Maiden Speech Double Bill, Leicester Square Theatre
Lexi Clare Productions
This two-hander production was both written and performed by sisters, Róisín and Sinéad Bevan and directed by Emily Aboud. My excitement at seeing an entirely female created and produced piece abounded; it was certainly a refreshing situation to be in. The lively and intimate size of the Leicester Square Lounge space was immediately reflected in this piece, as the audience were invited into the minds of these two very different siblings. Their open and frank dialogue revealed the secrets and stories of their lives, their sisterly bond apparent from the beginning, I wasn’t in the least surprised to learn that they were related in reality. I immediately felt as though I wanted to know them better.
The narrative seamlessly weaved between the present and flashbacks of the past. There were hints of Brechtian influence throughout, from the blackboard that was clearly marked with all of our destinations so that we all knew where we were meant to be at any given time; Nightclub, Uber, Flat, Bed, and the use of a feather boa to demonstrate the mother’s character. These flashbacks of their childhood brought the otherwise absent third character of the mother to life, not least through innovative use of lighting, but the way each girl transformed with a different posture, air of confidence, and a comedic Irish accent to boot. More contemporary theatre should have 1980’s power ballads as a musical backdrop, even if my favourite interlude was a unique rendition of Martha Wainright’s, “Bloody Motherfucking Asshole”
The way in which the two sisters gently encouraged a small amount of audience participation (who wouldn’t want a mid show cornflake break?) broke the fourth wall in a gentle way that somehow further perpetuated the idea that we were witnessing a snapshot of their life rather than a staged production.
Their uniquely female perspective on everything from politics to childhood bullies and relationships drove home the inequalities women still face and were of the ilk that needs to be shouted from the rooftops. And the manner in which passing nudity and sexuality were side topics that only formed a small part of a female identity was equally refreshing. The more serious moments, such as the younger sister’s open letter to her rapist, came from a truth that was all too relatable, although that shouldn’t be the case. Her refusal to be seen as a victim resonated at the core.
These two siblings have demonstrated that we need more female voices and more female led theatre but that we are being heard and I hope to hear more from them in the near future.
This production has now closed, but follow @LexiClareNZ on Twitter for future updates.