Theatre Review: Can’t Stand Up for Falling Down

Article published: Friday, July 13th 2012

The Unholy Mess independent production group staged Richard Cameron’s play Can’t Stand Up for Falling Down from 16 to 19 May at Studio Salford. James Leach reviews one of the performances.

The monologue play can, at times, be problematic, given the subjective nature of what the audience is seeing and hearing. Yet Lucy Allan’s revival of Richard Cameron’s play, set in Doncaster in the 1980s, left us in no doubt as to where we were and what was happening.

The key to this production was its evocative nature, helped by the director’s choice to use projection in order to show us the various streets, river banks and woodlands that made up these girls’ home. The vistas that we were shown were all eerily quiet and conjured with ease Cameron’s vision of a village where everybody knows everybody’s business and yet much remains behind closed doors.

As the three interweaving narratives of Ruby, Lynette and Judy unfolded, the three characters visibly aged before our eyes and audience engagement was key to this production. The women of this play took centre stage, but the presence of their men was all over this production, in the fields, along the tow-paths and in the home. One notable scene portrayed the domestic abuse of Lynette, with the absent man taking on an almost spectral presence.

One question asked of me about this production was as to its relevance today. In such a deeply subjective play, the experiences of these three characters took on a life of their own, and made their hopes and fears all too universal.

James Leach

The next production to be directed by Lucy Allan will be staged by the House of Orphans production company as part of the 24/7 Theatre Festival between 20 and 27 July at New Century House. The play, entitled The Interpreter, Home, focuses on a Kurdish interpreter whose work with a mental health patient helps her to discover her own identity.

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