It may well have had much to do with the fact that I was knackered after the previous six but I have to admit that the seventh final session of the Women Centre Stage: Power Play Festival was probably my least favourite of the day. The 24 Hour Plays | Making Headlines programme saw writers respond to headlines of the moment to create rapid response plays – none of which really lived up to the quality of the programmed works that had preceded them.
There were lots of interesting ideas floating around – Rebecca Lenkiewicz and director Anna Ledwich’s scorching take-down of Vogue’s declaration that the cleavage is out of fashion probably worked the best, interleaved with a young woman’s desperate search for adequate healthcare and the inadequacy of male responses to a serious discussion about breasts. And Charlene James’ kidnap drama with a twist gave Maggie Steed a cracking part to play, directed by Alice Hamilton.
But even with the marvellous Stella Gonet onboard, Vinay Patel’s family drama didn’t connect with me and though there was much fun in hearing Howard Brenton make Ann Mitchell swear like a trooper, his drama covered the well-trodden ground of putting elderly parents into care with no real new insight as far as I could see. Still, it made for a strong ending to the day.