No View From the Window
Rebecca Mahon and Kim Jackson
24:7 Theatre Festival, New Century House, Manchester
No View From The Window is a monologue delivered by Louise in a filthy bathroom while, we soon discover, her mother's wake is taking place downstairs.
Louise tells us about how this bathroom became her room as she escaped from her controlling mother who never gave her any freedom or credit. She takes us through her childhood: her first period, first kiss and first sexual encounter, her mother's affair with the bathroom salesman and her own marriage and relationship with her daughter. Interspersed with the narrative are little fantasy sections involving a soundscape of mixed sounds and TV clips from her past and various objects she produces out of the toilet.
Co-writer Rebecca Mahon as Louise has an interesting and moving story to tell with plenty of humour on a very impressive set designed by Kate Unwin; I am informed that the emotional resonance of the story is considerably stronger for female audience members, which I can understand from the subject matter if not confirm first-hand, and that a few have left in tears.
On a theatrical level, the piece is only partially successful. The frequent intrusions of the cleverly-created soundtrack do not integrate well with the personal story, bringing everything to a halt for a moment each time they appear and killing the pace. These elements could be made to work if director Kim Gillespie had found a way of making the action flow more smoothly between the different styles of presentation, but it's hard not to wonder whether it might be considerably more effective if Mahon had simply stood on stage and told the story without any technical gimmickry.
The story itself works well and is very well told by Mahon with some emotional moments, some funny lines and a horrible revelation at the end. With some attention to the way the piece is delivered, this could be a far more intense theatrical experience that would see a lot more laughs and tears from the audience.
Until 31st July
Reviewer: David Chadderton