For the Past 30 Years, Birmingham Rep, till 11th October

Birmingham
Play: For The Past 30 Years.
Six monologues researched and written by Naylah Ahmed, Stephanie Dale, Katy Knight, Stephanie Ridings, Hannah Silva and Polly Wright.
The Door: Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

Tkts: 0121 236 4455
www.birmingham-rep.co.uk
Runs: 1 h 30m: 9th – 11th October
Start: 8.00 p.m.
Review: Jan Pick: 9.10.14

Women at Work. – Stories that need to be told.
Rooted in the workplace, these six monologues reflect the experiences of women involved in the same professions for the last thirty years and traces the changes brought into their working lives through the introduction of new technologies, the eroding of the personal – the shift from public to private – and explores how their experiences have affected the passions and values they started out with all those years ago.

Janice Connelly is outstanding as Jacqui the retiring teacher on her last day at school – summing up the frustrations of experience ignored, trampled by uncaring ‘faces’ taking charge, and still rebelling against the seemingly inevitable – with a wry and perceptive humour. Qualities also evident as Sue, the senior career nurse looking back over the changes in the NHS, acerbic and critical of the sloppy, yet with sympathy for the lack of funding and overstretched, tired members of her profession, struggling to deliver in an increasingly bureaucratic world.

Lorna Laidlaw gives a storming performance as Julia, the stroppy successful businesswoman, with no regrets – at least none she is admitting to – nicely balanced by her other character, a probation officer who has seen her ideals slowly eroded yet can still take comfort in her personal achievements. Hema Mangoo gives us a sympathetic insight into the world of theatre as Rita the wardrobe mistress, and the struggles of Maggie the carer.

Six women, all at a certain age, who have seen their careers and lives gradually change over the last thirty years and yet show their audience that they are still out there and to be counted! This is an evening of unalloyed enjoyment. The six monologues skilfully weave together, one scene melting into the next in an almost seamless transition, in a sharply observed, sensitive exploration of the six women – witty, bitter, poignant and wry – which struck a resounding chord with the audience, many of whom obviously recognising and relating to the characters and their experiences. For those at the start of their careers ‘For the Past 30 Years’ is an invaluable insight into the lives and feelings of those coming to the end of theirs, maybe alienated, maybe a bit cynical – yet, for the most part, with hope for the future still burning brightly.

The result is a fascinating, very funny and exhilarating piece of theatre.

Cast:
Sue/Jacqui: Janice Connolly
Julia/Viv: Lorna Laidlaw
Rita/Maggie: Hema Mangoo
Directors: Tessa Walker and Caroline Wilkes
Designer: Olly Shapley
Lighting Designer: Frances Rice
Stage Manager: Kate Hall
Operation: Alex Bosworth
Rep Production Manager: Tomas Wright
Film: Kate Green
Sound: Duncan Geimley
Photography: Graeme Braidwood
BSL (Friday Performance): Mary Connell

2014-10-12 12:06:45

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