Various Artists, Midget Gems

Review in Issue 21-1 | Spring 2009

Midget Gems describes itself as ‘a tempting assortment of short, sharp pieces of theatre from new writers’ – specifically, women writers.

Susan Gilbert’s Waiting for Carver is in two parts with the same text repeated in each, with different actors – clearly an homage to Beckett’s Waiting for Godot but with its own vibrant originality. The characters Adam Lamb and Butcher almost irritatingly anticipate C’s entrance with multiple enigmas and ensuing confusion. The premise is simple, but the visceral and intense performance belies this.

In Joanne Hartley’s Antithesis two interlocking monologues contrast the Blakeian themes of innocence and experience. Both characters attract our sympathy, or at least empathy, but not without the odd wince or two at the rigidity of their worldview.

Helen Shay’s Smoke is the only overtly political piece out of the five, focusing on the fascistic repression of a woman playwright in Indonesia. A harrowing work that manages to make its mark without polemics or soap-box speeches.

But the highlight of the night is Foulisfair Theatre’s Daughters, which relies far more on the physicality of its performance than the other pieces. Daughters explores the mother-daughter relationship unflinchingly. It manages to be both universal, the stuff of life through the ages, whilst also drawing on intensely personal experiences which are thrown out to the audience with a mischievous glee. Domestic objects are used throughout to ground into the everyday quite complex and emotive issues.

An interesting selection new writing by women that demonstrates a number of powerful voices, performed by equally capable actors – theatre asking some pertinent questions without dumbing down to achieve easy answers.

Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Sep 2008

This article in the magazine

Issue 21-1
p. 33