Reviews

REVIEW HIGHLIGHTS

Here is a collection of press reviews about Sally’s work in front of and behind the camera to date.

The reviews have been collected from various sources – both online and IRL – from numerous countries, but predominately Australia, the UK & USA.

They cover her work as an actor on stage and screen and her work as a writer/director for film, TV and theatre.

Many of these pull quotes come from articles and full reviews that are also listed on the Press section of this website, with links to the original source.

PHOTO: Billy Smedley and Sally McLean on the set during filming of Dark Arcadia. Photo by Allena Tran.

"... actors Sarah Hallam, Sally McLean, Paul Rochford and Phoebe Anne Taylor are all seasoned professionals who are so highly trained that each of them are also actor trainers ... the performances were engaging ... McLean plays four other characters who serve to interrupt, comment on and move the action along. Her reading of the sleazy bartender called the Flamingo was hilarious and pretty much stole the show."

Dark Stories

Review of reading of a fish is not a friend by Phoebe Anne Taylor

"One of my laugh out loud moments from this episode was with the police chief (Christopher Kirby) and his female offsider (Sally McLean) watching the morning breakfast show massacre and (McLean's) dry delivery of "Anything for ratings.". Such a huge commentary on television generally, and the perceived amped up need from networks for sex and violence on our screens to get viewers - all delivered in one line through script and deft comic performance. (Could also be seen as a bit meta and self-deprecating for the show itself). Love those moments in this series, which could be seen as total throwaway, but really say volumes about the world in general. This episode had a great script and great direction ... Also great actors in all roles - big and small."

Den Of Geek

Review of Season 4, Episode 9 of Preacher – AMC/Sony

“Even with all this going on, the words still take centre stage. Thanks to this (as well as incendiary performances from Sally McLean as Kate and Miguel Perez as Petruchio), I really felt like I got a completely new insight into their relationship, and particularly the character of Katharina. She can be portrayed as a broken woman, beaten & psychologically abused into submission, but equally she could just have quickly learned how to ‘play the game’ and found ways of making it work for her; that McLean had Petruchio kiss her on the cheek rather than give in and kiss him to me suggests that Kate has him under her power in at least a small way.”

Mind The Blog (London Theatre Bloggers)

Review of The Taming of The Shrew by The Show Must Go Online

“… a polished, beautifully made series from director/producer Sally McLean … A fine use of the platform and, more importantly, a very fine adaptation of the Bard … Shakespeare Republic is put together with grace and wit. An assortment of actors do terrific work making the (non-dumbed down) dialogue accessible, prying it open with great care and skill.” 

Dark Stories

Review of Shakespeare Republic Season Two 

Sally McLean as “Val Crane”, the embittered aunt of the lead character (Tess), found tremendous light and shade in a role that could have easily been played on the one angry note. Instead of taking that obvious road, she showed her depth of talent, giving Val a compelling complexity and believability while negotiating some very tricky plot points, which a lesser actor would have found impossible to navigate with any truth. (Not to give any spoilers, but the moment I found myself forming tears – a rare occurrence for me in the theatre – was watching McLean in her final scene).”

Theatre Alive!

Review of Flame Trees performed at TheatreWorks

“The cast were all strong performers, playing their well-drawn characters with truth and believability, but the standouts were … Sally McLean (“Katherine”)who drew an achingly beautiful and entirely convincing portrait of a woman in crisis and conflict, caught between her love for and abject fear of a brutal husband.

Theatre Australia

Review of Chasing Pegasus (a play in ten chords) performed at Gasworks

“The three women barely interact; they do not look at each other; they address the audience with emotion charged eloquence. Their movements are stylised and highly expressive, complementing the text … Sally McLean as the ‘Nurse’ – which also means a kind of choric narrator as well – carries and expounds the text in a mellifluous voice with great confidence, authority and a feel for the timing of the rhetoric.  … beautiful, disciplined performances …”

Stage Whispers

Review of The Medea Project performed at Brunswick Arts Space

“Laugh-out-loud funny at times, with clever direction and brilliant performances from a strong ensemble of actors … Highlights: Sally McLean as “Dowsabel” (her commitment to character and belief in the world on stage makes her a joy to watch) … Don’t miss this show. Five out of five stars.”

Beat Magazine

Review of The Comedy of Errors performed by the Australian Shakespeare Company at the Royal Botanic Gardens

“… an excellent night’s entertainment. Laughs galore, strong comedic acting – altogether a really tight show. All the cast’s performances were delightful … the two actors that had the toughest job as far as the laugh lines department goes – Bruce Woolley as “Glen” and Sally McLean as “Marissa” – shone for me, both making what could have been the most bland of lines funny.

CitySearch Reviews

Review of Lovepuke performed at the Mechanics Institute Performing Arts Centre

"McLean's combined expertise is on full display in Shakespeare Republic, which features both a critical eye and ear to Shakespeare's text, and high production values ... The vignettes are themselves a metaphorical gauntlet thrown down to the viewer, daring them to imagine what a full production in this world might look like ... Perhaps the highest compliment I can pay any artist is that they left me wanting more, and Shakespeare Republic has done exactly that."

Borrowers And Lenders: The Journal Of Shakespeare And Appropriation, UK

Review of Shakespeare Republic Season One & Two 

"The final episode of the series features director McLean interpreting the famous “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow” speech from act five of Macbeth. McLean’s decision to shorten the name of Macbeth in this episode to the more contemporary nickname “Mac” serves to emphasize the cross-temporal resonance of the ideas expressed in these lines, how the mourning of a Scottish King can speak just as strongly to our current moment as it did to Jacobean audiences … The poignancy of this episode comes from the juxtaposition of McLean’s affecting performance with the ambient noise in the background of the world attempting to return to some semblance of normalcy after months of lockdown … as the speech reaches its bitter climax, there’s a sense that, moving forward, society will have to incorporate both of these realities: the understanding that life must go on but also the knowledge that (at least for the moment) we must continue to live with a virus that continues to isolate many of us from our loved ones."

Shakespeare Bulletin, USA

Review of Shakespeare Republic Season Three 

"Arguably, the most celebrated example of Shakespeare in Pieces is Sally McLean's multi-award-winning Shakespeare Republic: #AlltheWebsAStage (The Lockdown Chronicles), a web series edition of her existing Australian television series filmed and edited during the pandemic ... 'Twenty four souls, six cities - one shared experience of being human', declares the tagline of The Lockdown Chronicles' cinema-style poster, capturing the essence of Shakespeare in Pieces, and indeed Lockdown Shakespeare, more widely."

"Lockdown Shakespeare: New Evolutions In Performance And Adaptation" published by Arden Shakespeare & Bloomsbury Press, UK

Review of Shakespeare Republic Season Three 

 … immensely enjoyable … wonderfully realistic … refreshing … The cast played their well defined characters superbly without exception … (the dramatic events in the film) were handled both by the cast and writers with skill and sensitivity.”

BBC Film

Review of A Little Rain Must Fall premiere at Ealing Studios, London

The cast are all superb actors … Judith (played by Sally McLean), starts off as a likable, genuine character … McLean gave the character great vulnerability and depth, as well as being convincing as an early sufferer of MS …”

Theatre Talk

Review of The Clairvoyant performed at Kingston Arts Centre

Elsie, Anne’s sister was given a good all round performance by Sally McLean. Elsie was a worrier when it came to her sister’s idea of fun and particularly with an American serviceman. Sally handled the character with finesse.

Stage Whispers

Review of P.S. I Love You performed at Mt Martha House

“… an utterly convincing performance as the old Scottish King, belying the fact that McLean is not only young and a woman, but also Australian.

Time Out London

Review of Macbeth performed at Duke of Cambridge, London

“… strong performances from a cast containing many familiar faces from Australian television … engaging … insightful … if you’re in the mood for some dramatic theatre with interesting characters, inspiring stories and a feel-good, uplifting message, Chasing Pegasus provides an ultimately engaging hour of theatre.

3RRR FM

Review of Chasing Pegasus (a play in ten chords) performed at Gasworks

The cast were superb, all of them giving strong performances, particularly Rebecca Nunn, Joanna Goodchild, James Buckley and Sally McLean.”

IMDB

Review of A Little Rain Must Fall premiere at Ealing Studios, London

“The artists: Sonya Kerr, Amy Felman, Lily Frances, Katie Boon, Caroline Lloyd and Sally McLean. The girls worked well together with no hesitation in their performances. Emotions ranged from comedy to grief , drama and dance, all done with ease and professionalism.”

Stage Whispers

Review of The Auxilary by Phrankly Theatre

“… magnificent interpretations of some of Shakespeare’s most well known monologues and soliloquies filmed gorgeously in contemporary settings.” 

Theater People USA

Review of Shakespeare Republic Season Two 

“… confronting, thought provoking and engaging … plenty of laughs as well … a great balance … I have gained a great respect for the writer/director, Sally McLean and the talented cast she has assembled, of which she is also a member … an experience that shouldn’t be missed.

Theatre Alive!

Review of Chasing Pegasus (a play in ten chords) performed at Gasworks

“… taking the world by storm, done in an inventive, captivating way … the entire series is astonishingly smart.”

Stareable.com

Review of Shakespeare Republic Season Two 

“… Last night’s opening performance was perfectly professional, with deft hands evident in acting, directing, musical direction and design. Each of the cast members (Matt Hetherington, Sally McLean, Tim Wood and Elizabeth O’Hanlon) sang and acted well. Even the radio mikes worked …”

3RRR FM

Review of the professional Australian premiere of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change performed at the Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne

“… beautifully produced soliloquies from Shakespeare’s most famous characters, interpreted by a wide range of talented actors.”

Shakespeare Twentyscore

Review of Shakespeare Republic Season Two 

” … Shakespeare Republic … a series of stand-alone episodes, each one featuring one of Shakespeare’s monologues or sonnets, with a slightly modern twist … a sophisticated twenty-first century series with its own particularly Australian flavour.

The Shakespeare Blog

Review of Shakespeare Republic Season One 

“… incredibly clever and highly addictive …”

3RRR FM

Review of Shakespeare Republic Season One 

“… a tightly written and superbly acted piece that explored the difficulties of being a twenty-something living in London in the last throes of the 20th Century. Very similar to the Australian television series “The Secret Life of Us” (which aired here on Channel 4 in 2001), this film is funny, touching, absorbing and confronting. The relationships between the characters are raw and realistic – sometimes disturbingly so.”

IMDB

Review of A Little Rain Must Fall premiere at Ealing Studios, London

“… Sally McLean has managed to put screen adaptations of Shakespeare back on the map …”

Realist Web Fest, Europe