I discover The Colour House Theatre in amongst Merton Abbey Mills, a distinct and intriguing market place in Tooting. I wonder why I’ve never been here before, living locally. Restaurants, shops and a band stand decorate the square and I see the equally quaint theatre in front of me.
Kate Murphy, the director of The Other Plans, greets me and tells me about the play: it’s about four women across ten years and how their lives change. A British Sex and the City style piece will do just fine and I take my seat in the black box theatre space.
As promised, the story follows the four characters through their lives and friendships since being at university together. The relationships between the girls are wonderfully natural and realistic. They each possess very individual characteristics that I follow and become familiar with.
Nina Bright’s Rosie is the first character we see. She is sweet, nervous and very charming. Her journey proves a difficult one. Her anxious and neurotic energy at her most desperate points is charged and edgy. It’s a very accurate and honest performance. Claire Garvey plays Olivia, a very troubled women with a daily struggle with anxiety. What I admire the most in Garvey’s portrayal is that she suffers but also questions her own troubles. She asks for help and seeks improvement.
Lexi, played by Joanna Wills, bulldozes her way through the space. Her vocal energy, comedic accuracy and down-right hilariousness keep me laughing all the way through. However, Wills also gives us a peak into a more vulnerable and quiet place within her, in her pitch speech to producers: she wants to make a programme about real women suffering from cancer, to honour her mum’s bravery in battling the disease. Her sensitivity and subtlety during this speech and, indeed, during the rest of the narrative, lets Wills have access to all shades of this women’s emotional palette, which she does will complete ease and authenticity.
Alexandra Agnew’s Jess is a breath of very fresh air. A women who has worked hard, knows that she is capable of moving on, and does just that when she comes out. Writers Catherine Bray and Sarah Hunt have created a piece that is genuine, moving and a really good laugh. I stopped writing anything down in the first ten minutes because I didn’t want to miss anything.
In a busy city, a glimpse of real women makes me smile, and also laugh a lot! It also made me wonder how much wine they all must drink per day: pass me a glass of Pinot ladies, I’m with you all the way.
To find out more information on forthcoming shows please visit the Colour House Theatre website. The Other Plans runs until the 17 August 2013.