Friday, 29 April 2016

    Theatre Review | The Maids ★★★★★

    Five Stars! I believe this is the first five star theatre review to appear on the blog, but this incredibly production of The Maids, at Trafalgar Studios, truly deserves nothing less.

    This Jamie Lloyd directed adaptation of Jean Genet's most brutal of plays, runs for 1 hour 45 minutes, without an interval. 

    Of course the main draw here is the powerhouse trio of actors that are playing out this twisted tale; Uzo Aduba, of Orange is the New Black, and Zawe Ashton, of Fresh Meat (also a playwright in her own right), play the mentally exhausted and unstable maids, and Laura Carmichael, of Downton Abbey, is their passive aggressive mistress. 

    As Aduba and Ashton are on stage for the entire duration, the physical and mental exhaustion of their characters is so the play goes on their hair becomes frizzy and sweat drips from their heads...these are women on the edge. The two sisters they are playing obviously have a disturbing relationship that walks on the thin line between too much love and hate. So when they're acting out their creepy fantasy of murdering their self absorbed mistress, you're never overly sure if it's pure make believe, or whether Aduba is holding Ashton's neck that little bit too tight.

    Aduba is an actual tour de force in this drama; I walked away totally in awe of her acting skills. Laura Carmichael was perhaps the actor I was least familiar with going in, and as she has the smallest speaking part, perhaps the actor you come out least familiar with too. However, for such a petite person she manages to exert a big amount of mean and snappy; the kind that really would wear down a maid. Not quite evil enough to detest, not quite nice enough to like; her character is confusing, and this only adds to the mental instability of the sisters - are they the evil ones?

    The staging was truly a beautiful surprise. The entire play is acted out on a stage cornered by four pillars and a ceiling overhead. The floor is made up of multiple trap doors so props are hurriedly cleaned away, showing the maids sparse existence. The real visual stunner is the rose petals that shower the stage, from the ceiling. 

    This is the first psychological play I've seen, but it won't be my last. It creates such great discussion afterward and stays with you long after you've left the theatre.

    Seriously, not a bad word to say.....anyone else seen it and agree? ...M x


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