Tag Archives: Vaca 35

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


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