Are There Female Gorillas?, Camden People’s Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

The patriarchy has a lot to answer for, including what must be a ridiculous profit margin for the hair removal industry. Women have had it drilled into them, both explicitly and subconsciously, that having body hair is ugly and dirty. So we wax, shave, epilate, thread and laser ourselves to smoothness – and ingrown hairs, razor burn, and expense. Gorilla, the alter-ego of Girl, is sick of it.

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Outrageous Fortune, Greenwich Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

It’s 2019 and we’re in purgatory. Some (many?) might say hell, considering the late capitalist nightmare and and rise of right-wing extremism, but Gertrude, former Queen of Denmark, has assured us we’ve arrived in purgatory and will shortly be assigned to our own, personal patches of dusty, red rock.

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Harper Regan, Tabard Theatre

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by Amy Toledano

Last performed at the National Theatre, Simon Stephen’s Harper Regan is great at making an audience uncomfortable. His drawn-out scenes build tension to the point that it is totally unbearable, and Contentment Productions bring their own sense of intensity to this writing that for the most part works, but can sometimes feel slightly tired and draining for the audience.

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Does My Bomb Look Big in This?, Soho Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Aisha and Morgan have to go to school one day in August, like almost every other 16-year-old in the country, to collect their GCSE results. Their school is different from the rest of the country’s though – news teams are at the gates of Mitcham High reporting on the recent disappearance of Yasmin Sheikh, dubbed ‘terror baby’ by the Home Secretary. Frustrated with her best friend’s depiction in the media and the way she has been treated by the police after Yasmin left for Syria, Aisha is determined to tell the story of the girl behind the headlines and enlists Morgan’s help.

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White Pearl, Royal Court

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by Laura Kressly

Sometimes writing reviews is easy. Thoughts are fully-formed, and words that convey them easily flow onto the page. Sometimes, it’s the opposite. Writing about complex plays full of culturally sensitive material requires a lot of care and awareness, both of the critic’s position in the world, and their relationship with the content of the play. It’s a reflective, delicate process that isn’t and shouldn’t be easy for those in positions if privilege.

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Hotter, Soho Theatre

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by Christina Bulford

How well do you know your inner critic? When you look in the mirror, what does she or he whisper in your ear, or shout loudly in your face? “Too fat! Too skinny! Too jiggly! Not hot enough!” Ell Porter and Mary Higgins have not only listened to these voices, they’ve let them out of their heads and, unabashed, onto the stage – from fat to fitness, men to menopause, dildos to doctor’s surgeries, periods to poo and all the body bits in between. As former lovers they claim to know each other extremely well, inside and out, and go to great lengths to get to the bottom of all this body-business. Pun absolutely intended.

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Why the Child is Cooking in the Polenta, Gate Theatre

by Louis Train

Why the Child is Cooking in the Polenta is an odd show, odder even than the name promises. Edith Alibec stars as a young Romanian woman, pre-pubescent in the earliest scenes, who grows up in a traveling circus where her mother hangs from the big top by her hair. The play is based on Aglja Veteranyi’s autobiographical novel of the same name.

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Funeral Flowers, The Bunker

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by Laura Kressly

CW: rape and sexual assault

Making a bouquet of flowers is more than just bunging some random blooms in a vase. It takes care, thoughtfulness, skill and time to craft something beautiful and unique. People need that same sort of care and nurturing too, especially children and teenagers. This high stakes, solo performance shows the pressures that young women encounter daily, and how much they need support to grow and flourish in a world that is out to exploit them.

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Wolfie, Theatre503

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by Laura Kressly

Britain is a nasty, hostile landscape of bureaucracy for children in care. Their lives are at the mercy of under-resourced local councils, overworked social workers and teachers, and a hegemonic class system that sees them as unwelcome, sub-human burdens. The Sharky twins, the heroes of Ross Willis’ “some sort of fairytale”, fight to defy the government’s disregard for the hardship they endure and their odds of survival in this genre-bending, complex critique of the county’s failings to look after those who need it most.

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10, Vault Festival

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by Laura Kressly

It’s no secret that history has been written by rich white men, and anyone not a rich white man is sidelined in textbooks and scholarship. Though institutions are starting to decolonise and de-centre the narrative that is widely taken as fact, women still aren’t getting the attention they deserve and change is slow. In 10, playwright Lizzie Milton wants to redress the balance. The potted stories of 10 women who have been largely forgotten in the passage of time unfold in choral celebration, serving to both educate and enlighten audiences.

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