Boys Will Be Boys at Bush HallCultureTheatre
Ever wondered what the male-centric corporate world looks like through the eyes of a woman? Melissa Bubnic’s play Boys Will Be Boys offers a glimpse into the life of Astrid Wentworth, a female stockbroker who has risen to the top of a man’s game after years of working twice as hard as her male counterparts and learning to master the sexual politics required for her gender to survive. After taking on young and ambitious wannabe broker Priya, Astrid finds herself confronting new struggles that threaten the position she has long fought to maintain.
There is a quirky cabaret element running through this play that is complemented by its atmospheric venue, the iconic Bush Hall, an Edwardian West London dance hall built in 1904. In the cabaret scenes Astrid speaks openly about her life in a confessional style and takes up a microphone to perform several seductively wobbly tunes. The actress portraying Astrid, Kirsty Bushell, is strong and captivating, delivering the sharp wit of the script with attitude and relish. The all-female cast is impressive, as the five actresses take on the roles of both women and men in a way that is convincing and unsettling.
However, the piece in its entirety is unrelenting. Forcing its message home with rigour and aggression, Boys Will Be Boys quickly emerges as a form of that kind of anti-men feminism that urges women to fight against the supposedly ever-hostile opposite sex. Yes, the piece exposes the struggles that they still face today with a necessary level of shock-factor, but the intensity with which the drama unfolds feels suffocating and overwhelming. It holds the power to fill female spectators with dread concerning not only the future but also the present state of society, where men are accused of walking all over women to win and will always remain superior. Whilst it is of course ignorant to believe that today we live in a world where everyone is equal, there are perhaps more constructive ways of thinking that will allow us to move towards a more positive tomorrow.
That being said, the production values and the delivery of Boys Will Be Boys create an entertaining piece of theatre strengthened by engaging monologues and punchy exchanges. It is always fascinating to experience the very different ways in which women address a common cause, so why not give this play a go before its run finishes at the end of July.
Boys Will Be Boys is on at Bush Hall from 29th June until 30th July 2016. Book your tickets here.