Shoe Lady Tries To Make You Feel Sympathy For A Middle Class Estate Agent

Shoe Lady, Royal Court Theatre ★★★★☆

By Chris Bridges Last edited 6 months ago

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Shoe Lady Tries To Make You Feel Sympathy For A Middle Class Estate Agent Shoe Lady, Royal Court Theatre 4
Photo: Manuel Harlan

It's hard to know where your sympathies should lie in society but it's rarely with the hand dealt to a white middle-class estate agent. Waitrose hovering, Mumsnet questioning and liberal angst riddled, they're not exactly crying out for our empathy. Sick of the concept of the middle-classes being a joke, E.V. Crowe has written this queasy punch line and it's a zinger.

It's certainly an odd play, a surreal Samuel Becket styled piece about a woman who loses a shoe on her way to work. Hobbling along, she recites what's almost a monologue in which her terror and despair slowly surface. It might sound utterly unappealing but it's actually a peculiar delight. The rhythm of the poetic script beguiles and soothes, winking cheekily whilst also delivering a sneaky slap across the face.

Photo: Manuel Harlan

Katherine Parkinson's eerie doll-like faces draw the eye in a trick laden staging and there's something hypnotic about her sixty-five minutes of owning the stage. It's a Royal Court tradition to challenge the perceived norm and whilst this play leaves you feeling like it could have offered more, it's certainly a timely shake-up of perceived notions that's entire watchable.

Shoe Lady, The Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS, £12-49. Until 21 March

Last Updated 11 March 2020