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Review: HighTide's Lighthouse Programme: Love In The Time of Corona

Review: HighTide's Lighthouse Programme: Love In The Time of Corona

Review: HighTide's Lighthouse Programme: Love In The Time of Corona cover photo on Stagedoor
People can be a bit sniffy about the monologue form.

As if it is somehow a lesser beast than the all-dancing, all-singing epic with a cast of dozens and a supporting chorus of seagulls....

But, as numerous playwrights from Samuel Beckett to Alan Bennett and Spalding Gray to Phoebe Waller-Bridge have proved, the monologue is an art-form. It is never an easier option.

The theatre shut-down began with The Bunker’s Where Do We Go Next season which is back on line and sets the bar high. But others are piling into a crowded market. Pick of the latest crop comes from HighTide, which is reinventing itself under new artistic director Suba Das. The Isolation Monologues, an on-going series, kicks off with Rainbows by Morgan Lloyd Malcolm (who wrote the glorious Emilia) and Aisha Zia’s Before the Burn Out.

In the first a mother –played by Katie Lyons – of two children feels the pressure of the lockdown, pondering how enforced isolation with her family has placed a microscope over who she and her family are. Are they enough for each other? Is she good enough for them? One of the things I like about Malcolm’s monologue is that it articulates something about motherhood that I reckon every mother feels at one time or another: the urge to walk away and just keep walking. Even if you love your kids to bits.

Rainbows will definitely make you look at those children’s painting of rainbows that adorn so many front windows in a slightly different light, and it also reminds how lonely you can feel when surrounded by the people you love most.

But what of those who have only themselves for company? How solitude and isolation are very different things is explored in Aisha Zia’s Before the Burn Out, a very classy piece performed with just the right sense of restrained intensity by the mesmerising Jade Anouka. It’s exceptionally cleverly filmed and edited too so that the piece opens up beyond the space where a woman is confronting herself over more than a 100 days. Images of the buzzing, bustling city are contrasted with this woman who discovers that “when you are not allowed outside there is more to explore inside.” But your relationship to yourself can be as traumatic and difficult as that with any person. Zia’s writing has a steely poetry about it and Anouka burns white hot with icy desolation.

You can watch HighTide's Lighthouse Programme: Love In The Time of Corona, The Isolation Monologues, here.

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Written by

Lyn Gardner

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