Review: (Re)play, Theatre N16

‘This will be funny one day’

Mountview student, Rachel Causer, champions this attitude in her one woman show; (Re)play. For Causer, I’m pleased to say that day is today.

(Re)play is a performance about women, and the way they speak and relate to other women. This complex dynamic is explored by means of voice over clips, lip-synced to perfection by Causer. She uses both recordings her own voice, the Rachel on the stage never speaks- only imitates, and the voices of famous women of influence. Speeches from Amy Schumer, Joan Rivers, Caitlin Moran, Lena Dunham and Katherine Ryan sound from the speakers and Causer shifts into a new gear with each one, never missing a beat.

Causer sifts through the cardboard boxes onstage, claiming they are compartmentalised memories. These memories range from the age of fifteen to twenty-five and contain the words and phrases hurled at women that her mind didn’t know what to do with, and yet wasn’t able to let go of. The defining statements from the teenage years include ‘You acted like a right slag last night’ and ‘Careful, boys don’t like those kinds of girls’. They made me cringe, and they made me quietly sad. The next moment however, we’re treated to Causer lip-syncing to a recording of Lena Dunham talking frankly and amusingly about the unglamorous reality of simulating sex on the set of a television show.

This is what Causer does well, she reminds us of how hard it is to be young, female and desperately trying to play a game you don’t know the rules of yet. But, she also uses humour to keep us from the brink. It’s not a performance of utter lamentation and grief. It’s one that tells us it’s ok to laugh about it all, even when it doesn’t feel funny yet.

I like Causer, she is very clearly self-styled after her role models, played and referenced repeatedly, but the little glimpses the audience received into her own world, and where she used her own voice rather than borrowing one, were apt and amusing.

Causer doesn’t offer anything experimental or ground breaking, but maybe that’s because growing up, and trying to understand what the world wants from you isn’t ground breaking. It’s in the tiny details, the moments which we outwardly brush over, but let linger on inside us.

(Re)play is being performed as part as the Maiden’s Speech festival: a series of short works designed to showcase young student’s explorations of gender and sexuality. The Artistic Mentor, Sherrill Gow, has said it was intended to give an outlet for female performers to step away from the dominant images in current entertainment and culture and create their own, restriction free, images of life for us to view on stage.

Causer has certainly made the most of this opportunity for self-exploration, and uses humour expertly to connect her experiences to the audience. Fifty-five minutes flew by and I’m looking forward to seeing more of what Causer can do.

(Re)play played as part of the Maiden’s Speech festival at Theatre N16 until 21st October.

Rachael Head

Rachael Head

Rachael co-founded her first theatre company at nineteen, wanting an outlet to explore contemporary plays and modern morality tales. She worked as the Producer for three years, touring Oxford and London fringe venues. After taking a quick break to train as a Script Reader for a production company in Atlanta, Rachael started producing short films, and now much longer ones. Rachael's heart still belongs in theatre though and you'll find her reading or reviewing plays most evenings, preferably with a stiff whiskey in hand.