Lizzie Milton’s production is a dynamic call to arms for all women. The play, which celebrates the lives of ten significant women in history who have fallen into obscurity, is a relevant and exhilarating show that sets out to change the world.
Snatchback, the theatre company behind 10, commits itself to improving the representation of women and was founded by Beth Eyre (who plays Gwen John and Joan Clarke). The result of their collaboration with feminist writer Lizzie Milton and Polish feminist director Nastazja Somers is a production of fire. It has a message that it wants and needs to convey, and it does so in an entertaining and bold way, leaving the audience empowered.
The play works well in the space. All of the rooms at the Vaults have their own quality; 10 is performed in the Cavern, where there is no stage and minimal decoration, the walls are bare and the scenes are often punctuated by the sound of trains going overhead. But it works. If anything, it adds a haunting element to the performance as if each actor is, in turn, being possessed by a spirit. Music is used effectively throughout, as is the lighting. At certain points, the spotlight throws an amber glow across the room, as if heating up with the intensity of the actors’ words.
The five female actors each come into their own when playing their particular characters. The women whose stories are told are Æthelflæd, Mary Prince, Princess Caraboo, Mary Seacole, Ada Lovelace, Constance Markievicz, Gwen John, Noor Inayat Khan, Joan Clarke and Brenda Procter. Pamela Jikiemi is utterly absorbing as Mary Prince and this is perhaps the stand-out performance on the day. Rebecca Crankshaw’s Ada Lovelace is also a favourite as is Lydia Bakelmun’s Princess Caraboo. The ensemble element of the show works well, creating a sense of a strong collective of women.
10 is well worth a watch for how it brings to life the stories of exceptional women. Added to this, it’s a brilliantly acted and creatively written piece that leaves you trembling at the power of good theatre.
Photo: Ali Wright
10 is at the Cavern from 13th until 17th March 2019. For further information or to book visit the show’s festival page here.
Read more reviews from our Vault Festival 2019 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Vault Festival website here.