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Sky Arts playhouse live: Crocodile (and the celeb spots)

Sineadcusack1 What a glittering night, yes I am using the word glittering, Thursday turned out to be but more of that later. The play first.

Crocodile is written by Frank McGuinness, he of 'A Short Stay in Switzerland' fame and is a two hander set in a prison cell where a female lawyer played by the wonderful Sinead Cusack is trying to established why a girl (Pippa Bennett-Warner) has committed an awful crime.

PBW2 The location of the prison is never established leaving you to make your own assumptions. From what you learn of the girl's past, I took it to be a civil war ravaged African country. But in the end the setting is purposefully irrelevant so as to focus purely on the two characters and their story.

Curiousity grips from the outset as the tale slowly, well I say slowly, it's a 45-minute play, unfolds. At first it is the lawyer doing most of the talking but as the girl gradually opens up unveiling the events that led up to 'the act' in a series of child-like stories.

She is obviously clever at times turning the tables on the lawyer forcing her to examine her own past.

Cusack is superb as you'd expect from such an experienced actress but all the plaudits must go to young actor Bennett-Warner who gives a performance of such raw emotion it is gripping to watch.  She is surely a talent to watch.

11-Sandi Toksvig My only slight criticism is the script jars a little to start with, giving the actors lines that don't feel quite natural to the setting and characters but it quickly finds its feet.

And so there was all that marvellous drama and acting to watch and then the celebs. First of all Michael Grandage was having a bite to eat in the bar beforehand - he didn't hang around for the Q&A though. Which comes on to the second spot: Sandi Toksvig. Not technically a spot as she was there working, introducing the play and then leading the short Q&A with Frank McGuinness afterwards.

244.irons.jeremy.021407 I've long been an admirer of Toksvig, ever since she presented on one of my favourite TV programmes as a child, No. 73. I'm sure she'll be chuffed to bits that that is what I associate her with most!

And finally, drawing attention to himself by wearing sunglasses indoors in a way that only celebs seem to think is fit was Jeremy Irons. My theatre buddy Poly reliably informs me that he is married to Cusack which probably explains why he was there.

After all that Frank McGuinness was a pleasant little petit four. Interestingly in the Q&A he said that he never steers the casting of any of his work and leaves it entirely up to the director. If Crocodile was to be performed again, and I hope it is, it opens up a whole raft of possibilities and spins on the story depending on who is cast.

Crocodiles will be performed and broadcast live on Sky Arts 2 on Wednesday at 9pm.