Stacey McMaster

Arts Centre Washington present London socialist play Gut Girls

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Gut Girls is a recent play I went to watch at Washington’s Arts Centre. Written by Sarah Daniels, she is a renowned feminist writer who has already acquired great acclaim in her field.

However, while many view this as a feminist play I felt that it was far more akin to a socialist piece at times due to the discussion of trade unions and working class rights.

Focusing on the lives of young girls in London who worked in the gutting sheds (hence the play’s name), an upper class widow attempts to improve their way of life so that they can gain more prestigious employment as maids. The ideas explored in the piece were exceptionally thoughtful; however the action at times was quite slow as very little seemed to happen in the actual plot line.

It instead focused on the development of character with the occasional swatch of humour thrown in.  The most hard-hitting scene came in the form of a character called Annie played by Tulsi Kendall.  The character had the unfortunate circumstance of losing her child at birth and being frowned upon by society as a ‘fallen woman’ through the injustice of being raped.

Miss Kendall admitted her role was difficult, saying: “Trying to get a realistic accent was hard. The cockney twang is really hard to master and something I struggled with.

“Many people think it’s easy to simply go up on stage and do something like this. It’s hard because you have to connect with the emotion of the piece and deliver a great performance consistently. Due to illness of some cast members I had to do double the performances that I should have. By the end of the week I was exhausted!”

Overall, the play was a good night out and the humour helped to make it in a way. While obviously due to some of the content it may not be suitable for all ages, it is certainly worth watching. As an amateur production a lot of thought still went into the design and costumes. Everything from Victorian dresses to models of pig carcasses were in place…

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