Oil (Photo: Miles Aldridge)


Published October 17, 2016

What’s it all about?

Written by Ella Hickson and directed by Carrie Cracknell, Oil is an ambitious new play that explores the relationship between mother and daughter, and our addiction to one of the planet’s most finite resources.

In the beginning we meet May, played by Anne-Marie Duff, who is pregnant with daughter Amy. Cold and isolated from her husband’s family, they eek out an existence on a Cornish farm in 1889. The audience is then propelled through time, first to Tehran in 1908, then to 1970s London during the rise of Colonel Gaddafi, onwards further to 2021 in Kurdistan before returning to the farm in 2051 which is once again cold and cut-off from the outside as oil supplies run low.

Oil is a compelling portrait of how this liquid irrevocably transformed our lives and ponders what will happen when it inevitably runs out.

Who’s in it?

On stage almost throughout the entire play, Anne-Marie Duff as May gives a blistering performance of an incredibly complex character.  Even when her actions seem callous and inhumane, they are in an often misguided pursuit of a better life – in fear of slipping back to the world she knew before oil.

Yolanda Kettle sparkles as daughter Amy – at times surly and aggressive and other times charming, witty and inquisitive. Going toe-to-toe with an actor of Anne-Marie Duff’s calibre is no easy feat but Yolanda brings fire to this explosive story about oil.

What should I look out for?

Designed by Vicki Mortimer, the play’s set is stunningly simplistic. Brought to life by the performances and a captivating use of music and video, the stage can quickly transform, hurtling through over 150 years of human history.

What’s being said on Twitter?

In a nutshell?

Built around the tumultuous relationship of a mother and daughter, Oil is an audacious new piece of writing which tells a universal story of struggle and a fight to survive. Depicting a world in which the pace of change is bewildering, the story is rooted by two powerfully human and completely believable performances.  

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