The Boadicea of Britannia Street
New Town Theatre
Ade Morris’s The Boadicea of Britannia Street is an absolute gem of a play, beautifully observed and should be on your ‘must see’ list.
It is set in a small fictional north midlands mill town Wikham where Francesca, the excellent Lucinda Curtis, facing a lonely retirement following the recent death of her husband, decides to form a local creative writing group, meeting in the institute hall.
Unsure if anyone would turn up, she is delighted when pregnant PE teacher Penny, a sterling performance from Lizzie Lewis, arrives and is offered some liquid literary inspiration in the shape of a large vodka.
Alice Bernard is splendid as the reticent, vegetarian, lesbian librarian Janet who when asked whether she is gay replies, “No I’m bloody miserable.”
The final member of this disparate class is the abused wife, 47-year-old Annie, delightfully played by Polly Highton, and her optimism living in her fractured marriage is courageous.
As the group begins to bond together, we learn more about their lives. Penny explains, “I’m a teacher, I haven’t got time to read a book.” and her confidence, “is sucked out by vampire teenagers.”
Annie’s husband Keith is a vindictive bully who hits her and Janet ‘comes out’ to the group.
It is decided that they will make a play about Boadicea reflecting their newfound collaborative power as a group of women who confront their fears and realize their hopes and ambitions.
But for Fran, her ongoing cancer becomes more critical as she succumbs to being wheelchair-bound and more frail but still has the mettle and courage to survive and see the play through to the end against all odds.
Skilfully directed by Ade Morris, this is a sensitive, strong production that is a sheer joy and bound to be a Fringe hit.
Reviewer: Robin Strapp