by Sarah Sigal.

Park Theatre (Park 90) Clifton Terrace Finsbury Park N4 3JP To 13 April 2014.
Tue-Sat 7.45pm Mat Sat & Sun 3.15pm.
Runs 2hr 15min One interval.

TICKETS: 020 7870 6876.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 23 March.

The personal and the political mix, with just unpredictability missing.
During the English Civil War Anne is trying to write a speech encouraging women of the area to band together and protect their communities from the Civil War armies, particularly the Roundheads. In Richmond, London, today successful Celia gives house-room to her friend Lucy, an unemployed teacher looking for a job. Back in the 1640s Anne is approached by a bastard half-sister, reputedly a witch and looking for protection.

As a stylistic change from these sets of scenes, and giving the four actors who populate them time to change, there are sections of a monologue from breezy 1930s society journalist Pamela, telling about an interview where ‘women’s journalism’ of the day accidentally stepped into history.

Alone or as a group, these women face tests of friendship and loyalties as demands are placed upon them. Whether it be king, country or career, the strains become personal, between Anne and Joan, or Celia and Lucy. Disturbed times, politically or financially, create divide loyalties, as one of Anne’s community is found to have a Cromwellian son and as Pamela becomes involved in the intricacies of secret service work, while Lucy and Celia’s friendship reveals the hostility lurking around unequal means.

It’s laid-out with clarity, and each story resonates more loudly for the presence of the others. And it’s brightly acted in Justin Audibert’s production, which artfully uses brief musical passages to signal the changes between time zones.

As an intriguing piece, it shows the possibility of being something more. What’s missing is the element of surprise that would take the characters and their stories beyond the familiar images of the various times, that would grip the interest by revealing unexpected thoughts, ideas or relationships, more complex attributes of characters rather than the rather obvious ones which emerge in the present-day scenes especially.

That might help take the playing onto a new plane. Yet it is in many respects, more than adequate and Rebecca Dunn brings brightness and concentration to her solo scenes – no-one could fail to listen to a story told by someone with such belief in its interest as Pamela sustains throughout.

Celia/Anne: Jess Murphy.
Lucy/Joan: Katie Bonna.
Pamela: Rebecca Dunn.
Meg/Katrina: Yvonne Riley.
Bess/Tamara: Sarah Kameela Impey.

Director: Justin Audibert.
Designer: Lily Arnold.
Lighting: Joshua Pharo.
Sound: Mark Webber.
Assistant director: Rebecca Hill.
Assistant designer: Anna Reid.

2014-03-24 10:02:33

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