In a small room in an unknown palace, four women wait for the arrival of a mysterious dictator. They are: the absent dictator’s wife (Rosie Richards), her oldest friend (Martina Kavanová), a foreign photographer (Natalie Woodward) and her interpreter (Ellie Mae MacDonald). As the conversation and chilli vodka run dry, we soon become aware that in this strange secluded place, all is not as it seems.
Mischa Andreski has taken on the difficult but undoubtedly worthwhile task of staging Abi Morgan’s politically charged drama ‘Splendour’. Together with her strong all-female cast and crew, this group of performers promise to lead us through the tangled labyrinth that is Morgan’s script. The play itself is incredibly experimental; playing with our concept of time with repetitions, flashbacks and soliloquies. This both traps the audience and characters in the staged situation and simultaneously allows for a greater exploration of the character’s thoughts and feelings, whilst also gradually revealing the context of the oppressive force that threatens to, quite literally, invade their private space.
As well as an intriguing format, ‘Splendour’ aims to tackle relevant and provocative themes. This small cast of brilliant women each portray a character that is wholly different to the other. Richards perfectly embodies the indulgent and oblivious wife, her snappy retorts and escalating drinking habits serve as the first hints that her world is slowly crumbling. Kavanová’s passive and calm demeanor seems cleverly constructed and Woodward’s frustrated confusion at the women around her resonates with the equally bewildered audience. As scenes are repeated like a stuck record, the tension in the room increases exponentially, over and over again we see each character failing to communicate with the other, only revealing truths to the audience. Social dynamics, power and hierarchy are put under intense scrutiny and revealed to be fickle, fragile things that can bend and break. The voices (both exterior and interior) of these four women combines to create an intriguing and compelling vision of a world teetering on the edge of destruction.
‘Splendour’ looks set for being a thrilling piece of drama, with a complex script and an incredibly capable cast, it will challenge even the most experienced audience member’s interpretations. This production promises to deliver a fast-paced, tension-filled evening of drama, deception and dissolution. The revolution is coming, don’t miss out.