Coming soon klaxon...a fringe play you should see
Review: Equus, Trafalgar Studios - A thoroughbred production?

Quick review: Wife, Kiln Theatre - smart, vibrant and with a delicious sly dig at theatre

Saw Wife at the Kiln Theatre a few weeks ago but it was a really busy time with work and I got distracted from writing my review - which I now want to quickly rectify because I really enjoyed it.

Wife kiln theatre photo marc brenner
Karen Fishwick (Daisy) and Sirine Saba (Suzannah) in Wife © Marc Brenner

Samuel Adamson's play spans 60 years and while there is a connection between the different generations it isn't as simple as parents, children and grandchildren.

You have to pay attention as it time jumps, seeking out the connection when it isn't always immediately obvious, starting with an encounter in 1959 between a married woman and an actress.

The actress is starring as Nora in Ibsen's A Dolls's House and that first scene sets out the stall for the key themes - gay relationships and the changing role of women within the structure of marriage and family.

Societal cage

Ibsen's play is a reference point throughout, the societal cage that women have broken out of as well as an opportunity to have a sly dig at theatre. 

Given how many 'fresh new takes' on Ibsen (and Chekhov) there are around at the moment, I did particularly enjoy how Adamson includes a contemporary production of A Doll's House with a gay male actor playing Nora. 

The irony and exposé of theatrical pretension were delicious.

Smart and vibrant

It is a smart, vibrant and interesting play exploring changing attitudes and freedoms but also what that freedom means in reality.

Women's liberation and gay rights make nice parallel narratives particularly when you explore how that liberation and those rights have been used.

It's run at the Kiln has finished but I'm sure it is a play that will get revived at some point and I'd certainly see it again.

I'm giving it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and a half. 

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Recommended: Seven Methods Of Killing Kylie Jenner, Royal Court - properly smart, contemporary and fresh theatre and the best dramatisation of Tweets I've seen.

Theatre highs and lows of 2019 so far.

From the archive: Katie Mitchell's A Woman Killed With Kindness which didn't go down too well.