For all the Women who Thought they were mad by Zawe Ashton – review

Hackney Showroom
Review by: Elana Joseph
Published: Monday, 28th October 2019, 2:06pm
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Set on a stage with bright white neon strip lighting shining both above and below the raised stage, The Flourish, five women and a child, wander around the stage bellowing about nights and days, moon and sun. Centered around Joy, played by Mina Andala, a workaholic up for her dream promotion, when suddenly her world starts falling apart. Visited by members of The Flourish throughout Joy’s mental deterioration, the confer amongst themselves about events which aren’t quite clear. A mystery hyper speed pregnancy appears, and the story is completely lost.

The baby is born, and Joy’s rapid mental decline ensues as she tries to balance motherhood and career. The poetic monotonous bursts from The Flourish seem to confuse the production even more, shedding no light on what is going on or where the story might be going. By the end, it’s unsure about what exactly happened and why.

The play had a plethora of themes including mental health, race, belonging and tradition, but it was all lost trying to piece together a story that doesn’t seem like it was all there to begin with. The tale seems disjointed and at times nonsensical, leaving the audience straining to follow what’s going on. Though there is a semblance of what Ashton was trying to achieve, the chasm between that and what was on stage was just too big.

The direction from Jo McInnes was interesting and the performances were all captivating.  It is unfortunate the story was underdeveloped. I left the performance feeling confused and slightly relieved to be out of there and away from the extremely uncomfortable seating. This play was something that left me feeling mad myself by the end of it.

NEED TO KNOW: For all the Women who thought they were mad is at Hackney Showroom until 9 Nov 2019 BOOK TICKETS NOW