Thursday, 30 January 2014

Blurred Lines - The Shed

Blurred Lines

AN exploration of gender inequality may sound a bit heavy as a piece of drama but an adaptation of The Equality Illusion by feminist activist Kat Banyard now on at the Shed focusing on this important issue is well worth seeing.
Named after Robin Thicke's controversial number one hit single, Blurred Lines features a cast of eight women who explore through a series of vignettes what gender inequality is and how manifest it is in our society.
It is has been created by the cast, writer Nick Payne and director Carrie Cracknell and certainly packs a punch.
The set is a vertiginous staircase which the women use to tell their stories - both verbally and physically. These stories are hard hitting, serious, and obvious - full of stereotypes, domestic abuse and workplace inequality.
The vignettes are many and varied and are beautifully played out. Highlights include Sinead Matthews and Susannah Wise in a scene in which a girl is attacked by a hooded figure. They do the scene three times and each time the girl is dressed more provocatively.
Claire Skinner as a working mum who is asked by her nightmare boss, Bryony Hannah, how she is coping with work now she is a mum with vomit on her top.
And Michaela Coel, first as an eager, fresh faced young black actress, desperate to please and promising to do anything in a bid to get a part, and then later as a 17-year-old who is raped by her boyfriend. She asks: "When did it become something he did to me?"
Throughout, there is a peppering of musical numbers including Don't Liberate Me by Tammy Wynette, The Crystals' He Hit Me (It Felt Like A Kiss) and Do What U Want by Lady Gaga. What they are not allowed to play is Blurred Lines, the song which gives the piece its name.
At times harrowing, at others funny, sad, poignant and hard hitting, it is a fantastic piece of theatre. The writing is sharp and manages to seamlessly interweave the stories and songs and prove if ever it were needed that despite recent history, there is no gender equality and ugly stereotypes still exist.

Blurred Lines is on at the Shed until February 22. Tickets from £12. Call the box office on 020 7452 3244.

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