REVIEW: CALM DOWN DEAR: A FESTIVAL OF FEMINISM (Camden People’s Theatre)
Calm Down Dear comprises two separate but very different events on the theme of personal, sometimes painful issues. They are Blush and The Absolute Truth About Absolutely Everything.
Blush, was a two hander concerning one of the most relevant subjects of the present day, revenge porn. It’s effect on it’s victims, it’s tragedy and it’s sadness. . The style of the play is that each of the two actors, in turn, presents an individual monologue discussing their character’s feelings with the audience. Three women characters, are each played by Charlotte Josephine who also wrote the play, and two men played by Daniel Foxsmith. The acting is powerful and first rate. The audience feels both warmth and sympathy for the characters.
Blush is not easy to watch, it is uncomfortable in the extreme but is quite wonderful too. Not always easy to follow but it is worth the effort.
The first woman shown is persuaded by her boyfriend to send nude photographs of her self to him. These are spitefully sent around the Internet by her, then ex-boyfriend, when they break up. She feels that she is at fault and blames her self instead of her ex. She feels belittled, disgraced and shamed. What is, to her tormentor, just a cowardly impersonal act, is to her, embarrassing in the extreme and devastating. So sad and heartbreaking. The remaining monologues don’t get any easier.
The two male characters seem to suffer less than the female characters but maybe that is how society is. The woman is considered a “slag” whereas the man is considered “a bit of a lad”.
Blush is running at the Camden People’s Theatre until the 24th September 2016 so please make every effort to see it if you can it really is important.
The Absolute Truth About Absolutely Everything is in an unusual format where the writer, Olly Hawes, performs on stage with a second person chosen from the audience, in this case Charlotte. Olly Hawes seems genuinely nice and very funny, but like many of us, he has a dark side which he reveals for our delectation in one of the scripts.
Five scripts are laid out in a short line on the floor of the empty stage which Charlotte is instructed to read aloud, as directed by Olly, from each script in turn.
Each script is a monologue about Olly based on his innermost feelings and contradictions. The first of the scripts are funny and concern his contradictory attitudes such as his Socialist leanings and his tendency to pay as little income tax as possible. However the later scripts become darker particularly when he talks about his sexual preferences and his penchant for violent pornography.
This could be considered brave on Olly’s part or was it included just for titivation? The whole show is the opposite of feminist. It is a man instructing a woman, to describe his most intimate thoughts and sexual preferences. It is small wonder that Olly asks the audience, should they see him in the bar after the show, not to talk about it. However the excellent Charlotte took the whole thing in good part.
OK enough amateur psychology from me, it was enjoyable and well played. The format seemed to be original and fun. It did seem a little disjointed in places but half the cast (Charlotte) was completely unrehearsed so what can you expect.
The Absolute Truth About Absolutely Everything is running at the Camden People’s Theatre until the 8th October 2016 and it is worth the effort to see it if you can.
Reviewed by Graham Archer