Thursday, 13 November 2008

Yard Gal - Time Out Review and critics choice

Yard Gal
Until Nov 15

Oval House Theatre, 52-54 Kennington Oval, London, SE11 5SW

Rating: 4 stars

By Tamara Gausi

Posted: Mon Nov 10

Two teenage girls swagger on to an almost bare stage like they’re holding champion staffs. Audience members flinch. One girl clutches her boyfriend as if they’ll be blown away by the maelstrom. But Boo (Stefanie Di Rubbo) and Marie (Monsay Whitney) are armed only with their violent tale of drugs, prostitution, girls gangs and gang bangs, and an unshakeable resolve to tell it.Rebecca Prichard’s ‘Yard Gal’, which won her the Critics’ Circle Most Promising Playwright Award in 1998, is the story of two best friends who run the daily gauntlet of urban dysfunction, or as Boo puts it ‘chatting shit, getting fucked, getting high and doing crimes’.It’s disturbing terrain and Di Rubbo and Whitney walk it with towering passion and commitment. In newcomer Stef O’Driscoll’s abrasive and gripping (be prepared for lots of close contact) production, they revisit the cold heart of ’90s London rather than its Cool Britannia, a city also documented in books including Victor Headley’s ‘Yardie’ and Vanessa Walters’s ‘Rude Girls’. It seems a shame, then, with all the timely references to Trenz nightclub and gaudy Moschino prints, that O’Driscoll doesn’t do more to root this production in that period. Rather than subtracting from its contemporary relevance, some kiss curls and stretch jeans might’ve provided some useful cultural sign posting. And for all the horror of the stories, Prichard’s writing rarely goes below its sordid surface. But that Di Rubbo and Whitney take us, and keep us, there for a very uncomfortable hour is testament to the power of this impressive trio of stage debuts.

Comments from website:


Posted by Max Carter on 11 Nov 2008 13:00
I saw the play last week and ‘kiss curls and stretch jeans’ would just be the obvious and stereotypical choice as we border on Kidulthood territory of making these characters seem non realistic and urban streets become glamorized not raw failing to depicts the harsh realties of the streets. It must be taken into account that the play is fundamentally storytelling as Boo and Marie are narrating an account of their lives. They tell the story of their teenage life as adults and act out moments of being 15. If they were still in ‘kiss curls and stretch jeans’ then it would give the impression that they haven’t moved on from that period when in actual fact change has occurred and as charters they have grown. Also given that they have to play different characters, this approach would have been detrimental for the audience in terms of recognizing the various characters purely from the accent or movement that the girls utilize to differentiate them.A brilliant production full of energy a must see! These girls are talented!!!

Posted by Michael A on 03 Nov 2008 18:43
watched this play on press night and I thoroughly enjoyed myself throughout the performance, which lasted just over an hour. I was impressed not only by the 2 actors who played all of the characters in the play but also by the theatre we were in. We were in a fairly small theatre and on the same level as the performers which made me, as well as the rest of audience, feel more involved in the play to such an extent that by the end of the play, not only did I know the names of every single character in the play but i also felt like I actually knew the characters personally. This play certainly comes closer to the reality of everyday life on the streets compared to a lot of other urban drama's i have seen such as Bullet Boy for instance, and as a young man born & bred in London, I can certainly relate to the play although it is still equally relevant to people from all backgrounds & walks of life. This play isn't one to see if you're looking for an amazing theatrical spectacle with loads of colours and fancy costumes, but if you ARE looking for an hour and a half of constant entertainment with an interesting plot which takes you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions but yet leaves you leaving the theatre completely satisfied then this certainly is for you.Overall, really, really enjoyed myself. This play certainly deserves 5 stars for the performance and I will certainly be looking out for any production involving Stef O'Driscoll, Monsay Whitney and Stefanie Di Rubbo again!

Posted by Roy Weise on 02 Nov 2008 19:52
An electric production of this fiery play with superb, larger than life performances from two amazing actresses. The simple set allows you to make full use of the imagination and the intimacy takes you to the streets of Hackney in an instant. The story is just absolutely touching and a vital source of ghetto or urban education.Loved it.

No comments: