Letters to Windsor House

Louise Mothersole and Rebecca Biscuit
Sh!t Theatre
Soho Theatre
to

The Woodberry Park Estate development in Manor House London is very popular. Berkeley Homes who built it published a survey a little while back that claimed residents were very happy with it, and it has certainly been a hit with investors. Apparently 55% of the first phase of the development was sold to people living overseas.

It’s perhaps no surprise that Berkeley Homes is sometimes talked about as the future of property development in Britain and, since much of Sh!t Theatre’s show is about them, it is appropriate that the performers Rebecca Biscuit and Louise Mothersole who also live in Manor House should begin by humming "Rule Britannia" in satiric homage to this company’s brave new world.

Becca and Louise take a slightly different view of this successful development, pointing to the loss of council houses knocked down to build the estate and the cost of buying a flat on it. They even show us film of them posing as prospective buyers being offered one for sale at just under a million pounds.

They occupy a council flat nearby in a block called Windsor House that has yet to receive the bulldozers and in a very funny show invite us to hear a very different account of the area, where homeless people sleep on the streets.

They do so with a lot of humour, some occasional songs sung a capella and at least one dance wearing huge red cardboard facsimiles of Royal Mail postal boxes.

The mail is an important part of their story as a lot of it to former residents of their home keeps accumulating. Their solution is to track down these people to pass it on. In the process they speculate on what they might be like.

In the case of Rob Jecock who receives a lot of mail about baby milk, they conclude he must be an adult baby. They turn this into the extremely catchy song "Rob Jecock is an adult baby".

You also get to know what it’s like having to share a very small place, as Becca and Louise read letters to each other from their respective post boxes. We also hear some of the very good but loud music played by certain neighbours and how other neighbours "sweep the floor tenderly."

It’s a fast, surreal, funny show with a social conscience that gives us a glimpse of Manor House in transition.

In fifteen years time when "around 2,000 council or former council houses" will have been demolished and replaced by luxury homes, this quirky play will still have told a greater truth than the published films and surveys of Berkeley Homes.

Reviewer: Keith Mckenna