Tag Archives: Genet

The Only Thing a Great Actress Needs

Arcola Theatre

The Only Thing a Great Actress Needs

The Only Thing a Great Actress Needs is a Great Play and the Desire to Succeed

Arcola Theatre

Reviewed – 22nd July 2019



“a hilarious, poignant, confronting and insightful watch”


Based on Jean Genet’s ‘The Maids’ CASA, London’s Festival of Latin American Arts presents the award winning play, ‘The Only Thing A Great Actress Needs Is A Desire To Succeed’, by the Mexican based theatre company Vaca 35.

This multi award winning play brings to light the sobering reality of life in servitude for marginalised women. In your face, loud and adventurous, this production interacts with the audience via multiple senses: sound, sight, smell and even touch (if you’re close enough) making it an incredibly visceral and tangible experience.

Directed by Damián Cervantes with actresses Diana Magallón and Maricarmen Ruíz playing the maids, Vaca 35 created an intimacy that felt as though we were voyeurs spying through the key hole of the servant’s quarters; witnessing the inner machinations of stir crazy serfs. It made for a hilarious, poignant, confronting and insightful watch. The play centres on the combative yet tender, co-dependent relationship between two women who manage the mundanity of their daily lives through fantasy and the monotony of chores. Staged in the unconventional space of the Arcola dressing room, the tiny arena all the more, heightened the claustrophobic, repetitive routine these maids partake in to generate a more bearable existence.

Without forcefully doing so, this play invites audiences to step into the shoes of another culture, country and lifestyle and still feel at home. This is why theatre is so powerful. Divisive assumptions are gently dismantled when a production, such as this, illuminates how similar we all are via our quirky and relatable idiosyncrasies.

It is incredible to believe that Vaca 35 have performed this play 297 times and by the end of this week they will surpass 300 performances. With such high octane energy and intensity, it boggles the mind to imagine how these actresses maintain such a fresh and vibrant portrayal each night. It’s well worth it though and their, obvious, desire to succeed has most certainly paid off.


Reviewed by Pippin

Photography by David Monteith-Hodge



The Only Thing a Great Actress Needs is a Great Play and the Desire to Succeed

Arcola Theatre until 26th July as part of the CASA Festival 2019


Previously reviewed at this venue:
Greek | ★★★★ | August 2018
Forgotten | ★★★ | October 2018
Mrs Dalloway | ★★★★ | October 2018
A Hero of our Time | ★★★★★ | November 2018
Stop and Search | ★★ | January 2019
The Daughter-In-Law | ★★★★★ | January 2019
Little Miss Sunshine | ★★★★★ | April 2019
The Glass Menagerie | ★★★★ | May 2019
Radio | ★★★★ | June 2019
Riot Act | ★★★★★ | June 2019


Click here to see more of our latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com




February 28th – March 11th

Theatre N16

A new play about Taylor Swift, Instagram and having no money


Swifties is a bold new adaptation of Jean Genet’s play The Maids, exploring the alienating and destructive effect that poverty, celebrity fetishism and social media can have on the lives of normal people. Swifties is written by Tom Stenton and directed by Luke Davies (The Chemsex Monologues, The HIV Monologues).

Yasmin and Nina work in an Amazon “fulfilment centre”. They live in Luton, the birthplace of Britain First. And they are Taylor Swift’s biggest fans. Ever. Their ultimate dream is to be a part of Tay Tay’s famous ‘girl squad’. But the closer they get to realising that dream, the blurrier the line between fantasy and reality becomes.

Swifties stars Isabella Niloufar and Tanya Cubric.

Isabella has just been announced as the lead in Salome, directed by Yaël Farber, playing at the National Theatre through May-July 2017.

Tanya recently starred in the Sky Atlantic adaptation of The Tunnel (2016).




February 28th 2017 – March 11th

Tuesday – Saturday, 7.30pm



Theatre N16,

The Bedford Pub, 77 Bedford Hill, London SW12 9HD




£12 (£10 concessions)

Theatre N16