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By Joe White
Imprint: Nick Hern Books
Paperback : 9781848427341, 88 pages, April 2018


Ben thinks his family might be better off without him, but his wife Cat has read her stars: 'Today a very special person will appear from out the blue.'

Their daughter Loops is getting ready for a date. It's her first one, and she has everything crossed.

An ethereal family drama, Joe White's debut play Mayfly explores rebirth in the aftermath of tragedy. It premiered at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, in April 2018, winning Joe White the Off-West End Award for Most Promising Playwright in 2019.


'This debut play crackles with unforced humour… White has the assurance of an Ayckbourn in saddling apparently 'ordinary' people with big problems and emotions, thus proving how far from ordinary they are, and he juggles tone and pacing like a veteran… a seriously promising start'

- The Times

'An affecting debut play... White has a great ear for the sharp and sometimes spiteful edges of grief'

- Time Out

'White has an ability to switch between sharp wit and pathos in a heartbeat... an impressive debut from a very promising writer'

- Broadway World

'Illuminates the darkness and longing of the loss of a loved one... it's also brilliantly funny. Even in the play's darkest moments, there are laugh-out-loud lines'

- WhatsOnStage

'A heartbreakingly funny debut… this is a tender and wise play suffused with grief and absence that scratches at the fragility of our existence and asks how we keep alive our memories of those we have lost. It's a play about people consumed by misery yet it is unexpectedly funny and – like its dented, broken characters – always likable'

- Guardian

'A triumph… a delicate and tender examination of rural isolation and familial grief'

- Evening Standard

'A show tinged with loss and a longing for past glories… for all the simmering emotion, however, it's not a maudlin piece; there's a surprising amount of laughs and Joe White's script delicately moves conversation from touching moment to humorous awkward exchange, each scene crafted to move the action of the day forward in a quirky but believable way'

- British Theatre Guide

'A special play... there is an honesty to White's writing, and a willingness to put his heart on the line'

- Exeunt Magazine