I had the absolute pleasure of going to see Minotaur Theatre Company’s Feminist Festival evening performances. There were three monologues and a short play housed in an intimate setting of the Drama Studio. This year they were raising money for Endometriosis UK by putting on a week of events that celebrated and explored feminism and theatre. Two of my favourite things.
The night started with a monologue written and directed by Zoe Callow called Men are from Margate starring Caitlin Jacobsen. To be first to perform, Jacobson commanded the stage and left the audience fully enrapt in the story. Jacobsen did a tremendous job of spoon feeding the story, quietly building up to reveal that the suicide of her husband may be a suspected murder. And she is the suspect. Callow’s writing reminded me of Broadchurch, whether from the clifftop location or the unreliable narrator. It was an excellent start to the evening.
From that rather dark and mysterious ending we went to the next monologue titled Routine. It was written and directed by Ash Strain and starred Alex Gallacher. Before the lights had even come up, the audience were laughing as Gallacher took several flash selfies of herself, finishing when she was satisfied with a quick down the top shot. Gallacher embraced the role of the older lady, truly making me believe there was a 70 something woman inside of her. It explored the often monotonous transgression of relationships as they fade from young romance to complacency and routine – the catchword. Feeling neglected and bored, Gallacher’s character goes from immaculate red lipstick wearing to having it smeared across her face, dancing across the room for her, not a man.
Last but not least of the monologues was Threshold, written by Molly Bernadin, directed by Priya Appleby and starring Rosie Flood. A very apt name for some of the content. Appleby uses a comparison for climate change and world chaos to reflect the trauma of a suffering mind. The writing sensitively discussed self-harm and depression and how one takes care of themselves. The pacing was great, and kept my attention. Flood was graceful on the stage and left the audience with a wise message, that to face this awful world and help it, we must look after ourselves first.
To top off the whole evening, the second act was a short play called Succumb, written by Lizzy Wyrd, and directed by Emile Vanderveen. Vanderveen also played the main character, Jeanette (originally played by Eleanor Morrison who was unfortunately unwell on the night). The play was, I can think of no better words – beautifully bizarre. A trans non-monogamous couple summons a sex demon to complete their list of fetishes but come the morning, they find her still there. Through the power of sex, love, and disgusting hot drinks, Celine (Freya Hilsdon) and Roxy (Eleanor Cotton-Soares) teach sex demon Jeanette what it means to love someone, as well as lust after them too. The play ends with the three of them entering a relationship together. All of this is aided by a chanting Greek-style chorus (Oliver Hurley, Ruby Pinner, and Mae Duval) who stood ominously in the corner of the stage. Throughout the play, the audience was raucous with laughter and highly engaged with the finale of what was a great evening. As Celine, Roxy, and Jeanette took to bed in the final scene, I really give my great admiration to whoever invited their grandparents.
I am really pleased I got the chance to see this multitude of talents and it left me with much to think about. If you didn’t get the opportunity, definitely take a look at both Minotaur Theatre Company’s and Feminist Festival’s Facebook pages to keep up to date on what they’re doing.