Character Press Pic 1
A play by Florence Vincent
The Wandsworth Arts Festival
May 2-18, 2014

by Laura Patricia Jones

In this day and age, a play written by women, directed by women, performed by women but for all to enjoy can be quite a rarity – people hear the dreaded words ‘women’s theatre’ and think they are going to be treated to a Vagina Monologues re-hash and leave the theatre stinking of estrogen. However, Florence Vincent’s Character is far from this misconception. There is nothing fluffy and overly feminine about this piece at all.  Instead, Character is a funny and moving story in which anyone whose experienced that idea of a ‘lost youth crisis’ can relate.

As a lady who manages to fit all of the stereotypes – writer/former headhunter/skint delusionalist – it would be hard for me not to strike a chord with this piece, but it was clear that the entire audience was drawn in, regardless of their backgrounds. Vincent perfectly captures the idea of ‘writers block’ and Pitkin’s direction encapsulates a subtle sense of humour throughout. Clare Harlow as Freya gives an incredibly natural and believable performance and her exploration of quite serious issues towards the end of the piece is moving in her tears rather than through creating an air of melodrama which can be such an easy pitfall when adding a serious and real subtext to comedy.

Angela Ferns is hilarious as Michelle, everything from her body language to perfectly timed facial expressions perfects that idea of ‘woman on the edge’. In terms of narrative, I’d have liked to have known perhaps a little more about Michelle’s back story and how she had got to this point, but overall I was thoroughly entertained and the witty turn of phrase held the audience throughout.

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