Chickenshed in North London is hosting a month of monologues with four performances each evening in the Studio Theatre; two from known writers and two new pieces by new writers, new directors and new actors, a real Chickenshed experience.
The evening begins with a piece from Alan Bennet’s Talking Heads. ‘Her Big Chance’ was performed on television by Julie Walters as Lesley, a jobbing actress who secures a role in a low budget movie and maintains her professionality in the face of dubious requests from her colleagues. Here Lesley is played by Belinda McGuirk, who brilliantly presents the experience of a young actress used and manipulated for show business.
The second monologue plays with the form, involving the audience in the storytelling. This is the world premiere of ‘This Is Me’, autobiographical fragments from writer Diane Samuels’ life. The piece is performed by two very different actresses who alternate the role each evening, asking the audience to decide the order the fragments are performed, making each performance unique. This is an impressive piece to perform as the actors need to recall snippets when audience members call out the titles. Young actress Lucy-Mae Beacock gave an impressive performance as the Younger Diane.
After the interval, two monologues are performed from six new pieces created by a group of thirty creative artists from the Chickenshed community. All six are being performed in a pop up venue, The Shed, in a New Monologue festival. I saw ‘Last Piece of the Sun’ and ‘I Found Love in a Bin (in Waterloo Station)’, if the other pieces are as well written and thought provoking as these then it’s well worth a trip to the end of the Piccadilly Line.
Reviewed by Rhiannon Evans