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Review: ‘Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again.’ at The Nottingham New Theatre

4 STARS

The Nottingham New Theatre kicks off its Spring Season and Women’s History Month with a bang in this feminist, explosive piece of theatre. Exploring how women are treated in society, from the people they interact with right down to the nuances of the language used against them, this is a timely and entrancing production.

A montage of scenes drives the play, following women in slight surreal and twisted versions of all too common events. From a baffled boss dealing with his female employee’s request for a day off, to a mother’s attempt to connect to her own estranged mother, the script attempts to speak to a cross-section of women in different situations. Yet all of these scenes are ingeniously twisted, so that you as an audience member are never quite at ease with what is being portrayed. The script is brave and forceful, and whilst some scenes do work better than others, the strength of the performances is what carried the show.

Particularly scene-stealing was Danielle Finch, whose pure energy and dynamic rage was matched perfectly to her monologue where she compared a marriage proposal to a suicide bombing, resulting in an unforgettably hilarious and surprisingly touching scene. Lois Baglin was also strong, with an intimidating and nuanced performance that accurately conveyed the rage that runs through most of the production. Her final moments in the show were truly chilling. Chloe Richardson played her role with brilliant comedic timing, especially in the opening scene, in which her graphically sexual conversation is performed with hilarious conviction. There were moments where the performers could have planted their feet rather than moving about the space as much, but their performances were undoubtedly excellent. Harry Pavlou as the multi-rolling male was perfectly pitched in each scene his was in; whether steamrolling over the women and cocky or sweet and unsure, Pavlou provided the perfect ballast to the force the women brought to their roles. Although the different characters could have been more distinct, it was nevertheless a charming and arresting performance.

The show is held together by a minimalist set, with only three chairs for the three actresses at the back of the stage. Director Felicity Chilver’s use of projections was subtle and thought-provoking, as the scenes were titled with a brief sentence. “Revolutionize the Language (Invert It)” is displayed whilst Pavlou propositions Richardson, and she turns his own language back at him, in a brilliant blend of the set and the actors’ skill. However, the white wall did make it hard to read the projections at times, and the decision to have the stage in thrust did mean that some members of the audience on the side seemed to struggle to see them. That being said, the thrusted stage did mean that the actors were able to interact directly with the audience, which was particularly well realized when Richardson confronted members of the audience about her decision to lie down semi-naked in a supermarket.

Revolt. is a must-see production, showcasing the best of 21st century feminist writing alongside stellar performances and excellent direction. Dealing with issues as huge as rape to microaggressions such as constantly having a man talk for or over you, director Felicity Chilver and her team have managed to create a revolutionary and dynamic show.

 

Edited by: Jessica Greaney

Sources

Photo credit:

RSC

http://newtheatre.org.uk/whats-on/

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