The Regina Monologues
Samantha Cartwright | 28 Oct 2020 20:20pm
The Regina Monologues is a play written from a female perspective of the six wives of Henry VIII, but with a modern twist. It explores the identities of the woman and we are hearing their experiences, rather than just knowing them as one of six.
The women enter individually; they are taking it in turns to tell their stories. Once all the wives have arrived they continue to perform their monologues in sequence, each time being solo-lit so our focus remains on just one area and one wife at any point. They never converse with each other. They move around the stage swapping positions after each monologue, six in total. They are all in the bedroom – the room they have all lived in at various points in their respective matrimonial journeys. This creates a simple yet effective way for the audience to follow all six accounts with ease.
I really appreciate the lighting and Michael Bird is spot on throughout, drawing on every emotion. A huge part of the storytelling, it changes the scenes, pulls me to the action and allows for the atmosphere to be still and focused. The music that fills the air in between each monologue is also a brilliant way to keep the momentum flowing; each song seems to reflect a part of something we were just informed on.
The modernisation of the accounts of these Sixteenth Century ladies is not only humourous but also makes them very relatable. It’s a personal performance, so much so that I feel I’m reading someone’s diary or talking to a friend who is ranting about her husband to me whilst drinking plenty of alcohol.
The six actresses are superb, completely believable and fully engulfed in their roles. Steph Jones (Katie Howard) brings tears to my eyes when describing some of her experiences. Her expression and vulnerability is so real it’s uncomfortable but in the best way; I want to feel emotion watching a performance and she certainly delivers it in abundance.
The play has clearly been well-directed by Anna Franklin. I notice details that may not be critical to the storyline but are adding depth. The subtle use of small props, the perfect amount of dramatic pauses, it’s all very real. We are hearing about serious life issues: miscarriage, abuse, betrayal, death, and it is all executed to such a high standard, I feel for the characters and I am completely submerged in the performance.
A perfectly acted play, in a safe and welcoming environment, I’m loving being back in the theatre!