- as director, for [Caroline Horton] and [China Plate].
Mess preview, Warwick Arts Centre, photo: Alicja Rogalska

Mess preview, Warwick Arts Centre, photo: Alicja Rogalska

WINNER: Stage Awards for Acting Excellence - Best Ensemble

WINNER: Argus Angel

Time Out Critics Choice

Nominated: Off West End Awards - Best New Play

"...perilously close to genius...Alex Swift’s production is often funny, often painfully sad, and even more often has a knack of managing to be both at once." - Time Out **** [read more]

"one of the oddest, funniest, saddest pieces of theatre I’ve seen in some time... this show is beautiful, just the way it is" - Independent **** [read more]

"Caroline Horton's play about anorexia, confronts this "uncomfortable" illness to breathtaking effect...beautifully staged... It's an exuberant, engaging and above all, honest portrayal of anorexia and recovery." - Emma Woolf for The Times [read more] (paywall)

Must See Show "... moving and insightful but also full of humour and warmth." - The Stage[read more]

"by utilizing humour rather than bleakness, it illustrates a hopeful, moving struggle to step out from under the duvet and relinquish a little control on life. Because it is messy after all. But that mess can be beautiful, just like this production." - What's on Stage ***** [read more]

"This performance doesn’t just break down the fourth wall, it stampedes and tramples it to dust" - Three Weeks ***** [read more]

"...clever and wise... It is a tribute to Caroline Horton and her team of producers, her director and advisors that she has produced a play that, whilst not easy to hear, is a delight to watch." - Total Theatre Review [read more]

"It ought not to work, but it does, charmingly." - Financial Times **** [read more]

"...deceptively profund..." - The Evening Standard **** [read more]

"...sublime in its simplicity... startlingly honest..." - Fest Magazine **** [read more]

"...first and foremost aims to entertain, yet manages to educate as well..." - The F Word [read more]

"Mess is ferociously funny, staggeringly generous, compassionate and wise... brave, moving, uplifting and deeply, deeply hopeful. Unabashedly recommended." - Postcards from the Gods [read more]

"Very much a must-see." - Theatre Guide London *****  [read more]

"... relayed with a quintessentially English frothiness that channels Angela Carter by way of The Comic Strip's Famous Five pastiche" - The Herald **** [read more]

"Uncompromising but not morose, honest but also hilarious, this heartfelt play was a delight to watch." - The Public Reviews (London) **** [read more]

"life affirming" - The Public Reviews (Edinburgh) **** [read more]


"... funny though it is, Mess is a whole lot more serious than it makes out...  a touching insight into the cruel grip of an eating disorder...  one show about anorexia you could recommend to anyone" - Scotland on Sunday [read more]

"Mess’s bravery comes from its level-headed, even-handed candour. The brilliance comes from the opposition of form and content." - New Statesman [read more]

"'things aren’t perfect, they never are.' Mess comes joyously close" - Metro **** (not available online)

"truly special" - Broadway Baby ***** [read more]

"Caroline Horton’s Mess is a funny, bright and insightful drama about anorexia that will turn your preconceptions of the illness upside-down and back to front." - TV Bomb **** [read more]

Josephine is putting on a play – Boris and Sistahl help. It’s about anorexia. But don’t let that put you off. Unflinchingly they confront big issues (and extremely tiny ones).

Today they will tackle a particularly thin elephant in the room. Obsession, addiction, and not wanting to get out of bed: a play with songs from 2010 The Stage Best Solo Performer Award winner Caroline Horton (You’re Not Like The Other Girls Chrissy)

Mess ran at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, in August 2012 and is currently on tour.

Spring 2013 Tour

8-9 April
Parabola Arts Centre

10 April
Chipping Norton Theatre

11-12 April
the egg, Bath

15 April
The Octagon, Bolton

17-18 April
Lincoln Drill Hall

20 April
Cornerstone Arts Centre, Didcot

23-27 April
Bristol Old Vic

30 April-1 May
Live, Newcastle

2 May
Arc, Stockton-on-Tees

4-5 May
Nightingale Theatre, Brighton Fringe

7-9 May
Warwick Arts Centre

11 May
Jersey Arts Centre (tickets currently available through

14 May-1 June
Battersea Arts Centre

3 June
Pulse, Ipswich