Rebecca and Louise filled the Norwich Arts Centre tonight, testimony to their growing reputation as a company that can be relied upon to bring us fresh contemporary drama that has a powerful message but is a delight for the audience. They make good use of new technologies such as phone videos, photos and voice recordings but the technology supports rather than overwhelms the action on the stage, and their props are mostly bits of corrugated cardboard.
Norwich Eye review – Sh!t Theatre: Letters to Windsor House
So good I bought the book! – scan of the Sh!t Theatre book of the show
Louise Mothersole and Rebecca Biscuit are Sh!t Theatre, and they are building a reputation for well crafted and presented new theatre. They are also very funny.
Their subject matter for this show could not be more relevant to the issues faced by most young people in this country today, and many who are not so young.
This show lays bare the reality of trying to live in London, our capital city, today. But with their characteristic flair they turn what could be a simplistic bit of agitprop theatre into a performance that is touching, moving, personal and raw.
Louise and Rebecca use music and multimedia stagecraft to deliver their message, but far more important to this show is the sometimes fragile relationship they portray while giving this account of living as well as working together in a typical London flat rental. Their flat in Windsor House is privately rented to them, although it is in a North London block of council flats scheduled for demolition, to be replaced by tower block apartments at inflated prices. With three people, one cat and the entire Sh!t Theatre awards collection to house in a two bed flat some strains are bound to show, and they retell their story with an intense and sometimes painful honesty.
The show is structured around an examination of the piles of letters sent to previous occupants who have failed to leave a forwarding address. Their analysis of the contents of these letters takes us down surreal paths of speculation, sometimes derailed by discovering real facts about where these former flat dwellers have moved on to. The tales are punctuated with their quirky and skilled songs. They use no instruments but their voices and a loop machine for most of this music, which gives the show pace and charm. Their humour is infectious and mostly gentler than some of its victims merit, as they introduce their landlord into the mix.
Letters to Windsor House is a damning indictment of this country’s failure to have an intelligent housing policy since 1979. Most of the generations who suffer the consequences of this failure have never known anything different, so possibly do not feel the same anger that I do on the subject. When I lived in London in the early 80s I earned a reasonable wage as a bus driver and paid £11 a week for a reasonably comfortable room in a shared South London house – well below 10% of my income. Now with London housing turned into a rich speculator’s paradise few on working wages stand any chance of getting any kind of decent homes in or near the capital.
If you see this show you will feel angry at the exploitative mess our legislators have made of housing provision, but I guarantee that you will leave the auditorium with a smile, at the very least a rather wistful smile given the end of the tale. Louise and Rebecca give us perfect new theatre with faultless timing, singing, and movement with a closeness to each other that helps to keep this show fluid and fast paced. This is a memorable piece that should be performed in front of every legislator, banker and speculator who have made such a mess of housing provision in Britain today.
Read more about Sh!t Theatre and this show here: http://www.shittheatre.co.uk/home.html and read more from Norwich Eye here: http://norwicheye.co.uk/whats-on/sht-theatre-with-show-and-tell-present-letters-to-windsor-house-in-norwich/