A 5-star Review
I wouldn't have previously associated a convent with comedy, or nuns with lap dances or the prayer pews with The Streets and Notorious B.I.G. songs, but now I do. All thanks to the play NUNS.
They play, written by Robert Luxford and adapted by the all-female crew of Dame Dutch Productions and She's Diverse and entirely self-funded, is a hilarious and totally modern story that runs back and forth, with the agility and speed of a relay race, between the blackmail attempts of four nuns.
Between scenes there are various recordings of what sounds like news updates through the decades and 'how to be a good nun' advice that either informs or juxtaposes the scene at hand. It's not all laughs though, there are moments when the nuns discuss the position of the Church in today's socio-political landscape, along with its hypocrisies and dirty secrets (which are fine so long as 'no one finds out') that acts as a mirror for the rest of our society. If in this place, which is supposed to go by the rules of what is just, what is true, what is holy, sin proliferates, what does it say for the rest of society?
There is one voice recording that stands out for me; it speaks about the rise of 'feminism' in the Church. It makes us wonder if these women will break free, with their new information, and expose the Church for what it really is. There are several moments where we think this might happen but, alas, it doesn't. Which makes me wonder: is feminism still at the stage of bickering women, trying to one-up each other? Speaking confidently of change without any real progress. Being liberated with their bodies, still somehow at the benefit of men. When will we shelve our personal problems and speak out to take down the patriarchy, and the clergy? And... when will other women and men support us in a united way?
Dr Christine Blasey Ford went forth last year to speak up for who should and shouldn't sit in the seat of Supreme Court Justice, but the amount of women who took her down and attacked her is shocking. The amount of women supporting her who were attacked on social media, is shocking. I wonder if the nuns had come forward with their tapes, how much change it would have really made in our current climate? Would it be swept under the rug, or released and then be old news in two days, or even 'fake news', or would it spur a real, united feminist push for change?
A lot of doors are opened up by this seemingly light-hearted comedy, but not wide open - just ajar like the door to a confessional that you have to decide whether or not to enter...
The play is on for another week at the Tristan Bates Theatres in Covent Garden.
Get your tickets here
The play features FN girl Cecile Sinclair