REVIEW: CLEAN SLATE (Courtyard Theatre) ★★★★
Clean Slate began as Table Rase, written by Catherine Chabot and produced in Montreal in 2015. The play won the award for best new writing in Quebec in 2016. The first English language staging of the play comes to the Courtyard Theatre in Hoxton in a production by Trip & Guts Theatre, a company that aims to showcase writing from Quebec.
The play tells the tale of an evening in a lakeside cabin where six women, friends since school, have gathered. The dining table is swiftly covered with bottles of alcohol and the drinking begins in earnest. The conversation quickly turns to sex, porn and relationships; no topic is taboo for this close group as they speak honestly about their lives and question each other’s choices. As the evening progresses, the heart breaking reason for this reunion of old friends becomes clear and differences are set aside as each woman reveals what she will leave behind in the morning.
Each of the six characters is based on the real life experiences of the group of actresses that created and performed the original play in French. Only two things spoken about are not true, you can decide for yourself which they are. This cast of six women, Canadian, American and British, have taken on the challenge of making the translated script work in English, replacing the Quebec references that don’t travel. They make these women relatable, presenting the voices of young women rarely heard so honestly on stage; they speak and behave like real people and seem to have built a genuine friendship group.
The writing here is strong and the characters are well developed. Clean Slate is a celebration of female friendship that will leave you considering what you would do if you found yourself in the same position as this group.
Reviewed by Rhiannon Evans
Clean Slate plays at the Courtyard Theatre until 13 July 2017