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Lady In Red

1 September 13 words: John Anthony
John Anthony went to see Lady in Red in the Neville Studio at the Nottingham Playhouse.

Lady In Red by the Certain Curtain Theatre Co.

The evening comprises a play in one act in the first half followed by an interval and then a post-show discussion about the production in particular and the issue of domestic violence in general. The performance was introduced by a member of the company who advised us that Certain Curtain Theatre Co. is a “professional” company. Thus a discordant note had been struck early in the proceedings, surely this is a case of show not tell. So how professional were they …?

The play ‘Lady in Red’ was introduced by a few bars of the Chris de Burgh classic of the same name, the central character was dressed all in red and her name was Rose, so not an opening of spellbinding inventiveness! That said after a slightly uncertain first five minutes the play and the cast had found their feet and Claire Moore (Rose) went on to give a convincing performance as a victim desperately trying to summon the emotional courage to escape before her abuser returns.

The play itself had been written by Claire Moore herself and another member of the company. The text really managed to convey the plight of Rose knowing she must not stay and yet, maddeningly, unable to leave. Where the writing was at its strongest were the sections where Rose considered her various escape routes and her reasons for finding them unacceptable.

The minimalist set of a sparsely furnished single room was well realised even if the jumble of clothes in the suitcase had a rather too studied an appearance. The ‘world’ beyond that single room however failed to live in the imagination. The front door, the garden gate, the cat all just needed a sound effect for Rose to react to and for the audience to believe in.

At the end of the play the company member, who had not been seen since he introduced the evening, came on to take a personal bow! Really! Was that appropriate?

The post show talkback was interesting for the wrong reasons, and depressing for its predictability. Regarding the play there were genuine effusions of how wonderful it was. At one point it seemed as if it might descend into “how do you remember all the lines” but to be fair it didn’t. As for the opinions expressed the, almost exclusively female, audience were completely in tune with the zeitgeist of men being violent misogynists. Aided and abetted by members of the company speaker after speaker had a go at men, it was an overwhelming chorus of disapproval. It would appear that the term sexism only applies when women are being disparaged.
 

Certain Curtain Theatre Company presented Lady in Red in the Neville Studio at the Nottingham Playhouse on Friday 6 September 2013.

 

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