Lela & Co review: Culture Whisper says ★★★★★
True to its bold and experimental reputation, The Royal Court Theatre's new autumn/winter season opens with the world premiere of a play based on a true account of a young girl's harrowing, horrific experiences in an unspecified war, which feels unnervingly relevant and timely.
Playwright Cordelia Lynn's Royal Court Debut, Lela & Co. takes a story of manipulation, entrapment and exploitation and creates a tender, poetic 'interrupted monologue' that flickers with humour and humanity.
Actor Katie West is animated and engaging as Lela, bustling around in a party dress and relaying the frustrations and excitements of childhood. Detached from time and place, the script mingles moments of mythological music with quotidian gripes about annoying sisters.
But, as David Mumeni appears and breaks the monologue with a series of male voices (father, husband, soldier), Lela's story get darker -- literally.
The most traumatic experiences and accounts of sexual abuse are staged in disconcerting darkness. Not only does this crank up the tension, forcing an undiluted focus onto the story itself, it also leaves the violence to your imagination. This is a theme in director Jude Christian's elegant production, where gesture and saccharin innuendo denote rather than demonstrate the sexual abuse.
The result is a heart-wrenchingly vivid perspective on the suffering that surrounds global conflict.
|What||Lela and Co., Royal Court|
|Where||Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, London, SW1W 8AS | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Sloane Square (underground)|
03 Sep 15 – 03 Oct 15, 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM
|Price||£10 - £20|
|Website||Click here to book via the Royal Court|