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Reviews – Fight Direction

Sweat – The Royal Exchange, Manchester

“It’s worth also noting the work of Kaitlin Howard the fight and intimacy director. The visceral act of violence near the conclusion of the play was so well done that the audience audibly gasped. Rarely have I seen stage violence done so effectively.”

Rob Williams, Manchester Evening News, April 2024.

“These actions lead to a highly charged and electric fight scene, directed by fight and intimacy director Kaitlin Howard. It is so realistic that you’d be forgiven for squirming in your seat.  There is so much going on, and watching how the fight slowly builds from a few shoves and pushes into devastating punches, kicks, baseball bat beatings, heads being smashed into tables as we see teeth and blood fly across the stage, and the part that made everyone recoil and wince out loud at its realistic nature was the head butt, complete with a sickening skull crack echoing around the theatre.  It was so slick and so multi layered that I applaud Kaitlin Howard and the cast for their impressive trust and team work with each other.”

Karen Ryder, ManchesterTheatres.com, April 2024.

“In the electric fight scene, watchful eyes peered over the gallery and audience members in the round dodged stumbling actors. The space was used to its full potential.”

Lauren Chadwick, Voice Magazine, April 2024.

“Kaitlin Howard’s fight choreography is brutal and savage and the actors performing it are stunning.”

Lou Kershaw, northwestend.co.uk, April 2024.

“The second part opens with a flash-forward […] culminating in a fight scene (beautifully choreographed by Kaitlin Howard) that is rather reminiscent of a saloon brawl in a B-movie Western.”

Robert Beale, theatrereviewsnorth.com, April 2024.

“…the shocking climax [is] expertly crafted by fight director Kaitlin Howard.

Jay Nuttall, thereviewshub.com, April 2024.

“A mention too to Kaitlin Howard’s fight direction for creating a vicious bar brawl which had many in the audience wincing and looking away.”

Paul Foley, Morning Star, April 2024.

“…the fight scene in front of my stage-level eyes, took my breath away. Like a viewer of close-up magic trying to catch the moment where the illusion takes place, I found myself flinching, gasping and wholly suspending disbelief as each blow landed on stage.”

Honorary Manc Blog, April 2024.

Macbeth (an undoing) – Rose Theatre Kingston, Edinburgh Lyceum & Theatre for a New Audience, New York

“Without revealing any spoilers, the trigger warning of “references to violence” is an understatement. Thanks to Kaitlin Howard’s fight and intimacy direction, the action unfolding onstage is shocking, not only because of what is literally depicted, but also because it happens in front of an audience that watches passively. Such is the desensitisation of the modern viewer that makes this play’s themes all the more crucial.”

Vic Chen, Curtain Call Reviews, March 2024.

Sleeping Beauty, The Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto – Theatr Clwyd

“… Kaitlin Howard’s fight sequences are showcased to their full width and breadth, resulting in a full scale spectacle.”

Gill Lewis, The Reviews Hub, December 2023.

Macbeth –The RSC

“The fight scene at the end between […] Macduff and Macbeth is brutal, detailed and probably the best version of this I’ve seen, with outstanding commitment from both actors. My companion remarked to me “it makes you realise how long it takes to actually kill someone” and this scene was a horrifying highlight…”

Rebecca Morris, eastmidlandstheatre.com, August 2023.

“The final fight between Macbeth and Macduff is long and drawn out and it is wonderful. It properly gives a sense of how long it takes someone to die. It is brutal, it is never-ending, and Joseph and Anton both perform it brilliantly.”

Thomas Morley, brokenlegsblog.co.uk, August 2023.

“The final duel with Macduff is brutal, raw and protracted.”

Kyle Pedley, enjoy-things.com, August 2023.

“The production’s ability to convey violence and brutality is also well delivered […] the atrocity of the murder of Macduff’s wife and children at the hands of Macbeth’s hitmen is exploited to the full, with puppetry used to animate her brood.”

Jessica Harris, The Birmingham Press, August 2023.

“The slaying of Macduff’s wife and children is engrossingly hard-hitting too, even with puppets used to depict the tiniest kids. It still sends a shudder down the spine. Even Macbeth gets an overly gruesome come-uppence as he’s pulled away into the darkness by Macduff in cinematic fashion.”

Alison Brinkworth, Birmingham Live, August 2023.

“…the heart wrenching scene of the death of Lady Macduff, played by Emma King, and her children was beautifully directed and you could almost hear the gasps of shock as the scene unfolded.”

Kat Fuller, boxofficeradio.com, August 2023.

The Chester Mystery Plays 2023 

“Play Three is Cain and Abel. Envious of God accepting Abel’s sacrifice but refusing his own, Cain kills his brother. The fight, directed by Kaitlin Howard, is terrific.”

Chris Wallis, Northern Soul, July 2023.

“If you’re a fan of Tarantino, there are some gut-wrenching, and heart-breaking scenes involving much bloodshed and tears. A well choreographed knife fight between Cain and Abel is gripping and energetic. The killing of the first-borns is pretty traumatic with Herod’s soldiers chasing fleeing women and children, the screams echoing and piercing […] Then there is the crucifixion, of course. Following the scourging, the application of the crown of thorns, and the endless jeering from his tormentors […] this is a momentous experience.”

Brian Gorman, The Reviews Hub, July 2023.

“The gang of sinister women in red robes beating up the captured Jesus was a highly memorable scene, with the madness in their eyes eerily effective.”

 The Chester Blog, July 2023.

LEAR – HER Productions

“The fight scenes are convincing, while the body count grows with great gusto. Hopefully it is not too much of a spoiler to say that a stiletto heel finally appears and lives up to its original derivation.”

Linda Isted, theatrereviewsnorth.com, June 2023.

“Fight Director Kaitlin Howard has been busy with some full-on fist fights, stranglings and a particularly gory eye gouging. The cast really go for it, making everything horribly believable.”

Jo Beggs, thereviewshub.com, June 2023.

“The showdown between Edgar and Edmund is ferocious, including a very impressive flying kick to the head…”

David Cunningham, The British Theatre Guide, June 2023.

Lucrezia Borgia – English Touring Opera

“There’s not space here to mention every aspect of this wonderful production but special appreciation should be made of the fiery fight scenes that were beautifully choreographed and delivered.”

Anne Cee, elementarywhatson.com, May 2023.

Robin Hood and The Babes in The Wood – Oldham Coliseum Theatre

“The final fight scene is expertly choreographed by Kaitlin Howard to create a sense of slap-stick chaos.”

Carmel Thomason, quayslife.com, November 2022.

Romeo & Juliet – Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre, Chester

“It’s easy to become hot-headed and intemperate under a burning sun. Shakespeare’s simmering tensions burst into fight scenes – crisply choreographed by Kaitlin Howard – which are realistically sudden, brutal and messy. Threats are spat out; knives pulled, chairs overturned and punches landed with a robustness that provokes audible gasps from the audience.”

Catherine Jones, The Stage, July 2022.

“There are some almost balletic fight scenes involving male and female players too; no simpering girls on the sidelines here.”

Richard Evans, theatrereviewsnorth.com, July 2022.

“…there is an undoubtedly vicious side to this production and Kaitlin Howard deserves huge credit for her direction of some brutal skirmishes.”

Dave Jennings, British Theatre Guide, July 2022.

The Jungle Book –The Dukes Theatre, Lancaster at Williamson’s Park

“…some impressive fight choreography is also nicely judged for a family audience.”

Stephen Longstaffe, The Stage, July 2022.

Habibti Driver – Bolton Octagon

“Kaitlin Howard’s fight direction gives us one of the most memorable scenes as tensions between Ashram and Yusuf boil over, leading to an immensely enjoyable physical struggle over Ashram’s cab.”

Lou Steggals, northwestend.co.uk, April 2022.

“A superbly staged extended fight between Dana Haqjoo and Hemi Yeroham removes any dignity from their characters and reduces the conflict between the brothers to a childish playground spat.”

David Cunningham, The Reviews Hub, April 2022.

Aladdin – Oldham Coliseum

“… a delightfully bonkers stage fight.”

Yakub Qureshi, Manchester Evening News, November 2021.

“A scene that stood out for me was the end fight scene, it was very well done and you can tell it was crafted by an excellent fight director.”

Bethany Suthers, number9reviews.com, November 2021.

King Lear – Here To There Productions

“Mark Topping’s Gloucester plays our heart strings. His blinding is a well manoeuvred ensemble event. In this wine bar world, a corkscrew does the trick and wine glasses display the trophies. It’s pretty convincing. You may wish to look away.”

Chris Eldon Lee, Shropshire Event Guide, June 2021.

The Thunder Girls –The Quays Theatre, The Lowry

“Anita, played by Coleen Nolan, doesn’t appear until the of the first act, walking into the dinner to see Chrissie (Carol Harrison) and Roxanne (Beverly Callard) trying to beat the hell out of each other in a spectacularly dramatic and over the top catfight.”

Kelly McFarland, celebmix.com, September 2019.

“With punches thrown, dresses torn and extensions ripped out, the audience are left howling with laughter.”

Daniel Falconer, femalefirst.co.uk, September 2019.

All Female Hamlet –Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester

“This is a highly physical production concluding with a very convincing duel.”

David Cunningham, www.britishtheatreguide.info, May 2019.

Macbeth –The Epstein Theatre, Liverpool

“Kaitlin has created many stunning, realistic scenes. A highlight is a beheading to behold which would not look out of place in a Hammer Horror film.”

Peter Grant, The Wirral Globe, March 2019.

“The murder scene was particularly powerful.”

Alison Jones, writebase.co.uk, March 2019.

“The true climax of the show came in the form of the use of physical drama. Macbeth is a physically strong play, and the use of stage combat cannot be ignored. The cast and production team have truly risen to this and each one of the scenes and fights had me worried that someone might genuinely find themselves hurt because of a metal broadsword.”

Aiden Bungay, number9reviews.com, March 2019.

A Skull in Connemara –Oldham Coliseum

“Fight Choreographer Kaitlin Howard made excellent use of the talented cast, the brawls that broke out consumed the stage with chaos, shockingly authentic but it was evident the actors were in control and safe and it was easy to enjoy the well portrayed violence.”

Kerry Ely, number9reviews.com, February 2019.

Romeo and Juliet – Girl Gang Manchester

“The fights, directed by Kaitlin Howard, are impressively realised and performed with real conviction.”

David Chadderton, www.britishtheatreguide.info, June 2018

“…the fights were well choreographed and outstandingly executed by the cast.”

Sam Lowe, number9reviews.com, June 2018

“This is a vibrant exciting production with Kaitlin Howard’s fight scenes so powerful as to make anyone in the front row a little nervous.”

David Cunningham, The Manchester Theatre Awards, June 2018

King Lear – The Cambridge Shakespeare Festival

“Regan, with Cornwall, has the dubious honour of the scene where they put out Gloucester’s eyes; always one of the most painful things to watch in Shakespeare. It’s just an horrific moment. Gloucester’s back was to us, thankfully, but the eye scene was gripping and horrific in another sense by the sheer effort that it took Cornwall to get the eyes out, then the display of the long trailing bits behind the eye… it really makes you shudder. […] I’m struggling for adjectives because the scene was very effective, but something most of us would rather never see!”

Andy Muir, Shakespeare In Cambridge Review (audio transcription), August 2017

The Trial – People Zoo

“Titorelli will only disclose information about the court if K. beats the three girls, one for each type of acquittal. After all, reasons Titorelli, if K. is innocent he will do anything to escape the court’s clutches. It is one of the most disturbing and powerful scenes I have seen on stage for some time. Titorelli jovial, the girls begging for mercy and K. crying as he continues to beat them.”

Tristan Burke, The Manchester Review, January 2017

“…the stage combat is particularly assured […] The scene in which K is instructed to beat three teenage girls in order to prove his innocence is particularly chilling.”

Philip Caveney, www.bouquetsbrickbatsreviews.com, August 2016

“…there are plenty of scenes of […] physical torture, abuse and the odd bit of strangulation thrown in for good measure. A very large knife adds to the frightening and disturbing climax to this amazing theatrical presentation.”

David Chriscole, July 2016

“It is a very physical production and, again, the mood switches from humour towards fear as clownish fight scenes lose their cartoon aspect and become realistically disturbing depictions of abuse.”

David Cunningham, The Manchester Theatre Awards, July 2016

Welcome To Thebes –Manchester School of Theatre

“During a deadlock in which lots of different people were holding many others at gun point there was a real sense of threat in the air, something quite hard to achieve and expertly done.”

Charlotte Green, northwestend.co.uk, February 2016

Oliver Twist – Ribcaged Productions

“Choreographer and Fight Co-ordinator Kaitlin Howard deserves a special mention, as do the cast involved […], as the fight and other action scenes were very realistic. The scene where Fagin instructs his young charges in scarf stealing was particularly entertaining.”

Fiona Finch, Clitheroe Advertiser & Times. Longridge and Ribble Valley News. October 2011

The Newark Passion – 2B Theatre

“Wow. That one word sums up the stunning piece of theatre that was The Newark Passion […] the fight in the garden and Jesus being hit was wonderfully staged – well done to the choreographer.”

J. McConnell, Newark Advertiser, April 2011

King Lear – 2B Theatre

“The fights are brilliantly done and the scene where Cornwall (Gary Keane) plucks out Gloucester’s (David Hawley) eye and Regan (Kaitlin Howard) sticks a lighted fag in the other is a joy.”

Alan Geary, Nottingham Evening Post, February 2009

Les Misérables le Panto! – Oddsocks Productions

“The fight scenes, choreographed by Kaitlin Howard, were stunning.”

Julia Pattison, The Pocklington Post, December 2008

Killer Joe – The Comedian’s Theatre Company

“Following a shockingly realistic beating comes the bloodbath that makes Hamlet look like a vicarage tea party.”

Victor Hallett, OnstageScotland, August 2007