Review: Cuttin’ It, Young Vic

“We have done it for so long. It is who we are. It has to happen”

A play about FGM – female genital mutilation – could never be easy to watch, it should never be easy to watch. But the genius of Charlene James’ Cuttin’ It – initially written for radio and now expanded with direction from Gbolahan Obisesan – is that it makes it essential to watch, theatrical but still truthful, fierce and yet fearless, if you’re more shell-shocked at the end of a play this year, I’d be surprised.

Told in the form of overlapping monologues from fifteen-year-old Somali-born teenagers Muna and Iqra, Cuttin’ It tells of two very different young women. Muna has been in the UK since she was three, Iqra arrived as a refugee when she was ten and though they now attend the same school, there’s worlds between them. But they have something in common, FGM, and in the space of just over an hour, we see just how much. Continue reading “Review: Cuttin’ It, Young Vic”

Review: Off the Page – Microplays 4-6 from the Royal Court and the Guardian

“I believe in being open to all cultures”

There’s something a little perversely ironic about Tim Price’s PPE being one of the more effective microplays (SHORT FILMS!) of the Royal Court and Guardian collaboration given how it is a wordless piece. Directed by Hamish Pirie with movement choreographed by the excellent Ann Yee, it plays off the trademark physical gestures that politicians have become known for using as an emollient to the relentlessly grim messages that they’ve had to deliver in recent years. David Annen, Cyril Nri and Eileen Walsh do a cracking job as leaders of different parties and just through physical expression, manage to hypnotise and hoodwink a whole host of supernumeraries standing in for the too-willing electorate. It’s not a world entirely without hope but it’s a powerful indictment of how much of contemporary politics is stagecraft that we just lap up.

Chloë Moss’ Devil In The Detail focuses on the world of fashion, something that director Christopher Haydon laughingly admits to knowing little of but as a multi-million pound enterprise, there’s much more to it than just knowing which handbag is currently de rigueur. Moss picks up on the way that fashion can be used to bolster a person’s mood and self-belief – as Pippa Bennett-Warner and Vanessa Kirby’s characters get ready for award shows in the atelier of a hot designer – but also how the world of fashionistas can wield it as a vicious weapon as Lucy Ellinson’s killer stylist (such lipstick, so colour, many wow!) corrects the assumptions they’ve made, casually dishing out humiliation and obsequiousness which shatters the mood that playing dress-up had cultivated between the pair. Continue reading “Review: Off the Page – Microplays 4-6 from the Royal Court and the Guardian”