Ladylogue contains six short plays all written and performed by women. Each play differs entirely in content but this works well as it is impossible to get bored when everyone fifteen or twenty minutes or so a brand new story is being thrown your way. Ghost follows a well-known process that every young person recognises before facing the long and enduring period of job interviews. For Ladykiller, the title is pretty self-explanatory; in a slightly surreal turn of events, a hotel employee shows why you should always be polite the staff.
My Sons are Doctors follows a young Indian mother who is hiding in the toilet of her local supermarket to get away from her neighbour, with whom she is always in competition. Family (Mis)Fortunes covers the downsides to having your family on social media. The Night Tella is spoken word performance from one friend to another, who is a victim of assault. Zero is about an agoraphobic woman who is slowly going off the rails until a friend reaches out.
It is a fantastic group of shorts that covers the whole spectrum of emotion. There is plenty of comedy but there are also many challenges and tougher situations with some heart-breaking emotion. It is nice to have some relatable topics in these plays – especially in Ghost, with the young Alex who trying to find a job so she can keep her independence as she ponders over how her life has panned out.
Ladykiller is less favourable as it seems to glorify murder. The lead, appears to be devastated by what she has done but bounces back quite nicely as she turns the whole situation into a comedy. It has a bit of a Dexter-esque feel.
Family (Mis Fortunes) and My Sons are Doctors are both wonderfully witty plays that show a clever insight to cultural identity as well as their roles as women within their cultures. Everyone knows that one family member who you keep on ‘limited’ or that one woman in the neighbourhood who makes everything into a competition.
The Night Tella, inspired by Hilaire Belloc’s poem, Tarantella, is a really heart-breaking look at how a nice skirt seen in a shop leads a nice girl to be assaulted. The play cleverly looks at how the victim ended up unconscious in a hospital bed through the eyes of her friend. By the end of this short, it really gets the audience thinking about the subject of assault, responsibility and even ‘slut shaming’. Zero is also a thought-provoking play about how one accident can spiral out of control, and the value of friendship and support. Like its character, it uses comedy to mask a deeper understanding that will really tug at your heart-strings.
There is nothing to fault with the execution of each character as the acting is completely flawless. Overall Ladylogue is a lovely celebration of emerging female writers and their female characters.
Ladylogue plays Tristan Bates Theatre until 22 August. For more info, see the Tristan Bates Theatre website. Photo by Philip Scutt.