Tag Archives: Jack Westgate

FFS! (A Feminist Fable Series)

The Space

FFS! (A Feminist Fable Series)

FFS! (A Feminist Fable Series)

The Space

Reviewed – 6th March 2019



“All three pieces are written with wit, nuance and understanding”


With International Women’s Day just around the corner, the question remains: how do we deal with the problems facing women today? How do we tackle everyday sexism, unspoken fears and societal pressures? Wonderbox have the answer – to discuss them frankly and honestly whilst also finding the funny side. And that’s exactly what every piece in their show Feminist Fable Series does.

The first piece, StilettNO!, tackles workplace double standards. Jac (Carla Garratt) is an office temp whose boss, Jack (Jack Westgate), tells her that female employees are required to wear heels. For some reason, Jac objects. ‘Why?’ Jack wonders. Luckily, the narrator (Danica Corns) is on hand to guide the bewildered Jack through this difficult situation. Corns’ gently acerbic narration is the highlight of this play, which is well-written if a little abrupt in its ending.

The Night is without question the funniest of the three. Jessica (Corns), Gemma (Garratt), and Liz (Alice Merivale) need to get home after a house party. Walk? No way. Night bus? Not after last time. Taxi? Didn’t know you were up for getting kidnapped. As the girls figure out what to do, their conversation moves beyond the problem with men and onto their problems with each other. The three actors have great chemistry; they are a very recognisable group of friends in a sadly relatable situation. Merivale deserves special mention for her fantastic performance as ‘sexless punchbag for Ofsted’ Liz, a primary school teacher who just wants to let go.

Sixth formers Stacey (Corns) and Harri (Garratt) are the focus of Category: Teen. Stacey has a boyfriend, Luke (Westgate), whose obsession with porn means he’s always up for sex. Which is great… except it’s only him that enjoys it. Harri wants a girlfriend, but is too shy to approach her crush. She could try and get sexual fulfilment through lesbian porn. Which would be great… except it seems that it isn’t actually for lesbians. The two friends must navigate these problems together – but how? This is by far the most complex and intriguing piece from FFS! Not only does it show pornography’s effects on young women, it also examines its impact on male behaviour and self-esteem. The sensitive acting of the ensemble is particularly striking. They carefully balance the light and serious moments, leading to a satisfying and heart-warming conclusion.

All three pieces are written with wit, nuance and understanding by Claire Rammelkemp, with Holly Bond as co-writer for The Night. The ensemble bring their words to life brilliantly, making the debates feel real and relevant. As a production it is a little clunky: set changes take quite a long time, and the use of large tables and chairs seems a little impractical. This does pay off for The Night, however, which set in a bathroom full of little details and surprises.

FFS! is the perfect response to female frustration: speak up, share your stories and, most importantly, find the humour in everything. Claire Rammelkemp was right. Feminists are hilarious.


Reviewed by Harriet Corke

Photography by Bethany Blake


FFS! (A Feminist Fable Series)

The Space until 9th March


Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
Fleeced | | September 2018
Little Pieces of Gold | ★★★★★ | October 2018
Love is a Work In Progress | ★★★★ | October 2018
The Full Bronte | ★★★ | October 2018
Woman of the Year | ★★★ | October 2018
Little Women | ★★★½ | December 2018
Brawn | ★★★ | January 2019
Laundry | ★★★ | January 2019
The Dip | ★★★★ | February 2019
The South Afreakins | ★★★★★ | February 2019


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


Asking for a Raise – 2 Stars


Asking for a Raise

The Space

Reviewed – 3rd July 2018


“The ensemble work produced by this cast was of the highest calibre, and the skill required to pull off this type of work should not be underestimated”


Asking for a Raise is a devised comedy which explores one of the central and perennial demands of office culture; exactly how do you pluck up the courage to ask for a raise? It’s a situation familiar to many of us, although the ‘universal office’ in the piece had more in common with offices of the past than with contemporary work spaces. One of the performers – the excellent Poppy Lawless – mentions her time at a call centre in her programme biography, and this reviewer couldn’t help feeling that the piece would have been taken to the next level by properly drawing on the experiences of these young actors, rather than rehashing an office setting that essentially hasn’t changed since the 1950s.

There’s no doubt that Hugo Aguirre (designer/director) and Franciska Éry (director), ably assisted by Liam Murphy (music), have produced a slick piece of theatre. It is visually arresting and tightly choreographed, with some well-orchestrated set pieces. Stylistically, it is reminiscent of the wonderful formative years of Theatre de Complicité, and there is still a lot of fun to be had within that absurdist European tradition. Again however, there was a feeling of disconnect. It felt like a well-mastered technique, as opposed to an organically-developed theatrical language, unique to this company, and as such, was lacking in soul. The office is, of course, an alienating soulless space, but the subject shouldn’t affect the performance quality. The ensemble work produced by this cast was of the highest calibre, and the skill required to pull off this type of work should not be underestimated. It was just a shame that the substance of the piece was not there for them to work with, and that they were not more present as individuals.

Fifty minutes is an awful lot of time for one relatively flimsy scenario to fill, no matter how much flair there is in its execution, and the script would have benefited from the same attention to detail as its performative realisation. Congratulations though to Poppy Lawless, Imogen Parker (with special mention to her wonderful solo smoky jazz pastiche), Jacob Ward, Jack Westgate and Gemma Wray. It would be exciting to see this gang work together again, taking a few more risks and bringing in some heart.


Reviewed by Rebecca Crankshaw

Photography by LivLeopard Photography


Asking to a Raise

The Space until 7th July


Previously reviewed at this venue
One Festival | ★★★ | January 2018
Citizen | ★★★★ | April 2018
Be Born | | June 2018


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