by Kathryn O’Reilly.
Three Stars ***
Theatre 503, To 23 July
The Latchmere, 503 Battersea Park Road, London SW11 3BW to 23 July 2016.
Tues – Sat 7.45pm.
Run 80 mins No interval.
TICKETS: 020 7978 7040.
Review: William Russell 31 June.
Powerful tale about women screwing around
The legendary angry young men who used to dominate British playwriting would appear to have been replaced of late by angry young women. Two plays by women about working class women on the loose getting drunk, taking drugs, chasing men and generally have a bad time of it in succession seems more than just a coincidence.
Kathryn O’Reilly’s women, leggy and lovely Luce and her small, run of the mill chum are older than in Ffion Jones’ Ugly Lovely, which I saw the previous evening, but their lives are just as hopeless and their friendship just as mutually destructive. O’Reilly’s women, however, are in their thirties but we get the same explicit talk about sex and men and the pills and the vodka and the powders get consumed or sniffed.
It is splendidly performed by Eloise as Luce, the more predatory of the two, and Samantha Robinson as Charlene, who is incapable of accepting that her boyfriend means what he says. They are beautifully drawn.
O’Reilly, however, is less successful with Paulo, Charlene’s boyfriend, who is the foreman of the department of the factory in which the girls work as well as having a hamburger stall of his own after work. He is also half Russian and plans to emigrate to become an entrepreneur.
Stephen Myott-Meadows does everything one could do with an underwritten role. Equally implausible or at least pushing it a bit too far, is that she has made Luce’s father, well played by Derek Elroy, a transsexual called Doris. The brew is just too ripe for its own good.
Sarah Meadows direction is fine, but the action shifts locations a lot and is spread over quite a long period of time with quite large time gaps between the various scenes which makes it hard to follow just what is going on. It could have been the events of a night, which would have given it more dramatic cohesion. Nor does one much care what happens to either of the women, but this is another first play and does make one interested in seeing what Kathryn O’Reilly does next.
Charlene: Samantha Robinson.
Luce: Eloise Joseph.
Paulo: Stephen Myott-Meadows.
Doris: Derek Elroy.
Director: Sarah Meadows.
Designer: Catherine Morgan.
Lighting Designer: Jamie Platt.
Composer: Benedict Taylor.
Assistant director: Monty Leigh.