty of great ideas and fully adapting the play to match the strange stage levels of Wilton’s Music Hall, makes for an incredible production. Mark Farrelly even comes into the audience and has audience participation moments several times during the 80 minute play.

The Sound Design was great but it was a shame that only sound came from the stage left speaker and not both, skewing the focus somewhat. The lighting was very effective and well considered.

How do you make statements about someone so independently bold and creative as Jarman? An almost impossible task. Here we see anecdotes and snippets but possibly the most powerful message that came through was the bravery of his life and the bravery while he was dying. An utter tragedy that he died 2 years before the introduction of combination therapy for HIV and if he’d survived a little longer he might still be alive today. The 20 minutes of the production showing his decline through to his death was a hard watch.

Films and TV are no match for being in the room with a live performer and this production of a master in the craft will remind you of why we all need live theatre in our lives.


Dates and Times                                        Tuesday 7th  – Thursday 10th March 2023, 7:30pm
Running Time                                              80 minutes (no interval)
Age Guidance                                              14+

Box Office                                                     https://wiltons.org.uk/whatson/773-jarman

Writer/Performer/Producer                    Mark Farrelly
Director                                                         Sarah-Louise Young
Lighting Designer and Designer              Sarah-Louise Young and Mark Farrelly
Sound Designer                                           Tom Lishman

Jarman will be raising money for the Terrence Higgins Trust.