• Amy Toledano

Tennessee Williams: Women Of Paradise presented by Lights Down Productions

Image courtesy of Ellie Langford. Pictured Megan Cusack (Left) and Gemma Barnett (Right)

What Is It?

A series of short plays written by female playwrights, inspired by the writing of Tennessee Williams, who was notorious for his creation of brilliant female characters.

What Is It All About?

Lights Down Productions brings together this series of original and exciting new pieces, in a scratch showcase inspired by the writing of Tennessee Williams.

There is a vast range of styles and narratives being told here, and it is really interesting to see the different responses to the original writing.

From the voice of Williams himself (Mister Paradise) to the more meta musings of Arbeit Macht Frei by Naomi Westerman, there is something for everyone.

Female relationships, motherhood, friendship, and abortion are just some of the themes touched on throughout the show.

This showcase is excellent at reminding an audience of the brilliance of female writing and gives a perspective that is overlooked far too regularly.

The pieces also include all female directors which brings another level of honest feminine energy to the stage.

Image courtesy of Ellie Langford. Pictured Amy Garner Buchannan (Left) and Chloe Ewart (Right)

How Did It Make Me Feel?

There are strong performances all around, and each play provides an insight into the kinds of women Williams was writing, and also highlights the progressive nature of this.

Dear Audrey, by Jalice Corral and directed by Rebekah Murrell is one of the stand outs of the showcase as Molly Wheaton, Gemma Barnett and Megan Cusack navigate their way through a lunch date, that exposes the realities of societal pressures surrounding motherhood, adultery and abortion. The performances are nuanced and bitingly delicate.

Claire Cartwright is also wonderful in the gentle and hopeful monologue, The Field of Blue Children by Chloe Ewart and directed by Sarah Berger.

Motherhood is a big theme in this show, and the many forms it takes are proof of the importance of female playwrights and directors and the need for showcases such as this one. I left the theatre feeling elated and inspired, and hopeful for more shows of this kind.

Image courtesy of Ellie Langford. Pictured Molly Wheaton (Left) and Jack Tivey (Right)

Anything Else?

A wonderful showcase that elevates some outstanding female talent that the U.K. currently has on offer, and a reminder of the rich and complex female characters that should and finally are beginning to exist on stage.

Amy x

Tennessee Williams: Women of Paradise played at Trafalgar Studios until the 12th September 2019.

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