Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. is a searing, raging account of the positioning of women in the world and the issues that regretfully persist, despite this being the 21st Century.
Alice Birch’s play, first produced in 2014 as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Midsummer Mischief Festival, states boldly in the script that, ‘it should not be well behaved.’ The play unfolds in a series of short vignettes and begins with a fine bit of unruly to-ing and fro-ing between a pair of lovers.
He begins to describe all the sexual things he wants to do to her body and after initial slight reticence and mild amusement, she reciprocates. But she does so first by correcting his language – make love with, not to - and then by matching him tit-for-tat with what is usually a very masculine sexual language. He is left diminished. Which does beg a fair number of questions.
The next scene takes a look at the gap that always exists between what we mean and what we say. He thinks he has said that he wants to commit to her and love her forever and she thinks he has said that he wants to reduce his income tax and inherit her pension.
She then likens his marriage proposal to an out-of-the-blue request to blow up their local Sainsbury’s. There is a whole lot of kick-ass humour in both of these exchanges, while making sure that the more serious points are well made.
The scenes that follow are more shocking, more serious and as the mood darkens, the tempo, pace and energy starts to drop. Many deeply important and complex issues are touched upon, but the powerful punch this production packed at the start slowly fades into regret and a sense of hopelessness that stirs feelings of disappointment rather than the call to arms promised in its opening scenes.
This play asks all the right questions but offers no answers and perhaps more importantly, no hope.
Runs until 28th August (NOT 22nd).
£20.50 / Standard concession £15.50 / Other concession £8.50. Previews £14.50/£8.50.