Kiss Me is the new Richard Bean play having its premiere season at Hampstead Theatre Downstairs. If an unknown writer had penned this script, it would not be produced. It is dreary, unforgivably so. Anna Ledwich’s production is very pleased with itself, but incapable of pleasing.

Kiss Me

Sometimes, in the first two minutes of a production of a play, the measure of the work, and the production, is clear. Such is the case with Kiss Me.

Everthing about it, almost, was enervating.


What wasn’t? Ben Lloyd-Hughes. He gives a measured, considered and entirely period performance in this curious post-World War One fantasy, where his character is an active sperm donor for 700 or so female patients of the resourceful Doctor Trollop. (He shows real promise – as an actor- and should be looked out for in future productions.)

Plot? Widow meets kind Sperm Donor and they break Dr Trollop’s cardinal rule: no kissing. Hence the title.

Kiss MeIt is billed as an unorthodox love story and a comedy – but there was little laughter the night I saw the production. And less of a sense of romance.

It is mercifully short – 70 minutes – although each minute seems to last ten or twenty. Or thirty…

Otherwise, there is nothing worth discussing about Anna Ledwich’s fussy but colourless production. Kiss Me is not worth the energy involved in reflecting upon it.

Kiss Me
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Stephen Collins
With years of experience on both sides of the curtain, Stephen Collins has worked as an actor, singer, director, producer and casting consultant, indulging his passion for live theatre. Occasionally a media lawyer, who has worked in-house for the likes of Channel 4 and The Sunday Times, he can usually be found in an audience. In 2014 and 2015, he was lead critic for He thinks the West End and London is the centre of the theatrical universe (sorry Broadway!), but fears it's not possible to see absolutely everything that’s on there. He doesn’t stop trying though. Cocktails help when it all gets too much.