I’m now starting to equate everything that Theatre 503 puts on stage, as being brilliant. I’ve been to the venue several times and I have been blown away every single time. And this visit to see No Place For a Woman was pleasingly, no different. For those of you who have never been (and I encourage you to do so!) it’s a small venue, above the Latchmere pub in a not-very-easy to reach part of Battersea. I mean, it’s quite easy once you’re on the bus there, but let’s say it’s not a hop skip and a jump away from the tube! Going there feels like a worthwhile theatre pilgrimage. I love the smallness of the theatre, it gives me the same feeling that I have when I see an up-and-coming band for the first time, before they go on to hit the big time. At Theatre 503 I always have a feeling that I’m about to watch a play that should and will reach a zenith and achieve its deserved success.
No Place For a Woman is a short, and powerful play. A black-set backdrop is a very effective way in keeping the feeling of simplicity, so that the focus is solely on the two women and the power of their emotions, combined with their talent makes for a captivating 75 minutes that is set during the end of the Second World War. Behind them is a male, solo cellist, who you can just about make out through the black screen and his playing trickles through the play to add drama and a serene tone. With no interval, the play is very intense in nature.
Isabella is a slight, passionate ballerina, who is taken from camp to perform for Nazi officers. She is fully engrossed in her ballet world and everything about her is a bit serene, surreal and fragile, yet somewhere you know that she is also strong underneath. Performing alongside her is Annie. She is slightly older, aristocratic and seems desperately lonely and with the look of not knowing where her source of happiness will come from. They are both very different, but both are united in their struggle and although hopeful, behind their eyes is a somewhat dead and flattened soul, waiting to be happy.
As the play is only 75 minutes, is ends perfectly. As it is so intense, I feel that making it any longer would cause some distress to the audience, because one is so completely hooked by the actresses. Moments of anger and shouting and then being calm add an eerie and powerful edge throughout the play. It’s definitely one to see, the actresses are fantastic and give a spellbinding performance.
Cast: Emma Paetz and Ruth Gemmell (Elliott Rennie playing the Cello) Theatre: Theatre 503 Director: Kate Budgen Writer: Cordelia O’Neill Duration: 75 mins Performance Dates: Showing until 27th May 2017