Search

Theatre review: Women Laughing at the Old Red Lion Theatre

PUBLISHED: 15:43 19 October 2012

Women Laughing at the Old Red Lion Theatre

Women Laughing at the Old Red Lion Theatre

Archant

Tension perfectly measured in play about mental illness that deserves to be seen

Women Laughing, written for radio in 1989 by the late Michael Wall and now running at the Old Red Lion, has a simple premise.

Told in two acts, it features two couples and chronicles the descent into mental illness.

The period is late-1980s Thatcherite Britain – a country in thrall to financial prosperity and betterment, but also in panic over AIDS and the uncertainties of the era.

The two men, unbeknownst to either of them initially, as they sit in the garden over a refreshing beer, share the ignominy of attending psychotherapy.

As this shared background comes to light, an ominous and confrontational air hangs over proceedings. The second act will find them in a very different garden.

The tension is perfectly measured and the play crackles with a nervous, edgy atmosphere. Even with the dated backdrop, the story itself is timeless, displaying both a dark comedic heart and a subtle profundity.

All four members of the cast are fantastic, imbuing their characters with emotional depth and complexity.

Occasionally some of the vocal ticks make for uncomfortable watching, but maybe that’s the point. In any event, such a complaint does not detract from the play’s overall power.

The script is pin sharp and the performances have an offbeat charm that is strikingly effective.

This is for those who like their humour bleak but their stories with a compassionate heart. It is a wonderful production and deserves to be seen.

* Women Laughing is at the Old Red Lion Theatre in St John Street, EC1, until October 27

0 comments

Latest Islington Entertainment Stories

Yesterday, 15:32

Chinglish at the Park Theatre and Tamburlaine at the Arcola are two current productions giving the stage to some of the capital’s best East Asian acting talent

Thu, 14:45

Artist Dale Grimshaw talks to Zoe Paskett about his exhibition raising awareness for the situation in West Papua

Thu, 12:08

In a world though where it increasingly feels as though artifice and career-goals have taken precedence over authenticity, her stock offers increasing value

Wed, 12:09

The ‘Grind’ brand is something of an iconic name nowadays, having racked up a bit of a history.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read entertainment

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now