Girls & Boys

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

Girls & Boys

Speechifying violence in Dennis Kelly’s one-woman show
by
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.

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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

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