Woke, Battersea Arts Centre

Image result for woke apphia campbell

by Laura Kressly

After graduating from City College of New York in the 1960s, Assata Shakur joined the Black Panther Party. In 2014, after enrolling at Washington University in St Louis weeks after unarmed teenager Michael Brown was killed by a white police officer in the same city, Ambrosia starts going to Black Lives Matter rallies. Moved by injustice decades apart, the two Black women are subjected to systemic racism and violence in their pursuit of freedom. Apphia Campbell performs them both, embodying their passion and anger through storytelling and song, in this lightning-strike of a show.

Continue reading

J’ouvert, Theatre503

32505A0C-FD3B-48A2-86DA-88FE24A1E87B

By Laura Kressly

Over the August bank holiday weekend, people of West Indian heritage have been celebrating their history and culture in the face of racial oppression since the 1960s. Bright colours, elaborate costumes, loud music, dancing, and lashings of rum mark the Carnival that’s now one of the largest in the world. In her female-led, debut play taking place over a day at Notting Hill Carnival, Yasmin Joseph pays homage to the people, young and old, that make up the event’s vibrant landscape and give it its soul.

Continue reading

Are There Female Gorillas?, Camden People’s Theatre

0e43538c-a00f-4ab2-8126-3444ca752f0b-e1559496185556.jpeg

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.

Continue reading

Outrageous Fortune, Greenwich Theatre

Image result for woman wild swimming

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.

Continue reading

Harper Regan, Tabard Theatre

Image result for harper regan, theatre

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.

Continue reading

White Pearl, Royal Court

6D29BC21-0F87-4957-8E1B-D92072E730EE

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.

Continue reading