Southwark Playhouse, London – until 17 February 2018
In its UK premiere by Antic Face, Collective Rage at the Southwark Playhouse is a surprising and alluring show which sees five New York women named Betty join forces to discover themselves and put on a play within a play.
Whilst Jen Silverman’s play is first and foremost about sexuality and finding your voice, it also looks at New York life through a series of dinner parties, “thea-tah” and relationships. These aspects all come together to create one exciting and unique piece of work.
The cast is equally outstanding and does perfect justice to the brilliant script. As Betty One, the rich upper East Side housewife who is constantly annoyed, Sara Stewart is comedic and likeable from beginning to end. Genesis Lynea as the gender fluid boxing coach Betty Five, who captures Betty One’s attention, is smooth and sleek every moment she’s on stage. Her interactions with every cast member are natural and well thought out.
Lucy McCormick is outstanding as Betty Two, showing a well developed character arc as she goes from the quiet, lonely girl to a more empowered but equally struggling woman by the end. Her breakdown is particularly haunting.
Taking on the role of the brassy, red clothed Latina, Betty Three, Beatriz Romily is perfect. Having discovered the joys of the “thea-tah” on a date with a rich married woman, she is desperate to put on a show and have everyone know her. However, she discovers that this may not be the answer to all her problems. Johnnie Fiori is endearing but strong as the truck loving Betty Four who struggles with being in love with her best friend.
Anna Reid’s simple set works perfectly for this play as the blackbox space becomes the world of the Betties. Hollie Buhagiar’s sound effects work equally well, providing us with a little insight into what’s to come in the upcoming scene.
The show is extremely funny and almost caricature-like at times but there are moments of pure poinancy which really bring it back down to earth. Everything about Collective Rage is unapologetic and the whole thing is gloriously feminist and queer. For a laugh a minute show that also makes you think, Collective Rage is the one for you.