Tuesday, April 23

Hens and Heroines – theSpace on North Bridge

It should be inspired by Ovid’s Heroides, Hens and Heroines, and mark the debut of the Bristol Badminton School at the Fringe 2022. It should interrogate the audience with atavistic dilemmas concerning life and death, fate and free will, desire and duty. Yet the only dilemmas it is able to raise seem to be those about the why of its own production, about the ultimate meaning of what it wants to convey, arousing a general perplexity about what the audience is watching. In spite of the limited half-hour on stage, the play strikes with force for its lack of coherence and credibility, for a poor script and for forced and awkward acting.

As much as one can appreciate the effort of the seven girls involved in the production, some of them very young, the play appears as a badly cut plot, with many holes and patches, unable to make any use of it. The staging, completely bare and minimalist, echoes a bare and completely forced script, where very little makes sense and where Ovid’s great themes are treated with superficiality and lack of knowledge, mere narrative expedients to create a lame and at times absurd plot.

The only thing that wins over in this half-hour of improbable plot twists and unlikely clichés is the naivety of the actresses and the attempt, albeit unsuccessful, to slip into that feminist vein that is now so fashionable. However, the characters themselves, in their roles as victims and executioners, the few happenings of a poorly thought-out and conventional plot, and the morality itself appear hackneyed, stereotyped and forced, imposed almost on the viewer without any pathos or feeling, unable to involve him/her in the slightest.

A poor attempt to bring the past into the contemporary cultural debate, to bring it back to life in a modern key and give it a new, reinvigorated and bold meaning: the play remains too anchored in the clichés of the past and fails to create a new story that speaks to a contemporary audience.

Playing until 12th August, further information and tickets can be found HERE.

Reviewer: Anna Chiari

Reviewed: 9th August 2022

North West End UK Rating: