Twice Over @ Greenside
Brought to us by Edinburgh University’s Theatre Paradok, this carefully crafted and expertly executed piece takes a look at two northern women making their way under the leadership of Thatcher and May.
Written in rhythmic feminist verse, this piece by talented duo Eve Simpson and Jane Prinsley presents us with the evolving challenges faced by female identity in two different eras. While one struggles to assert her freshly privileged voice, the other finds the means to own hers. An impressive songstress in her own right, Simpson lends her exceptional talent to her character – a woman who harnesses song as a means of protest, when struggling to juggle the commitments of family life with the demands of being a working woman.
"It's not a secret ballot, it's a silent test", Simpson's Woman 1 tells us, as she stands at the ballot for fifteen minutes trying to figure out who is on her side. She conveys, with utter sincerity, the impossibility of finding a feminist ally in Thatcher, whose atomistic principles go directly against her sense of working-class community values.
Meanwhile, the presentation of Theresa May's resignation speech highlights the disconnect between the laissez-faire attitude of our female prime ministers and the daily problems women on the frontline face. Years down the line, the contemporary character Fran has to go beyond the confines of her middle class university – to food banks and other local organisations – in order to find any solace in community and the common good.
The voices of both Thatcher and May pepper this intimate play, which is always poignant and never trite. But the portrayal of the two prime ministers is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the extensive research undertaken by these two writers. Prinsley and Simpson mesh the personal and political by drawing on the life experience’s of Eve’s mother and grandmother, as well as various women from the political scene over the last 40 years. The result is a sincere and moving account of what it means to be a woman trying to make progress in unfamiliar territory.
Twice Over, Greenside @ Nicolson Square (Fern Studio), until 10 Aug, 6.40pm, £8-12