Wish List

Theatre, Drama
4 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
(2user reviews)
 (© Jonathan Keenan)
© Jonathan KeenanErin Doherty as Tamsin Carmody and Joseph Quinn as Dean Carmody
 (© Jonathan Keenan)
© Jonathan KeenanAleksandar Mikic as The Lead
 (© Jonathan Keenan)
© Jonathan KeenanErin Doherty as Tamsin Carmody and Joseph Quinn as Dean Carmody
 (© Jonathan Keenan)
© Jonathan KeenanErin Doherty
 (© Jonathan Keenan)
© Jonathan KeenanJoseph Quinn as Dean Carmody and Erin Doherty as Tamsin Carmody

A sad, beautiful drama about austerity Britain from new talent Katherine Soper.

Zero hours contracts – check. Government sanctions – check. Living with disability – check. Heartless, amoral, technocratic corporation that bears more than a little resemblance to a popular internet retailer – check. 

Young writer Katherine Soper’s first play ‘Wish List’ touches so many Serious Social Issues that by rights the whole thing should feel like hard work. And yet ‘Wish List’ is a wonderful, human play.

That’s mostly because Soper has written a truly beautiful central character in Tamsin, a 19-year-old who had been given the rawest of deals in life: mother dead, she is sole carer to her younger brother Dean, who had just been judged fit to work, despite being housebound with OCD. 

As performed by phenomonal newcomer Erin Doherty, Tamsin is shy, shattered, bright and witty. She left school with minimal qualifications and has now taken up a heartbreakingly awful zero hours job packing boxes for an internet company that sets brutal hourly targets (400 items packed) and has a Kafka-esque sanctions system for perceived slacking. It is awful, and things don’t greatly improve. But what Soper and Doherty show is the hope as well as the despair. Tamsin is crushed by the almost unbearable weight of her situation. Yet when she gets a moment’s slack, the person she could have been (and might still be) surges to the fore – her funny, tentative relationship with co-worker Luke is gentle, but it makes you almost giddy with relief (and manages to incorporate the a joyously random Meatloaf singalong).

Stylishly directed by Matthew Xia, ‘Wish List’ is further freed from kitchen sink drabness by Giles Thomas’s pulsing sound design and Ana Ines Jabares-Pita’s superb conveyor belt set. 

‘Wish List’ is sad and upsetting, condemnatory of the way in which automated systems replace humanity. But it’s not an angry rant, and ultimately it feels celebratory of humanity - society may be fucked, but people are still decent.

Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

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Anyone who's been to the upstairs of the Royal Court knows that the plays rarely disappoint. With the ever-changing setting, no two play feels similar, and by always positioned in a different corner of the space, you really are able to forget where you are.

Much like with Wish List, which transports you into the all too realistic world of a packaging factory, combined with a small studio flat. Tamsin and Dean's story is a sad one, combining overworking, trauma, joy, heartbreak, sadness and Meatloaf. There's much to love about the play - inredibly well acted, with minimalist design that is just enough to get sucked in completely, and good use of space.

Erin's ability to look sad even when she's smiling is especially grabbing. Even in the happy moments, you can see the tears hidden in her face, and that is a rare and outstanding ability. 

One hour and 40 minutes without interval, Wish List is yet another heartbreaking, joyful and all too realistic play definitely worth seeing. Don't forget to have a glass of red before and after, you'll probably need it. Highly recommended.


A play about being stuck in a rut of a job that is truly demoralising, and yet seek comradeship with your work colleagues in your suffering. Very well acted by the cast, especially Tasmin who I really felt for. She is very bright but doesn't have the time to display it as she has to look after her OCD brother. Money comes before studying, leaving a dismayed Tasmin to face a bleak future.