Review: When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other, National Theatre

Strong performances from Cate Blanchett and Stephen Dillane make the challenging When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other worth the effort at the National Theatre

“A woman would never say that
‘A woman did just say it'”

It is bracingly refreshing to see the kind of artistic decisions that drive Cate Blanchett’s theatrical career, so often complex, contemporary takes on classic work which show a performer never content to rest on her laurels. Which leads us to her National Theatre debut in When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other – 12 Variations on Samuel Richardson’s Pamela, written and directed respectively by noted iconoclasts Martin Crimp and Katie Mitchell. 

And as such, it certainly is something of a challenge. Played for its two hours without interval, Blanchett and co-star Stephen Dillane act out a series of psychosexual, sado-masochistic role-playing games and that’s about it. There’s strap-ons and shaving foam, backseat shenanigans and boxes of cherries, and an untold amount of portentous chat which sometimes, sometimes, sears through to the soul. Continue reading “Review: When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other, National Theatre”

2013 Offie Award Winners

Offies Awards - Off West End Theatre Awards

Jasper Britton in Mother Adam at Jermyn Street 
Louis Maskell in The Fix at Union Theatre
Thomas Coombes in Barbarians at Tooting Arts Club
William Houston in Uncle Vanya at The Print Room

Aysha Kala in Khadija is 18 at Finborough Theatre
Eileen Atkins in All That Fall at Jermyn Street
Lucy Ellinson in Oh, The Humanity at Soho Theatre
Matti Houghton in Brimstone and Treacle at Arcola Theatre

Lot and his God by Howard Barker at The Print Room 
Lungs by Duncan Macmillan by Paines Plough (Shoreditch Town Hall) 
Shivered by Philip Ridley at Southwark Playhouse Continue reading “2013 Offie Award Winners”

Review: Autobiographer, Artsadmin

“Surely it doesn’t matter, someone will know”

As we take our seats in the dark cocoon-like space inside Toynbee Studios, we become aware of four women in similar dresses already seated. They simultaneously play Flora, the subject of Melanie Wilson’s performance poem Autobiographer, at different stages in her life which has slowly become ravaged by dementia. Layers of stories and memories , thoughts and feelings are built up as the voice of the piece glides between the performers, constantly reaching for something tangible in this disorientating chaos.

What emerges in this fractured world of memory are fragments, as if from a once-beautiful now-broken piece of pottery. On their own, their charm is obscure, elusive; as the pieces come together and the women speak in twos and threes, and then finally as we experience all six – for we eventually encounter six iterations of Flora’s persona – there’s a greater sense of what was, and what can never be again. Continue reading “Review: Autobiographer, Artsadmin”