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  • Writer's pictureNeill Kovacic-Clarke


🎭 She  

📍 Drayton Arms Theatre, 153 Old Brompton Road, London, SW5 0LJ                 

🗓 Monday 22nd April 2024



Written and directed by Lee James Broadwood SHE is a play which invites its audience into the mind of a woman in the lead up to taking her own life. The character, portrayed by Penny Tomai, is on stage sat on a bed as the audience enters the space.

In her own world, she sits quietly on the bed. There is something distant and indifferent about her as she silently grasps bedding and tissue paper which seem to be acting as a comfort blanket, protecting her from the world.

Tomai acts the piece beautifully and with utter sincerity and believability. Never talking directly to the audience, or even acknowledging them, she has candor as she elequently draws us into her fears and feelings.

She seems to care not for her appearance and doesn't leave her bed, focusing on two important relationships she has lost. One with a friend and one with a lover, and it is these two who her ramblings are projected to.

The character is pitched perfectly and never comes across as crazy, but rather just broken. We see her in the depths of her depression and how little things seem much bigger in her state of mind.

The ending is profound and really makes you think. The creative choice not to have the actor take a bow but just leave the stage is wonderfully different and this piece seems to push the boundries of conventional theatre making.

Overall I really enjoyed the performance and found the subject matter and storyline utterly compelling. The only thing that let it down for me was how quiet it was. Understandably needed, but because the stage was not miked, even in the small venue I missed a lot of dialogue.

Personally my brain gets distracted easily and then I really have to focus to draw myself back and even small audience noises completely drowned out the action from the stage. Mixed with environmental sounds from outside this unfortunately meant that there were times when I was unsure of the direction of the story and I really had to concentrate my mind to bring myself back to the action.

I don't think that the actor necessarily needs a personal microphone, but just one placed on the stage would elevate the sound enough for me not to have missed anything. Had I had a better experience with the sound then I would have undoubtedly have awarded this production a higher star rating.

The staging was simple yet effective and I would be interested to see an even more intimate performance of SHE, perhaps with a small audience sat on the floor around the bed would be interesting?

Supporting grassroots theatre such as this is important for the future of the industry. You can find out more about the creative team behind this production and about future performances of SHE by clicking here and head to the Drayton Arms Theatre website to find out about their upcoming shows.

Neill Kovacic-Clarke

All views are my own and I pride myself on being honest, fair and free from influence. Theatre is subjective and it is important to remember that all views expressed are just those of one reviewer.

My ticket for this performance of She was gifted by the Drayton Arms Theatre who invited me to watch the show in exchange for my honest review. The fact that my ticket was gifted played no part in the content of my review or the star rating given.


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