The Hollywood Ten

Hats off to 8pB Theatre Company’s extremely young cast. They’ve formed their own theatre company and written, directed and performed a show about a challenging historical event — all before leaving school. Also, it’s set in 1950s America, so removing hats is just good manners. This piece on the McCarthy-era blacklisting of screenwriter Dalton Trumbo and other Hollywood bigwigs feels as dynamic as a school history project, but 8pB’s consideration and effort are absolutely commendable.

While the script is passionate and well researched, it does wander a bit.

Trumbo and his wife Cleo, along with three other Hollywood power couples, are attending a party on the eve of Trumbo’s hearing before the Committee for un-American Activities. Tensions are running high, and we get a series of internal monologues punctuated by short conversations. Unfortunately, while the monologues are largely successful, the dialogue is often stilted. They’ve done a beautiful job of writing in authentic 1950s American English, but haven’t quite figured out how to make the cocktail party zingers land with natural ease.

While the script is passionate and well researched, it does wander a bit. We don’t get much of a plot beyond the looming committee hearing and various unresolved marital disputes. The minimal staging doesn’t help either—they’ve used a static arrangement of chairs to suggest an opulent cocktail party, but a few rearrangements during the show wouldn’t hurt.

While the narrative is muddy and unresolved, there are some fine performances. Katie Keet is lovely and affecting as an emotionally stifled wife and mother, while Russell Jonathan Field is confident and superb as Dalton Trumbo. His old-fashioned accent never slips—clearly he’s spent some time listening to recording of Trumbo’s hearing.

The Hollywood Ten is a truly excellent first production from a brand new company. While there are plenty of kinks that need working out, 8pB has put a decent show together and that deserves applause. In four or five years, there’s no telling where these kids will be. 

Reviews by Lauren Moreau


Near Gone

Dance Base

An Invitation...

Greenside @ Nicolson Square

She Loves Me

Pommery Champagne Cafe Bar

Champagne Tutored Tasting


Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

'Would you like a man who told on his friend? Such men are to be watched; I cannot imagine they are not watched' (Dalton Trumbo). On November 25th, 1947, ten of the best screenwriters, producers and directors in Hollywood were blacklisted. Cited for contempt of Congress, their genius and artistry denied, their lives put on hold and the world was poorer for the loss of their insight. But truth and art have a way of breaking out! Follow 8pB as they unravel the lies and half truths of one of the darkest moments in motion picture history.

Most Popular See More

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £12.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £39.00

More Info

Find Tickets