I’d better confess upfront that I am quite invested in 6 Women. A couple of years ago, I was fortunate enough to be approached to help with a new project about women from 6 different decades of life. I enjoyed writing my responses to a few 'prompt questions', which led to a more detailed one-to-one interview and a rather self-indulgent trip down memory lane, for me at least.
In July 2017 I went to see a
staged reading of the play in its draft form, at the Offbeat festival in
Along with the show’s
Director/Producer Lizzy McBain, Gaye Poole is the writer who pulled together
stories from real women, and, with a dash of creative licence, wove them into
the 90-minute performance we witnessed this evening. Amongst other shows,
Poole has previously written the brilliant DRY, a
I love this minimalism when it comes to set design, because it draws focus on the performers, all of whom did a sterling job in telling their story. The low-key set is reflected in the lean use of movement and music to highlight flashbacks and memories; as Jo (Amanda Edmead) is going into a time when her family were downstairs watching TV while she is upstairs doing some ‘research’, the five other cast members come together to provide the audience with an image of that memory. This device was used sparingly throughout and added to the drama brought to the characters' monologues as they discussed their lives with the absent BBC interviewer (and the audience).
It’s difficult to go into the content of the play without writing a complete essay about the challenges, and similarities and differences, that women have experienced in their personal lives throughout different ages and decades. I was transfixed throughout, believing that every cast member’s tale was not scripted, but their own, due to such powerful performances. The youngest interviewee, Ella, was performed with touching, honest sincerity by Caitlin-Carrick Varty. Summer Luk’s Thea was equally compelling. Indeed, all 6 performers, Jane (Maggie Saunders), May (Anita Wright) and the indomitable, hilarious Sobena (Tamsin Heatley) as well as Varty, Edmead and Luk gave wonderful representations of the real-life stories Poole has so painstakingly woven together to create these characters.