A generation of change

For the Past 30 Years

The Door, Birmingham Rep

****

FOR the Past 30 Years is a collection of monologues presented blorna laidlaweautifully by the company Women in Theatre.

It depicts a number of inspiring stories based on women’s real life experiences of working in the public sector over periods of Thirty years.

This relevant and empowering production challenges the audience to rethink their approaches to working life and look into the lives of the individuals faced with circumstance and sacrifice.

Lorna Laidlaw

This is a production that’s relevant to us all. The monologues describe what has changed in work and in life over the past three decades with an uncertainty of looking into the future for what is to come.
The writers were inspired by the stories of around fifty women around the Birmingham and West Midlands areas, listening to lives of variety and experience. The result being one strong and communal voice, echoing out and bringing mass communities together.

There was a wonderful sense of collaboration. This was a company production which made the story ever stronger. Each detail was finely represented wHema Mangooith each actress providing a strong sense of empathy for the characters they portrayed bringing them alive for the audience.

So much in fact that you could hear hums of approval from the watchers and gratifying yesses after a strong statement was made.

Writer’s Naylah Ahmed, Stephanie Dale, Katy Knight, Stephanie Dale Hannah Silva and Polly Wright were given a great platform to represent the touching experiences of women of the community and to showcase their unique and diverse talents.

Hema Mangoo

Of course, the epic writing was amplified further with three superb actresses, bringing the words to life. Janice Connolly, Lorna Laidlaw and Hema Mangoo had a passionate grasp of each story and character, giving the audience a heart-warming and uplifting sense of inspiration to create their own interpretation. 

Each actor presented two monologues of profound contrast, showing the difference and culture of women in the community and the adversities faced over a period of time. The actor’s exude personality. Their individual approach was a pleasure to see and was a beautiful reflection of the real life people that we connect with every day.

Janice Connolly, best known as Barbara Nice on the comedy circuit, is a founder member and Artistic Director of Women & Theatre and her belief and passionate enthusiasm to reach out and touch the community was plain to see in her performance.

Playing the roles of a nurse of the NHS, lecturing students about thejanice connolly then and now was an intimate reminder of the essence of caring for others. We also see a touching and relevant performance through the role of a teacher, having given her last class before retirement. Connolly is not only pure and compassionate within her performance, she injects an uplifting sense of humour.

Lorna Laidlaw is also a delightful pleasure to watch on stage. We first see her as a bossy businesswoman, letting the audience know how she fought her way to the top. Laidlaw has great presence and approaches her characters with every ounce of energy.

Janice Connolly

She lifts the audience with her genuine delivery and there is a constant smile on audience faces while she performs We also see Laidlaw as a probation officer, affecting people’s lives directly, seeing changes of the system.

Hema Mangoo also gives tender performances as she depicts the role of a costume maker, pining for her ambitions of the past and a spokeswoman carer. She provides a nostalgic viewpoint of what has changed within the past Thirty years.

Directors Tessa Walker and Caroline Wilkes cleverly included the audience in the performance, giving encouragement for audience members to create their own experiences.

While many people talk about wanting change in life, Women & Theatre have stood up and make it happen. This is a play that speaks from a fountain of experience and invites the audience to see what has happened in order to progress in the future. It is empowering, funny, deeply touching and hugely inspirational. To 11-10-14

Elizabeth Halpin

09-10-14 

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