Review: Re-Charged @ Soho Theatre

Franco Milazzo
By Franco Milazzo Last edited 94 months ago
Review: Re-Charged @ Soho Theatre

Following hot on the heels of last year's Charged, theatre company Clean Break's Re-Charged brings more unique drama written and directed by women about women affected by the criminal justice system.

Thankfully, none of the three plays sink to the level of Prisoner Cell Block H or Bad Girls. Quite the opposite: they could  show the immediate future of London theatre itself.

Chloe Moss' Fatal Light starts off with a mother finding out about her daughter's suicide while in prison.  Rather than focus on the grief, Moss takes the audience back through the dead girl's life, scene by scene Memento-style exploring dark areas including mental illness and the innocence of children.

Rebecca Lenkiewicz's That Almost Unnameable Lust tackles loneliness and isolation in prison as two female prisoners share an intense connection. Indeed, most of their communication is done not to each other but by breaking the fourth wall to expose their lives past and present.

Sam Holcroft's Dancing Bears starts with four teenage gang members discussing football. With inventive theatrical twists worthy of Kneehigh Theatre and a script as sharp as the concealed weaponry they carry, the play comes across as a blaxploitation take on Virginia Woolf's Orlando.

The three plays that make up this year's showcase are all exceptionally good examples of modern theatre that brings authenticity to marginalised areas of society.  It's no coincidence that some of the best theatre of the past year has been new works which focus on areas (something encouraged today by the Film Council) that have been traditionally poorly catered for in recent decades, namely older women, working class and ethnic communities.  Clydebourne Park (winner of the Olivier's Best New Play) and Mogadishu (joint-winner of the last Bruntwood Prize for Writing) are excellent new productions that deserve a wider audience.  In this age of austerity when many theatres (big and small) will sink or swim depending on their production choices, does London really need another Ayckbourn or Rattigan revival?

Re-Charged is on at the Soho Theatre until 3 April.  More information and tickets can be found here.  The Guardian is currently running a 2-for-1 ticket offer.


Our review of last year's Charged by Clean Break.

Last Updated 28 March 2011