Boots by Sacha Voit and Jessica Butcher
The Bunker (Short walk from London Bridge Station) until 16th March, Relaxed Performances Saturday 2nd March, 3pm and Wednesday 6th March, 7.30pm
75 minutes, no interval
Veronica Stein, February 22nd, 2019
Boots is an omnipresent word really, there is one of the pharmacies on every other corner. It hardly seems like the place where major connections can be made. Boots at the Bunker in Southwark asks us to think again.
Willow (Tanya Loretta Dee) is a pharmacist at local Boots in Surrey. Alongside patiently attending to customers, no matter how timid or obnoxious, she is researching tree root communities for publication. As a new transplant to the town, her roots are elsewhere. Liz (Amanda Boxer), on the other hand, has lived here all of her life, her father planted a tree 8 decades prior in a neighbouring forest. She is incredibly impatient, whether it’s incontinence pads or vaseline, she needs them now- and she is often brash and spewing microaggressions as a result.
Though the two women are different in every which way -generationally, racially, and in personality- they find common ground. Once Liz has apologised for describing Willow as ‘not looking like a pharmacist’ as she is not a white man, they discover they are both obsessed with Willow’s namesake: trees. They can help to keep that forest from destruction and perhaps they can save each other from their traumatic pasts as well.
Boots is incredibly multilayered, exploring issues like feminism through an inter-generational lens, racial prejudice, and sexual violence. Voit and Butcher’s writing is clever and unexpected; Liz’s witticisms set the theatre ablaze with laughter. The darker moments, too, often manifesting as direct-address monologues, are never melodramatic, but rather poignant. The set design (Lia Waber) is varied too, splitting the stage between the clinical pharmacy and the earthy forest floor. Nadia Papachronopoulou’s direction brings out these elements and rightfully yields the focus to the greatest success: the performances. Dee is warm and weary in equal measure, her intelligence shines through as well as her sensitivity, while Boxer has fantastic timing and ebullience in spades.
Boots is a play of Boots and roots, illustrating our interconnectedness even in the unlikeliest of company. Expertly produced, it’ll make you feel better about our differences.
Liz: Amanda Boxer
Willow: Tanya Loretta Dee
Director: Nadia Papachronopoulou
Set and Costume Designer: Lia Waber
Lighting Designer: Jack Weir
Sound Designer: Chris Drohan
Movement Director: Quang Van
Photography: Tim Kelly