HER NOT HIM is the debut performance from new production company, Lughnacy Productions. Her Not Him is at Theatre503 above The Latchmere in Battersea until 3 February 2018. This is a play you do not want to miss.
3.5 stars: "Intergenerational issues, mental health, gender fluidity, biphobia - this play has it all. Both current & relevant!"
Tickets: £15, £12, £10, £5 plus pay what you can on Saturday matinees.
RUNNING TIME: 70mins (no interval)
I can't quite believe it is still January and there is even more LGBT theatre on in London. 2018 is off with a bang, and just two weeks after seeing Lobster at Theatre 503, I am back for another debut performance, this time Her not Him.
From the description, I was intrigued and looking forward to this performance. I wondered what scenario would lead to Bea being tempted away from Ellie. With so many people identifying more fluidly, it is good to see these stories on the stage.
Who do you fancy? The woman, or the person underneath?
Bea, an older woman, comes out late in life. She nabs herself a young lover, Ellie, who has aspirations of settling down and putting them both on a path to domestic bliss. Then Bea meets Jemima, who catches her eye and steels her away from Ellie. It all falls apart when Bea finally meets James, the boy beneath Jemima’s make-up, wigs and glamour, who doesn’t excite her quite as much.
Long-listed for the 2017 Bruntwood Prize, HER NOT HIM is a comedy drama exploring the things that keep us going in life, and the very human missteps we make when it comes to sexuality and sexual politics.
The staging was simple, but effective and used well to change the scene. Consisting of two mobile walls, 2 chairs and a table - simplicity at its finest. It didn't distract from the storyline.
The story arc was over a fairly short period of time, but like all good queer relationships, covered a lot - birthdays, relationships ending, or not quite ending and overlapping; not understanding emotions and feelings - and especially interesting was the intergenerational aspect, although it wasn't as big a gap as perhaps Bea felt it was.
I particularly liked the interaction between the three cast members between scenes, incorporating beautiful, intimate dance; using fluid dance moves to manoeuvre the furniture.
I really found it interesting to here the differences between the generations. Bea, the older woman who shares with Jemima how she couldn't be herself when she was younger, and felt she had to be normal, and was somewhat in awe of Jemima's ability, in her 20's to be so openly herself and put that out into the world. In stark contrast, Ellie knows exactly what she wants - a true millennial - she has her entire 5 year plan of life marked out - including a family with Bea. She is out and proud, and does not like transvestites, or bisexuals and isn't afraid to say it (although by the end of the play she has become more open).
My only wish was that the difference between a transvestite or tranny and a transgender person was properly explained. There were lots of opportunities where it was started, but not actually verbalised. Whilst the educated few in the audience would understand the difference, the play did little to differentiate the two and would not have helped in the confusion that already exists. I guess I see it as an opportunity lost, which is the main reason it lost a star.
On the positive side, it is good to see more productions exploring sexual fluidity and highlighting the challenges and issues around labels and assumptions. The dialogue didn't shy away from highlighting some of the key issues that exist in the LGBT community today such as biphobia and transphobia.
“Intergenerational issues, mental health, gender fluidity, biphobia - this play has it all. Both current & relevant!”
Bea - Orla Sanders
Ellie - Leah Kirby
Jemima/James - John James
Writer & Producer: Joanne Fitzgerald
Director: Amy Lawrence
About Lughnacy Productions
Lughnacy Productions is a new theatre company set up in 2017 to bring female-focussed and LGBT+ stories to life. Inspired by the namesake Lugh, the Irish God of the sun, storm, arts and skills. Lugnacy seeks to use multi-disciplined artists and create works that showcase unusual stories and under-utilised talents. Her Not Him is Lughnacy's debt production and was Long-listed for the 2017 Bruntwood Prize.
Joanne Fitzgerald is a producer-writer-actor and project manager who has previously co-written and performed the devised play Living Between Lies at the Stockholm Fringe, Brighton Fringe and Kings Head, Islington. Her play Her Not Him was long-listed for the 2017 Bruntwood Prize.
About Theatre 503
Theatre 503 is above The Latchmere Pub in Battersea; the home for new writers and a launchpad for the artists who bring their words to life. At their heart is a desire to find extraordinary new voices, match them with brilliant people and support the journey of their idea to the stage.