Accessibility Tools

  • Content scaling 100%
  • Font size 100%
  • Line height 100%
  • Letter spacing 100%

Girls & Boys

Speechifying violence in Dennis Kelly’s one-woman show
ABR Arts 03 March 2022

Girls & Boys

Speechifying violence in Dennis Kelly’s one-woman show
ABR Arts 03 March 2022
Justine Clarke in <em>Girls & Boys</em> (photograph by Sam Roberts)
Justine Clarke in Girls & Boys (photograph by Sam Roberts)

I’ve never cared much for first-person direct address monologues in the theatre. Too often, one feels talked at rather than implicated in the action, the interpersonal dynamics of multi-actor drama shorn away in favour of a kind of speechifying.

British playwright Dennis Kelly’s Girls & Boys – the ampersand seems to be official – is one such monologue. ‘Woman’ (Kelly doesn’t give her a name) is the narrator, a middle-aged PA in the documentary film industry who, having got a ‘drinky, druggy, slaggy phase’ out of her system, marries a handsome antiques dealer she meets at Naples Airport.

You May Also Like

Comments (2)

  • I did very much enjoy this play. Justine Clarke was remarkable in it. I took the almost "lecturing tone" at the end to be the Woman's (mother's) attempt to hold herself together by being either clinical or scientific; her search for answers to the tragedy would have led her down that path. To inject too much emotion would have been to make the play unacceptably shrill or feminine and detracted from your own visceral response - that you are statistically the most dangerous person in the life of your own children.
    Posted by Johanne Taylor
    15 March 2022
  • Yes, you're absolutely right, Ben Brooker. It became a lecture, and we knew the end was coming about halfway through. Credit to Justine Clarke, but we didn't need this play to tell us about horrible domestic violence.
    Posted by Susan Lever
    10 March 2022

Leave a comment

If you are an ABR subscriber, you will need to sign in to post a comment.

If you have forgotten your sign in details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to ABR Comments. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.