Birmingham REP – The Whip Hand


Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

The Whip Hand is a new play by Scottish playwright Douglas Maxwell commissioned by the National Theatre of Scotland. It was co-produced by Birmingham REP and Traverse Theatre.

I’m never gonnie be Napoleon. Am I?
But shouldn’t I try and do something a wee bit bigger?
Something good!

It’s Dougie’s birthday. He just turned 50 and his family are throwing him a party. But it’s he who has a surprise for them. A bombshell proposal. He wants his ex-wife Arlene to back his new endeavour. He wants to serve a good cause, a global cause. He wants to make right a terrible wrong, even if it puts their daughter’s future at risk. They can all sense a scam, but Dougie won’t back down. He is convinced this is his only chance to do something truly glorious, but his motivation may not be as pure as it seems. As the touchpaper under his family is lit, no one escapes the fallout.

Written by Douglas Maxwell (Decky Does a Bronco, Promises Promises) The Whip Hand is an explosive new play about power, privilege, blood ties and our inescapable past, directed by Birmingham Rep Associate Director Tessa Walker.


Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

I worked as sound designer on this project with Director Tessa Walker,  Designer Natasha Jenkins, and Lighting Designer Simon Bond. The play opened at the Traverse as part of their Edinburgh Festival programme and The British Council’s Edinburgh Showcase in August 2017. The Whip Hand received numerous reviews. you can read some of the highlights below.

***** The Skinny – Cat Acheson “No matter how prepared you think you are for Douglas Maxwell’s explosive new work, The Whip Hand, it’s guaranteed to leave you reeling.”

***** Broadway Baby – Emily Jane Kerr “Douglas Maxwell’s The Whip Hand a family comedy drama, about power, privilege and escaping the past, is a firecracker of a piece.”

**** The Wee Review – Steven Fraser  “The script is funny, angry and powerful and The Whip Hand is an original and exciting piece of new writing that infuses vigour and energy into an atypical and enjoyable family drama.”

**** The List – Irina Glinski “…savage and dark humour, and an excellent cast.”

**** Edinburgh Festivals Magazine – Tom Birch “Maxwell’s piece feels initially like a comedy of manners … but as the play progresses it morphs into a fairly hard-hitting study of the nature of inheritance and responsibility.”


Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

The Whip Hand was also presented at The Door, Birmingham REP from 5 – 16 September 2017.