THEATRE REVIEW: The Writer starring Romola Garai


WHERE: Almeida

WHEN: 28/4 (matinee) runs to 26/5/18

A theatregoer is asked what she thinks of the play she has just seen and her response is one of the angriest and brilliant outbursts of new writing we’ve seen for a long time.

  • Read on for reasons including why Ella Hickson’s new play doesn’t sustain its blistering pace

We last saw author Ella Hickson’s ambitious but flawed Oil at this venue in October 2016 and the opening of The Writer outdoes it effortlessly in its two opening scenes.

In the second we learn that the opening we witnessed was in fact dialogue written by a nervous author played convincingly by our star Romola Garai who is explaining in a Q&A with the audience what the inspiration for the exchange is.

We’re in #MeToo territory then where our writer is challenging with conviction a status quo that makes it difficult for women to have their stories told and to see their lives portrayed on stage.

After this challenging opening we’d venture that this new work was a game of two halves, if that wasn’t such a masculine cliche (and there’s no interval), and that the quality of the writing falls off a cliff as the notion of play form is questioned and the plot resorts to lazy oral sex shocks while struggling to sustain interest.

It’s brave of the Almeida to stage such work which sacrifices quality for the timeliness of its message that women have been subjugated for too long and will stand for it no longer.

At its heart is an absolutely committed performance from Garai who plays every scene with such conviction that one wishes that the quality of the writing had been maintained for so much longer.

  • Picture by Graham Michael via Facebook courtesy Almeida. Tickets
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