Sunday, 20 August 2017

Theatre review: Pussy Liberty at The Bread and Roses Theatre


Pussy Liberty at The Bread and Roses Theatre, London
Written by: Valerie Isaiah Sadoh
Directed by: Diana Mumb

'My power is not in my ability or inability to open or close my legs at any given time. My liberty is beyond that'

Pussy Liberty follows the story of Blaire, a staunch feminist, on a journey of rehabilitation from being raped as a teenager. It is a journey of acceptance as much as it is understanding and one that causes friction with the people around her.  

I feel I have seen a lot of different plays, and read a lot of different books that look at the issue of rape and how the victim deals with it. IN many ways this play is no different and follows a formula, but what sets this apart is the characterisation of Blaire. Both in personality and backstory you are immediately drawn to Blaire and Marie Myrie held her attention for the whole time. She was strong, boastful and had a lot of opinions she was willing to share. She used the world around her, from her own relationships to that of her best friend and flat mate Halle (Annabelle Broa), and Britney Spears songs which was a great touch, to justify and enforce her beliefs, but we slowly learn where these beliefs come from and its saddening. She would stand her corner, almost pushing to hard. There was a wall there that she wasn't willing to break down but that George (Kyran Mitchell-Nanto), Blaire's best friends boyfriend, was continually trying to break down. More for his own gain I feel than Blaire's. 

George was a deplorable character, but a great tool (and tool he was) to explore relationships roles and the ideas of feminism. For every point Blaire made he had an answer, and the times he actually said something real, something relate-able, I almost didn't care because he wasn't a character you wanted to like.

One of the interesting focal points of the play was the situations that had lead to the rape, to the ideas that we needed to be more, and wanted to be more as teenagers. We can all remember what it was like to be a year 7, to see this new jungle set out before us and wanted to be the coolest thing there, to feel more mature than we actually were, and the way we idolised those older than us that were doing it. the repetition of the the description of the boy, a description than tonally changed ever time beautifully showed Blair's change, we acceptable and then road to not setting in being a victim, not letting this own her, but moving on and taking her life into her own hands. 

Mixed into this there was almost this spectral narration from Julia Xavier Stier, who was just as compelling as Blaire and together they made the script come alive. 

Whilst this play was not perfect, I liked the route it took, the way it placed talking points throughout and gave you these strong developing female characters. 

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