A Woman’s World / Monster of State – 2.5 Stars


A Woman’s World / Monster of State

Etcetera Theatre

Reviewed – 24th April 2018


“frequent unwieldiness and occasional verbosity meant that it was hard to connect with these women’s emotionally-charged stories”


These two monologues were driven by compelling, nuanced performances. But overall, frequently excessive prose and a lack of direction meant the potential of these pieces was swallowed by a paucity of theatricality.

Jade-Marie Joseph and Grace-Anne Rossi led the audience with integrity and strong stage presences, a challenge in the Etcetera Theatre’s small black box auditorium. Joseph convincingly chatters to a line of stuffed toys, which she lines up like another row of audience. This was a clever piece of staging, as the audience simultaneously felt twice removed from the action, and closer to the fragility of her mental state, which is like a wall between her and the outside world. Joseph’s performance was occasionally beautifully detailed, and she managed transitions between characters – or, voices – well, aided by changes in lighting. However, a bolder directorial choice, to make the manifestations of her inner turmoil more stylised, would have drawn the audience into empathy. As it was, the laxness in pace made it difficult to invest in her story.

Grace-Anne Rossi held herself like a piece of taut elastic which could snap at any moment, balancing poise with a restless, anxious energy. Addressing an imaginary interviewer, Rossi remained static, sat at a table drinking countless glasses of wine. Despite this stultifying lack of staging, Rossi still brought light and shade to her performance: a realism which the script failed to flesh out, and a watchability which the sparse direction hindered.

The themes explored in A Woman’s World / Monster of State of mental health; the cost of feminine ideals; and how societal pressures can cripple self-worth, are so important – and it is always refreshing to see women create a forum for discussion of these on stage. But simply creating the forum is not enough. While Tony Hyland’s writing showed flashes of promise, its frequent unwieldiness and occasional verbosity meant that it was hard to connect with these women’s emotionally-charged stories. Unfortunately, oftentimes the writing sagged into sluggishly-sketched female stereotypes. Holly J Kasselder’s direction could have given the experience much needed variations in pace, place and tone. Both works, though not without good ideas, were in need of a further few drafts before being lifted from the page.


Reviewed by Eloïse Poulton


A Woman’s World / Monster of State

Etcetera Theatre until 28th April


Previously at this venue
Find Your way Home | ★★★★ | February 2018
Hello Georgie, Goodbye Best | ★★ | April 2018


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