is a play that wants to make you weep, and is quite likely to succeed,
so touching is its story.
real criticism to make of playwright Naomi Wallace is that she may be
trying unnecessarily hard, adding unneeded layers of pathos to a core
that is sufficiently strong in itself.
two lost souls, teenage inmates in a women's prison who connect
strongly enough that their friendship/romance and very modest dreams of
a future help them survive the system, only to discover on release that
the world outside is even more overpowering and unforgiving.
present the sad
clash of small dreams and smaller possibilities, Wallace divides each
character, with one pair of actresses playing the younger girls and
another their older selves, alternating and sometimes overlapping their
mechanical and unwieldy, the device ultimately proves unnecessary,
since the real story is in the released women's discovery that their
very limited skills and opportunities make even the hope of small jobs
and small romances beyond their grasp.
pathos of the
later scenes is powerful on its own and doesn't really need or gain
much from the ironic contrast to the naive optimism of the younger
girls, and I suspect that the play would be at least as effective had
the playwright concentrated on the older characters and eliminated the
one of the women black and one white, and setting the play in 1950s
America, adds a burden of racism that the play doesn't need and that is
really irrelevant, since the story is more about the handicaps of
economics, sexism and lack of education, and their crippling power is
fully dramatised and sufficiently moving without adding race to the
provide an excellent showcase for the four actresses, and, under
Caitlin McLeod's sensitive direction, Lauren Crace and Cherrelle Skeete
as the younger pair and Sally Oliver and Cat Simmons as their older
counterparts are equally evocative and touching.
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- And I And Silence - Finborough 2011