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September 2004
This One's for the Girls
This One's for the Girls
This One's for the Girls

This One's for the Girls
By Anne Stewart

Burton Taylor Theatre

23 September - 25 September 2004

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The Burton Taylor
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Review by Luci Cummings

This one-woman show played to a full house at the Burton Taylor Theatre on opening night. The play began to the strains of 'Land of Hope and Glory', a quote from Margaret Thatcher, and an audience wearing campaign badges bearing a photo of Cindy Blake - perennial hostess and alter ego of the playwright Anne Stewart.

The play follows Cindy's fortunes as she announces to her girlfriends that she plans to stand as a candidate for the local council. She seems the most unlikely person to do so, her main preoccupations in life being handbags, makeup, and the superiority of Waitrose over Marks and Spencer. As the play continues, we watch Cindy experience both triumph and pain in her life.

This is not a split-your-sides with laughter, rolling in the aisles experience. The humour is gentle and much of it, as the title suggests, is aimed at women. However, the audience was made up of both men and women, both of whom chuckled at the jokes. The set made effective use of the space, suggesting the interior of Cindy's lounge using a window, a door and a couple of items of furniture. The use of sound and video inserts throughout the play added interest as well as giving Stewart time to change. It might have been good to have more of these, perhaps with improved sound quality.

Stewart's performance was subtle, perhaps too much so. Some of the jokes were masked by the tone in which they were delivered. The dialogue also lacked pace, which tended to get in the way of the humour. However, this worked very well for the sadder moments in Cindy's life, and the intimate setting of the Burton Taylor theatre only enhanced the pathos.

This play is much more than the advertising would suggest. It doesn't just show the intricate preparations of a woman before she goes out for an evening; it is a snapshot of her life.

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