Reviews of some of Matthew’s previous plays.
[See reviews of more recent productions here: Ghost About The House, The Secondary Victim, The English Heart, and Abominations.]
Late. Gone Late
Matthew Campling’s promising little play of flat bound city girls is charged with beautifully observed characterisation and redeemed by compassion and humour (Raeford Daniel, The Star, Jhb. 1980)
The Logic of Fear
A thoroughly commercial thriller … His second play rivets the audience with creepy suspense. Campling manipulates the script with a dexterity that provides a new aspect of fear at every turn… Matthew Campling’s name is soon going to be a familiar sight on theatre billboards (John Mitchell, Rand Daily Mail, Jhb., 1981).
Intimate theatre in Durban seems to be going places lately judging by the number of worthwhile productions being staged. One of these is Matthew Campling’s new 45-minute play about a shy small town girl, Koekie de Wet, who becomes a Hillbrow stripper. (EB, Durban News, 1982)
The Good Woman of Sandton
‘The Good Woman of Sandton’ is an extraordinary creation which captivated me entirely’… Author Matthew Campling accomplishes great things with the symbolism …The play is admirably constructed and developed and the aura of terror and impending doom is never far from the surface… I heartily recommend this play to the public of Johannesburg, indeed to the whole country. It deserves to be seen by a much larger audience in a much larger playhouse (J Podbrey, Business Day, Jhb, 1985)
Matthew Campling is developing the potential that has been evident in his work for some years. There is a rounded quality to the play which is satisfying and there is also enough meat in the content to stimulate thought. It is …an entertainment which pleases because of its high standard of production and the clever use of language. (Garalt MacLiam, The Star, 1885).
Matthew Campling’s ‘Endpapers’ is a most disturbing one-act play and also most timeous when he asks us to consider the perilous period in which our country currently finds itself. It is a highly impressive piece of theatre that both intrigues and frightens. Campling’s fiction has a sanitised quality and a calculated naivity which serves to heighten awareness of our present predicament. (Garalt MacLiam, The Star, 1985).
Hierdie is ‘n boeinde en uitsteken geskrewe eenakter waarin die waansin van ‘n vrou uit die noordelike, voorstede verweef word met die politieke apatie van welaf blankes in Suid-Afrika (Barrie Hough, Die Beeld, 1985). Translation coming.
Matthew Campling’s Sweetest Gift … is an astonishing and skillful blend of brilliant one-liners and profound emotions… Writer and director Campling has produced a vivid, lascerating view of mothers and sons and the first night night audience soundly cheered this highly entertaining and thought-provoking play. (Sky Arts, 1996)
…The latest play by Gay Times agony uncle Matthew Campling. He describes it as a ‘dark and dangerous comedy-psycho-thriller’ which just about covers everything in it. This is in fact a very funny play which successfully combines mental illness withe the obsessive mother-love of a gay son. And it does so with great sensitivity and humour …Matthew, who wrote and directed, knows exactly what makes his characters tick …Highly recommended (Kevin Wilson, QX Magazine, 1996)
The audience was completely engrossed in the plot. It is a touching and impressive production, excellently performed and very much enjoyed by all. (Martine Julseth, Islington Gazette, 1996)
Matthew Campling’s well constructed play offers a chilling insight into the relationship between a malevolently brooding mother, Pat, and her emotionally immature son, Colin. (Robin I Wood, Pink Paper, 1996)
Campling (who also directs) has written a piquant piece that picks at a tangle of issues surrounding mental health. It’s a fascinating subject and Campling has some genuinely telling- and comic – points to make about the traumatic effects of the mentally damaged. (Kate Stratton, Time Out, 1996)
Writer-director Campling perceptively draws the tensions within each relationship, structuring the play as a nightmare soap opera with no easy answers and no happy ending. Campling’s writing is fresh, sensitive and refreshingly funny …Everyone ends up its (love’s) victim and it is to Campling’s credit that in this fine production he leaves us with more nagging questions than answers (Tassos Stevens, What’s On, 1996)
Matthew Campling’s gripping and funny psychodrama lurks in teh shadowy wings of this strongest of emotions …The result is a thoroughly enjoyable piece of theatre (Jonathan Keane, Boyz, 1996)