Aug 8 2018 | By More

★★★★☆   Challenging stereotypes

The Royal Scots Club (Venue 241): Mon 6 – Sat 11 Aug 2018
Review by Sarah Moyes

Can women really have it all? is the question on everyone’s minds in Skirt, Claire Wood’s thought-provoking play for the Edinburgh Graduate Theatre Company at the Royal Scots Club.

Skirt centres around Becs, a single mum of two girls, Ellie who is about to head off to university and foster child Neve. Not only is Becs a busy working mum, but she has just been offered one of the biggest jobs in the country, the chance to head up her party at Westminster.

Helen Goldie (Becs), Dan Sutton (TM), Brian Neil (Giles) Skirt The Grads The Royal Scots Club EdFringe 2018

Helen Goldie (Becs), Dan Sutton (TM), Brian Neil (Giles). Pic: The Grads

Inspired by a newspaper front page featuring a photo of Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon in skirts, alongside the headline, “LEGS-IT”, Claire Wood’s latest piece of work explores whether complete gender equality is really possible in modern day Scotland.

The show starts with Becs (Helen Goldie) getting together with her group of friends and their children for a birthday party. Her conversations with Nina (Rachel Drury) and Cat (Emma Carter) relate very real and common stories from women who are struggling to have it all whether it be at work or in their personal lives. Drury, in particular, gives a very emotionally charged performance as she breaks down revealing what is really happening with her life behind closed doors.

Alma Forsyth as Peggy and Beverly Wright as Joan are funny additions to the group as Becs’ mum and her friend. Their stories do well to illustrate what inequality women have faced through the years, as they tell of tales when women couldn’t gain access to contraception unless they were married.

However, it’s Becs’ Westminster colleagues Giles (Brian Neill), Andy (Ross Hope) and TM (Dan Sutton) who exhibit some really disappointing attitudes of men, expecting her to wear a skirt and find a partner to fit in with the very old-fashioned stereotype they seem to have of what someone in the charge of the country should be like.

chance to shine

The Grads’ cast for this show ranges in age from nine to 75 and it’s great to see Skirt giving young members a chance to shine. Leanne Bell, who plays Nina’s daughter Bea, gives a very strong performance as a confident young lady who isn’t afraid to speak her mind or stand up for what she believes in.

Skirt The Royal Scots Club EdFringe 2018 Chloe Pollock (viv), Clara Doherty (ellie), Leanne Bell (bea). Pic: The Grads

Chloe Pollock (Viv), Clara Doherty (Ellie), Leanne Bell (Bea). Pic: The Grads

The intimate setting of the Royal Scots Club and stage dressing from Jennie Landels work well at making you feel closer and more connected to the show. The space might be small, but Skirt makes good use of it with scenes alternating between the apron stage and the small stage behind it.

The play sets out to raise awareness and spark a conversation which is does effectively. Yes, the issues raised are nothing new, but Claire Wood’s clever and challenging piece of new writing shows that gender inequality is still prevalent in modern society as much as we might like to think times have changed.

Running time: 1 hour 20 minutes (no interval)
The Royal Scots Club (venue 241), 29-31 Abercromby Place, EH3 6QE
Monday 6 – Satuday 11 August 2018
Evenings: 6.30pm
Tickets and details:

The Grads website:
Twitter – @TheGrads
Facebook – @edingrads


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