World Enough and Time at the Park Theatre
It is surprising just how surprising it is to watch a play performed by an exclusively female cast. World Enough and Time is just such a play, presented by Fluff Productions, a theatre company run by actresses who have been aiming to provide audiences with female-led talent since 2004. It is an admirable initiative and the company has made a significant impact on the UK’s dramatic world; previous plays Be My Baby and Bluebeard received rave reviews and the Time Out critics choice award respectively.
Sarah Sigal’s new play, currently showing at the Park Theatre in Finsbury Park, where staff are attentive and the atmosphere is chaotically cosy, tells the stories of three different women from three separate eras. The plot meanders, beginning in 1646 with Lady Anne, a royalist, who struggles to run her household while Cromwell’s army advance on her village – a task made all the more difficult with the arrival of suspected witch, Joan.
In 1936, Pamela, a fashion journalist for The Times, interviews Wallis Simpson and finds herself embroiled in MI5’s efforts to survey the burgeoning relationships between Simpson, the Prince of Wales and Hitler. Finally, in 2014, an uptight career woman and her struggling friend are reunited for the first time in years, but quickly their differing personalities clash to highlight glaring problems in the former’s lifestyle and views.
Spanning such a broad time frame is an ambitious task ,in that it is difficult to provide a balance of action and interest for each different setting and story. The 1936 thread is moving and unexpectedly provides the most explicitly politicised female role in Lady Anne. The 2014 clash between two old friends is slightly clichéd, but it does raise important, contemporary issues about what is expected of modern women in today’s society.
The middle narrative, that belonging to the character of Pamela, is by far the most enjoyable section. Sigal allows her writing to let go, flowing in hilarious monologues that provide momentous relief from the two more serious plots, between which it is sandwiched. Here actor Rebecca Dunn is a pleasure to watch as she anecdotally tells her story, moving effortlessly between accents in a hilariously caricature-esque received pronunciation.
Photos: Karla Gowlet
World Enough and Time is at the Park Theatre until 13th April 2014. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.