4.1 (10) · New Writing, Contemporary

Who can be trusted when everyone is listening?

“Set in East Berlin at the height of the Cold War, this tense thriller comes to us from one of Britain’s most exciting playwrights, Ella Hickson. Her last play, ‘The Writer’, was a somewhat controversial hit at the Almeida in 2018. This time she’s teamed up with sound designers Ben and Max Ringham to create an immersive audio feast. Through a soundproof wall of glass, we watch a cocktail unfold. But through a set of headphones, we listen only to the dialogue that the character Anna can hear. This clever set up makes the ensuing hour an incredibly intimate and voyeuristic experience. It’s almost completely sold out but new tickets are made available each week in the NT’s Friday Rush.”
Lyn Gardner avatar
16 May 2019  ·  Follow on Stagedoor
“Nothing is ever quite what it seems in this crafty and clever collaboration between Ella Hickson and sound designers Ben and Max Ringham. Directed by Natalie Abrahami, it tells of Anna and her husband Hans living in East Berlin in 1968. She has a good job as a teacher and he has just been promoted. The future looks secure. But is it secure enough? Hickson’s intelligent writing and long view of history combined with smart use of technology make this a gripping evening.”


Anna and Hans are married, in love and moving up in the world – but it is a world ruled by suspicion. Who can be trusted when everyone is listening?

Created by playwright Ella Hickson (The Writer) and sound designers Ben and Max Ringham, this tense new thriller is directed by Natalie Abrahami (Machinal). It uses individual audio headsets to give the audience intimate access to events as they unfold over one evening, in East Berlin.

Can we ever escape our past?

Critic reviews

An intense, slickly staged, Le Carré-esque spy thriller experienced via headphones

The Stage

Some of the storytelling is wildly improbable, with mind-boggling coincidences that really strain credulity

The Arts Desk

A slip of a thing at only one hour, Anna is nevertheless a layered, engrossing and remarkable piece


Without Fox the production would be something lesser; with her, it’s an absolute ride

The Upcoming

This production creates an impressively unique experience with its tinny soundtrack of domestic surveillance; one that feels at once innovative and new, and completely of the Cold War era

London Theatre

Tale of spies, lies and secrets is frustratingly sketchy

Evening Standard

Ella Hickson’s inventive thriller turns the audience into spies behind a glass wall, with fascinating but flawed results

The Guardian

Nothing is ever quite what it seems in this crafty and clever collaboration between Ella Hickson and sound designers Ben and Max Ringham

Lyn Gardner for Stagedoor

An ersatz Cold War thriller

The Telegraph

Ella Hickson’s flashy East Germany-set thriller is slick but hollow

Time Out

Anna makes spies of us all. It sounds riveting

The Times

Date & time

Show ended
Sat 11 May - Sat 15 Jun, 3pm, 6.30pm, 7pm, 7.30pm & 8.45pm


South Bank SE1 9PX London, UK · Get Directions
out of 5 stars
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